What Is an Empath and How Do You Know If You Are One?

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An empath is a person highly attuned to the feelings and emotions of those around them. Their ability to discern what others are feeling goes beyond empathy (defined simply as the ability to understand the feelings of others) and extends to actually taking those feelings on; feeling what another person is feeling at a deep emotional level.

Science is divided on whether or not true empaths—people who can tap into and take on the emotions of those around them—actually exist, though plenty of people claim to have such abilities.

What we do know is that researchers have discovered what they’ve dubbed “mirror neurons” in the brain which may help us to mirror the emotions of those we come in contact with.1 And it appears some people may have more mirror neurons than others; suggesting that empaths may exist.

 

How to Know If You're an Empath

There’s no doubt some people are more prone to empathy than others. We’ve all known someone in our lives who was just gifted at reading our feelings, just as we’ve all known people who seem completely disconnected from the feelings of those around them.

 

So assuming empathy exists on a spectrum, with some people being highly empathetic and others (psychopaths) lacking empathy entirely—how do you measure your own? And at what level would you qualify yourself as an empath?

 

How to Determine If You're An Empath

You can start by asking yourself some questions about how well you relate to others and how you physically and emotionally respond to big emotional events taking place in your presence. If you find that you answer "yes" to most or all of these questions, there's a good chance you're an empath:

  • Do you find yourself taking on others’ stress?
  • Have you been accused of being too sensitive in the past?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed in crowded spaces?
  • Would others describe you as empathetic?

Different empathy experts have their own quizzes that may help you to answer the question of whether or not you are an empath for yourself. Dr. Judith Orloff’s asks, “Do I often feel like I don’t fit in?” while self-proclaimed empath Tara Meyer-Robson asks if you have trouble watching the news or find sad movies overwhelming.

 

Since there is no set criteria for whether or not you’re an empath, answering that question is entirely subjective and may ultimately come down to whether or not you believe yourself to be one.

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Tuesday, 17 May 2022

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