15 Signs You Are an Empath

by Aimee Cartier

Being empathic means you are naturally keyed into the human emotional sensations going on around you. But more than just hearing it, and understanding the language so to speak, you actually feel it in your own skin. You are like a walking radio receptor for emotional information. And once you pick up on it, your own station starts broadcasting it immediately. And pretty much, unless you have some training, you can’t help but do this.

It took me about 29 years to discover I was empathic. Some time later I discovered there was a word for people built like me: empath. By then I was well on my way to learning how to manage my perception and ability. I didn’t want to walk around downloading every emotion or thought I came across– no sane person does! So I learned how to create natural boundaries for myself so that I could control my perception, instead of it controlling me. 

But more than that, I wanted to access to ME. I wanted to know WHO I WAS. When you go about your whole life having other people’s experience filter through your own skin, it brings a lot into question when you discover that. One of my first thoughts upon realizing I was built this way was, “Who am I then? If I’ve gone about my whole life having other people’s experiences move through my own body, what is really me? What thoughts or feelings have actually been my own?” It took me a while to get a strong grasp on who I was without everyone else’s input. And a bit longer to learn to tell the difference between a sensation that belonged to me and something that originated elsewhere.

Today, about 15 years later, I’m a master of those things. And I guide other empaths to the (actually simple!) techniques that help you control your empathic ability instead of it controlling you. Once you do—it’s easy to recognize what a gift it is to be built this way! I’ve founded something called Empath Intuition University with the mission of helping other empaths work with their sensitivities and not against them. All of this leads to getting and staying connected to your own power and knowing and ultimately being able to use your empathic gift to inspire yourself and others. I teach some of the most important tools at East West Bookshop every second Tuesday in a class called, “Understanding Your Empathic Ability”.

It’s one thing to hear a definition of the word empath or empathic, it’s another to recognize yourself as one. It gives you a context for how things can occasionally suddenly shift in your being so thoroughly– and seemingly without reason. It gives you an understanding of what the heck is happening to you so you can start to differentiate between the me and other that can simultaneously occupy your internal space. It gives you a space for starting to understand yourself.

So in an effort to shed some light for all those empaths out there– whether you already know you are one and just experience a large sigh of relief at reading this list, or whether you are just beginning to suspect that you are here are 15 signs I’ve noticed frequently signal a person who is naturally empathic.

1. You have a very clear sense of another person’s emotional state and energy even without ever having spoken to the person at all. If you are in conversation with someone and that other person is crying or laughing, you can bet you will be doing so right along with them!

2. Without knowing how to create natural boundaries for yourself you will sense what the other person is feeling in your own skin, as though it was you. For example, if you are with someone who is feeling awkward or insecure about something, you will suddenly feel awkward when you are with them– even if you were feeling quite fine just one moment ago.

3. Without the ability to control your gift you often feel drained by crowds. You are pumping all that emotional and energetic information through your own body. It’s exhausting! I say it’s like trying to power a skyscraper with a cell phone. YOU are the cell phone!

4. You have a very strong sense of either being naturally repelled or drawn to someone.

5. You can be easily confused, especially when you are in proximity to others who don’t share your same opinion. It takes very little for you to “believe” another’s point of view, because you can also feel it in your skin while being exposed to it. This can make it hard for you to discern your own thoughts and feelings on a subject.

6. Similarly, other people’s emotions (especially intense ones) can throw you off kilter and make you lose access to your own thoughts and feelings.

7. You may experience extreme swings in moods related to the shifting of what those around you are feeling. If you can’t identify why your mood or emotion has suddenly shifted—it’s very likely you are just picking up an emotion from outside of yourself.

8. You can also sense and experience large emotional shifts that are happening on a global level. Even if you are standing in your kitchen with no one else, you can have internal experiences of the general emotional state of the populace as a whole; especially when BIG things are happening: elections, stock market crashes, trauma etc.

9. You are a deep feeler. When you experience even your own emotions, it’s a no-holds-barred situation. You don’t just feel sad over something, you may bawl about it for hours. And truthfully it is best for you to process emotion on a deep and whole body level. It is important to your health and well-being. It’s how you keep things moving through your body and prevent emotional debris from getting stuck and weighing you down psychically.

10. You feel the suffering of others in a very profound way. And not necessarily just people: animals, trees, the land, or environment. You can sense these things and the suffering or disquiet runs through your own skin. It’s especially acute for people or things that you perceive can’t help themselves– the suffering is twinged with a sense of powerlessness that can disturb you to your core.

11. You usually want to help and will do so! Your innate sensitivities may also compel you to champion underdogs or those who can’t help themselves. For the same reason mentioned above; and because you feel the suffering of others (even animals) in such a profound way you are naturally committed to helping ease it.

12. Because of your innate perception of the feelings of others you may have the tendency to over give or be what I call a “Yes”er: a person who always says yes to others. You may give to others sometimes to the point of completely draining or exhausting yourself. You think because you can feel it, it is your place to help it. But honestly, this is not always the case. Discerning the difference between something you can feel, and something you can genuinely help is one of the more advanced empathic discernment skills.

13. You may experience anxiety. Of course this in not exclusive to empaths, but I’ve seen it frequently enough in the empathic community that it warrants mentioning. When you are experiencing everyone else’s sensations in your own skin (and especially when you don’t even know it) you are picking up and innately broadcasting back out whatever it is that you are sensing. Before you know how to tune into your own self, and the techniques that help you connect with your own inner knowing, this absorbing and broadcasting others energy can absolutely cause an sense of anxiety that is pervasive and not localized to a particular discernable event or situation.

14. You often appear very sparkly. I don’t truly mean you have sparkles coming off of you—but there is a manner in which you just accidentally and naturally catch the attention of others. People notice you—especially when you are not depleted.

15. Frequently, but not always, empaths are gifted healers in their own way. Your ability shows you instinctively what is needed to heal or harmonize a situation– whether that is smoothing ruffled feathers between friends or the actual physical healing others– you are a natural antidote maker

Aimée Cartier is a psychic guide, author, and the founder of Empath Intuition University. She guides empaths who are overwhelmed and sometimes debilitated by their abilities how to work with their sensitivities, get and stay connected to their own power, and ultimately how to use their empathic gift to help themselves and others. She works with empaths who know this ability must be good for something and want to harness that goodness! She teaches “Understanding Your Empathic Ability” at East West Books every second Tuesday of the month from 7-8:30PM. More about Aimée and her work can be found at www.AimeeCartier.com


  • EthanJul 10, 2019

    What kind of advice are you seeking Amy?

  • Amy Duvall Jul 10, 2019

    Hello, I have been asking around for advise for years. I have never recieved any help. It’s sad that no one will give me any advise.

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