That is a difficult question to answer as no accurate data exists classifying people as empaths and non-empaths. In fact, most empaths are not aware of their special attribute!
Only when you hear someone mention the word “empath” and how difficult life is for an empath, your curiosity is aroused. You ask around or Google for more information and are surprised that you possess some or most of the qualities of an empath.
You may start thinking, “Ok, that explains a lot”. You have always felt that you are different from others in a nice way. You seem to understand others and feel their emotions more without the need for words. When you walk into a room, you feel the vibe. At times, you surprise yourself with the ability to read what others are thinking.
You have been accused of being hypersensitive or highly emotional for as long as you can remember. You enjoy spending time with others but often feel overwhelmed by the crowd at the same time. You find it emotionally draining to be in the company of people.
This is the everyday life of an empath. If you tick at least some of the boxes, the chances are that you are an empath.
Have you ever met an empath in your life? Maybe you have but often this is an attribute that lies hidden in people and is not recognized even by the person themselves. This makes it hard to calculate how rare being an empath is. However, if you look around and notice the behavior of people, you will know that there aren’t too many around.
Being an empath is really rare. Read on to learn more about empaths and diverse types of empaths. You will also find answers to empath-related questions like how to recognize that you are an empath and how people become an empath.
Let’s begin with understanding who qualifies to be an empath.
What is an empath?
An empath is a person who is highly sensitive to the emotions and energy in their environment. They have better perceptive powers than normal people. Empaths are attuned to the feelings and thoughts of others and find it easier to understand them.
Empaths should not be confused with empathy, though the origin is the same and the meaning derived from it. All human beings feel empathy towards others in varying degrees. That doesn’t make everyone an empath. Empaths are those who can feel empathy more than the rest.
Empaths find themselves automatically syncing with energy fields that do not belong to them. When they are in the presence of someone experiencing pain, they can feel the emotions the person is going through. They neither do this purposely nor can they stop the feeling.
The energy that an empath can feel is not restricted to emotions and thoughts. They are also equally sensitive to physical pain in others. They are aware of everything happening in the world around them. Empaths feel the pain and suffering in the world much more than normal people. They tend to feel it more deeply and personally and this often makes them feel low.
However, society doesn’t appreciate this attribute as a blessing or an advantage. Empaths are often branded as weird, abnormal, or even weak. It is just that the qualities of an empath are not appreciated or celebrated, it is often suppressed and looked down upon.
This makes empaths hide their traits and abilities. Some even try to ignore these attributes and try their best not to display them to the world, as they don’t want to be seen as soft, wimpy, or eccentric. That makes it all the more difficult to know how rare an empath actually is.
Are empaths born or made?
There is no scientific proof to support that empaths are born. However, it is often observed that the children of empaths display empathic qualities. It is yet to be established whether this is due to inherited genes or the environment of upbringing. It can also be a combination of both.
However, one thing is for sure. Empathic quality can be developed in a person. At least some studies done in this field suggest that the ability to empathize with others is not instinctive but rather one acquired through learning and experience.
During these studies, it has been noticed that the level of empathy an empath feels for the pain and suffering of others depends on various factors. Such as, how well they know the person. Though empaths feel the emotions of everyone, it is felt with more intensity if they know and love the traumatized person.
The good news is that empaths are made. It is a trait that can be developed in anyone under the right circumstances.
How rare is it to be an empath?
Are empaths rare? As pointed out earlier, this is hard to answer. Most empaths are “closet ones” for obvious reasons. Some are blissfully unaware of their supernatural gift because they think everyone has it and they are not unique.
There is also some ambiguity about the definition of an empath. Some define it as the ability to feel the emotions of others and understand what others are going through. Others consider being an empath means much more than this. They believe that an empath can accurately read the minds of others to the point that they can predict their words and actions.
Some say that naturally-born empaths will have such power while the sensitivity of self-made empaths is limited. There is no way to validate or dispute these claims as not enough scientific evidence exists to prove either way.
When a person has heightened sensitivities such as smell, touch, sound, light, temperature, and movement, there is a good chance that they are empaths. They need to dig in deeper and figure out whether they have the unassailable qualities of an empath.
As a child, a naturally-born empath may display all the obvious signs of being an empath. But if those in charge of their upbringing don’t favor empath traits, it may lead to suppression of the abilities. As they grow up, their empathic nature may never surface again and continue to remain hidden. Or they may rediscover their superpowers at a later stage in life and choose to develop them.
