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By Brianna Wiest

An empath, or, someone who is highly sensitive to other people’s feelings, intentions, motivations, and the general the energy that surrounds them, often don’t realize that they are until they’re in such emotional/mental turmoil, they go looking for the cause.

The difference, of course, between simply being “empathetic” and what one would define as an “empath” is that the latter doesn’t quite have control over it, or it affects their lives to an unhealthy degree.

Here, 19 essential signs you don’t realize you’re an empath.

1. You are a bonafide “over-thinker,” and often times become absolutely convinced that there is something more at play in the situation (even when other people would say you were totally nuts). In reality, you are picking up on the motivations, intentions, feelings and reactions that most people are not sensitive to; you can naturally feel the multi-dimensional nature of anything.

2. You’re constantly tired. You’re worn out from so much emotional exercise that you’re not even conscious you’re doing. Until you’re aware that you pick up on other people’s feelings and adopt them as your own, you’ll do so and just believe they’re yours to cope with.

3. You’re extremely sensitive on the inside, but very distant and emotionally reserved on the outside. You have an incredible need for intimate, human contact, but only allow it for yourself sparingly.

4. You’re naturally a peacemaker, and often compromise your own feelings or needs just to “keep the peace” because discord bothers you so much. You actually believe that quelling your own feelings about the situation heals the situation, because it changes how you perceive it. So you force this on yourself incessantly.

5. You’re either highly disturbed by violence or horror on the news or in movies, or you are extremely intrigued by it. The only difference being whether or not you want to acknowledge the dark, violent aspects of humanness that you could also have a propensity for … or if you’ve already accepted them as part of your own inherent psyche, and are intrigued to see how they play out in other people’s minds.

6. In your work – whatever that may be – there is an underlying desire (or really, need) to help others in whatever way you are equipped to. It’s not even that you’d like to help others, but that you’re uncomfortable when you’re not doing so.

7. You are a lover of little, helpless things: puppies, babies, etc.

8. You’re highly creative and expressive. You fill pages and pages of journals or need to listen to music all the time. It’s how you diffuse a lot of the emotion you don’t realize you’re stuck having to process.

9. Strangers find you highly approachable, and people are always randomly opening up to you while waiting on line at the grocery store; you’re the friend everyone turns to for advice.

10. You’re a problem solver in every way. Your objective in any situation is to figure out a way to simplify, streamline, change, fix, or generally make easier and lighter for everyone involved.

11. You frequently experience “déja vu” or other strange coincidences/synchronicities. (In reality, these are not things that happen upon us as gifts or signs from a greater unknown, but rather things we simply notice or create out of a deeper intuitive understanding or sense.)

12. You’ve had many, many friendships end, or you’re maybe not as close with your family as you’d like to be (or, at least, you’ve certainly gone through periods of this in your life.) Until you learn (or learned) not to adopt the problems and emotions of those close to you, you’ll almost blame the people around you for making you feel a certain way (as opposed to blaming yourself for not being able to not be affected by them.)

13. You’re most at peace when you’re outside, even if you don’t realize it. You have to get out in the sunlight at least a few times a day (and a succession of cloudy days or bad weather truly affects your spirit).

14. You’re constantly looking for answers. You’re always looking to improve yourself, or understand something better. You have an inherent drive for internal growth.

15. Despite loving people as you do, you have an intense need for solitude. You might not exactly know why it is you so desperately must be alone (it’s that you can’t handle all the excess energy you’re processing) and it’s not that you enjoy being alone more than being around people… but you certainly are more at peace in solitude, more than the average person.

16. You’re easily bored, or distracted, if you aren’t completely compelled by what you’re doing. You tend to go for the meatiest part of the steak, so to say, and leave the rest.

17. You can’t accept being lied to, when deep down, you know the truth. You may not even be conscious of the fact that you know the truth, but when you simply cannot let a situation rest until another outcome is revealed, it’s because you’re sensing there’s more to it than meets the eye.

18. You’re not a fan of used or vintage items, especially clothing or knick-knacks. They just carry the energies of the people to whom they belonged.

19. You’re an intense daydreamer. While this is, of course, something everybody does… you take it to an extreme. If you prefer maladaptive daydreaming, you also listen to music and feel the need to rock (sit on a swing, walk back and forth) while you do it.

Photography: Franca Giminez

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