Typically such hidden empaths discover their talent when they are suffering from mental ailments like anxiety and depression themselves. In their effort to find the source of their problem, they may stumble upon their suppressed empathic abilities.
Do all empaths experience synesthesia?
Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon that results in the crossover of sensations. A person with synesthesia can experience one sensation through another. For instance, seeing a particular color is a trigger to hear music. Or hearing a word is a trigger to taste a fruit. All the five senses experience this crossover syndrome.
A person with synesthesia may be able to hear color or see sound. They can feel the pain when they see another person suffering.
Synesthesia is an accepted medical condition and there exists data on the number of people diagnosed with it. As empath is not yet recognized by the medical community, the data on synesthesia offers us the best chance to estimate the percentage of empaths in the world population.
The medical data tells us that about 2% of people suffer from synesthesia. Though this is not an accurate method, this is the only data available.
What are the different types of empaths?
Some classify empaths into three types.
- Physical empath: Can feel the physical pain and sense the symptoms and discomfort of others.
- Emotional empath: Have the ability to read and feel the emotions of others. This is the most common type of empath.
- Intuitive empath: Know the right action to be taken in situations without any need for logic or evidence. They can read people and situations easily.
However, others think there are more kinds of empaths. According to them, types of empaths include:
- Dream Empath: Enjoy their time in the dream world and look forward to sleep time. They get to know what is happening in the real world through their dreams.
- Animal Empath: Can understand the needs and feelings of animals. They can communicate with them.
- Plant Empath: Have the unique ability to absorb how plants feel and communicate with them. They sense the needs of plants through signals.
- Psychometric Empath: Can receive information through energy transfer from inanimate objects and locations. They can relate past events with objects.
- Geomantic or Earth Empath: Can receive signals and read signs from the earth and nature. They are good at predicting natural disasters.
- Precognitive Empath: Have the ability to feel and predict future events and situations for others. They do it through intuition and dreams.
- Telepathic Empath: Can read the feelings and thoughts of others using their senses. They also can form impressions about feelings associated with specific objects.
- Psychic Empath: Act as mediums to the spiritual world. They can see, hear, and communicate with spirits.
- Heyoka Empath: The most powerful among empaths. They use their unconventional approach to act as emotional mirrors.
All kinds of empaths have the supernatural ability to feel and sense things without the need for verbalizing them. Once this attribute becomes part of their trait, they are no longer aware of what they are doing or consider these as special powers. They assume that everyone has this ability and carry on with their lives.
What is so special about a heyoka empath?
This is the rarest and most powerful type of empath. Deriving their name from the Sioux tribe of the Great Plains of North America, ‘heyoka” is a sacred clown, jester, satirist, and contrarian.
The function of a heyoka is to be an emotional mirror to others through their unconventional behavior. They are well-known not to follow the acceptable ways of society and behave in a fashion opposite to what is expected of them.
A heyoka empath does the same by going against the accepted norms of society. Through their behavior, speech, and dress sense, they highlight the weaknesses, wrongs, and dark elements in society, forcing others to reflect on the situation and take corrective action.
Heyoka empaths sacrifice a normal life for themselves to bring in reforms in society. Their heart is overflowing with love for humanity and has all-consuming intense energy to carry through their life’s mission.
They feel emotions strongly. They are either insanely happy, madly in love, or wild with rage. They hold a mirror to individuals as well as society to get them to see what is really happening.
Most heyoka empaths, like other empaths, aren’t aware of their supernatural abilities. They are usually mocked at and derided for their weird behavior but carry on their work because it is part of them and they can’t help it.
How does it feel to be an empath?
Empaths are highly sensitive to everything that is happening to them or around them. They are great at reading minds, emotions, feelings, thoughts, and situations at a deep level. Even when the other person is not aware of their own feelings or thoughts, an empath can read and understand it.
Because of their ability to read situations accurately, they are in a better position to suggest the right solution or guide others on the right path. All these are what they are destined to do and what they do for others and society. However, being a true empath is not an easy life to live.
As empaths absorb and feel what others are going through as if they are experiencing it, it is no wonder that the life of an empath is hard and full of turmoil. When they feel the trauma or hardships of every single person they meet, their own life becomes difficult to live.
Daily, empaths have to handle much more emotional trauma than non-empath. This can derail and distract them from their own goal and pursuits. They may also have trouble identifying their own problems and that of others.
Empaths typically are loners and introverts as they have to handle all the emotional burdens of the people they come across. Some empaths are extroverts but would prefer to withdraw into their own world time and again to sort out the emotions they are handling. Being overly sensitive also doesn’t help them lead a normal life.
Why do people become empaths?
Whether there are natural-born empaths or not is still not established but one thing is for sure – empaths can be made. Now, the question is how are empaths made.
The children of empaths have a higher chance of becoming an empath due to their upbringing. It is believed that genetics, environment, and temperament play a huge role in shaping the traits of a child. For an empath, it is no different.
However, this is not the only trigger to turning into an empath. Both involve special circumstances in upbringing.
A child with highly supportive parents has a good chance to become an empath. In this kind of family, the child is allowed to express themselves freely and has the freedom to pursue whatever they want to. The child receives all the support and encouragement to explore their inclinations and potential.
This doesn’t mean that all children with extremely supportive parents will become empaths.
Another circumstance that can make a child an empath is the other extreme of parenting. When the child gets absolutely no support or encouragement from its parents and is subjected to demoralizing and destructive behavior by parents, it can turn the child into an empath later on in life.
However, this is a long drawn process as the person has to go through the trauma first and then the healing process.
Even after you realize that you are different from the rest and you have heightened sensibilities, it takes more time and experience to realize their powerful empath traits. Still, you have a long way to go before you can gain control over your superpower and master it. For this to happen, you need to get rid of all your emotional baggage and free yourself from all kinds of toxicity.
“Is experiencing trauma essential to be a true empath?”
No. You can develop empathy even if you grow up in a loving and healthy environment. You can imbibe the same qualities and improve them to turn into an empath. When you are coming from a happy background, your transition into an empath will be easier and smoother. If you are taking the harder route to empathy, it is harder and more time-consuming.
Depending on the path taken to become an empath, your abilities will vary and how you use your powers also differ. A point to note here is that these two empaths make a perfect couple, complementing each other well.
How to know that you are an empath?
Now that you have learned that people may have empath traits without knowing them, you are naturally curious to know whether you are an empath.
The first step in identifying this is to check out these signs.
- You have an inquisitive mind and are always trying to unravel mysteries.
- You are fast to grasp unfamiliar concepts and situations. Your intuition helps you there.
- You understand others’ perspectives by putting yourself in their shoes. This comes as second nature to you; something that you do without effort or even thinking.
- You have never experienced trouble understanding others and their behavior.
- You seem to attract people with problems; they come to you for advice or to unburden their minds.
- You feel overcome by emotions out of the blue when you are in the middle of something. You feel an overwhelming need to be alone.
- You are extremely upset and drained after hearing about a traumatic incident or watching it on television.
- You just know things but have no clue how you got the information.
- You can read others like an open book. You use this information to predict their actions and words with accuracy.
- You can tell when someone is lying or being unfaithful. You can ask the right questions to get the truth out of them.
- You see the world in its unvarnished state, shorn of all glitter and embellishments. What you see may not be appealing and can be even distressing.
- Your special qualities tend to attract people with higher sensibilities to you. They seem to appreciate you better than you do yourself.
- You feel happy and content when helping others.
Empaths imbibe the emotional ups and downs of others and often mistake them as their own. Unless you are keenly watching yourself and aware of what is going on in your life, you will not know what is happening within you and to you.
True empaths carry the burden of the emotions and thoughts of others and help others heal. That is the real purpose of their life.
Do you know that your empathic qualities are not permanent? Just like you develop your empathic skills and turn into an empath, you can lose it too. This happens when you are exposed to the realities of life and get too conditioned by all the wicked things happening in the world.
You can avoid this by limiting your exposure to sorrow and evildoings. You can help protect your special powers by setting boundaries and enforcing them.
You need to realize that being an empath is not a superpower bestowed by the Universe on a chosen few. Anyone can develop it and be an empath. If you are not careful about the powerful empath qualities you have, they may get corrupted and you may lose them as well.
Being a true empath is not an easy matter. Without boundaries, this can make your life miserable even when you are helping others heal. It is often a lonely path you need to take for the sake of others.
It’s both a blessing and a curse.