Are You an Empath? Know the Signs

This article came about as I have been experiencing some enhanced symptoms which have affected my health and well-being over at least the last couple of weeks pretty intensely. And was told by my doctors to “shut er’ down.” And it has been pretty intense. I am now starting to slowly come out of it. And if in the future you see me “disappear” for a few days, a week, or even longer you will know why.

Have you been feeling lower than your normal bubbly, happy, charismatic self lately? Anxious, overly sad or depressed, exhausted or even withdrawing and not knowing why? And/or witnessing this in others? I certainly have. The reason, I am sensitive and an empath. And you might be too.

I unfortunately/fortunately learned this after my 15 years of practicing law. As I had been taking on the serious problems of literally hundreds of clients and my body broke down four separate times with breast cancer. Until finally my doctors told me I had to quit or it was going to kill me. Was it my fault? No. I simply was unaware of this fact about myself. Yet still, no one told me I was an empath. They were “treating” me for cancer with radiation, many, surgeries, and eventual bi-lateral mastectomy then with pills and useless therapy for the years of depression and PTSD, labeling me as “disabled”.

While being an empath and or a sensitive doesn’t have to be a negative or “bad” thing, however. It’s all in how you choose to deal personally with the symptoms during these times when it hits you out of the blue and take the necessary steps to move through and past it, without harming yourself or anyone else in the process. It can be difficult but doesn’t have to be.

Being an empath is in and of itself both a gift and a curse. It can be used both constructively or destructively. A sword or a magic wand. Don’t die by falling on your own sword or that of another.

I learned to my surprise of this fact about myself years ago while attending a psychic workshop in Phoenix, AZ a year or so after my last year of practicing law. The first day of the weekend workshop the facilitator brought me up to the front of the room full of psychologists and Psychiatrists and introduced me by saying, “You can thank this lady right now, because she is the one who will be taking on all your s*** the rest of the weekend. Of course, I was shocked and had no idea what she meant. She asked me why I was so shocked and I had to admit I was totally unaware of this. Needless to say, I studied with her for years afterwards.

In my daily life, practices, and job performances, I have to remain diligent to this very day about what is going on, around me and within me. I have to be very selective in who I work with, and for — as well as what I am willing and able to do or take on. I have had people even get angry with me and lash out not understanding or even caring to know why. And I owe it to no one to explain.

Again, I am speaking up about this now, because I want everyone reading this to be aware for yourself. And understand more about it, by recognizing the signs and symptoms. This because, doctors are not going to tell you. Not even psychotherapists, therapists or Psychiatrists. Why? I can’t answer that, but only surmise. Most, don’t know how to “treat” or help even their own family members, much less their own clients with this.

These are the 15 signs you or someone close to you may be an empath.


  1. Sensitive to Emotions

Empaths are sensitive to emotional and physical energy so that they can pick up on the mental state and health of others (for better or for worse.) The tricky thing is that it can be difficult for them to distinguish which emotions and illnesses belong to them or someone else. Being more self-aware can help an empath stay in control.

  1. Prone to Sickness, Pain, and Disease

One of the less desirable empath abilities is taking on others’ feelings, which can be stressful for an empath. If they don’t know how to handle this emotional energy —  it can even manifest into a form of sickness or even disease. This is why an empath needs to distinguish where this energy is coming from to find balance and take care of their own mental and physical health.

  1. Powerful Listeners and Communicators

One of the main characteristics of an empath is, of course, their empathetic nature, so it should be no surprise that these in-tune individuals have an innate ability to use all of their senses to listen and communicate with others on a deep level. Empaths can sense and feel emotions (from pleasure to pain) as though they were going through the same experience. What is the definition of empathy, you ask? It’s the ability to understand and share the same feelings of another person.

  1. Difficulty Getting Close in a Relationship

It’s not that empaths don’t want to connect with someone and develop a steadfast union, but it can be difficult for them to do so because spending too much time with someone can make them feel overwhelmed, stressed, and worried about losing themselves, or the other person.

Excessive talking and touching can also cause sensory overload in an empath. As if that wasn’t complicated enough, telling a partner they need more space can hurt their feelings, which means they’ll wind up absorbing all of those sad emotions, making them feel even worse. Empaths must learn how to preserve themselves so that their energy and emotional tanks don’t become empty.

Even so, empaths are considered lovers and not fighters. They don’t like to get caught up with verbal or physical fights; communication is vital. Even though it can sometimes be difficult for them to embrace self-love, they love others and seek to be loved in return.

  1. A Keen Intuition

Empaths are incredibly intuitive, which means their gut instincts are rarely incorrect. They can spot dishonesty from a mile away, but they can also pick up when someone — or something — is positive.

  1. The Inability to Handle Crowded Places

Since empaths can assimilate positive and negative energy from people in the same room, overly crowded or busy places can cause them to become over-sensitized and overwhelmed to the point where they almost can’t stand it. Empaths do better when alone or in the company of a small group at most.

  1. Comfort: Nature, Animals, and Water

Considering empaths detest crowded places, it should be no surprise that they find solace when spending time in nature. While even non-empaths can find peace in the great outdoors, it’s incredibly helpful for those with this gift because they can calm their mind and take a break from the feeling of experiencing sensory overload. They also find comfort from animals’ unconditional love, so a walk through the woods with man’s best friend is like therapy to an empath. Empaths also feel the healing and therapeutic properties of water, whether they’re taking a dip in the pool or the sea, taking a warm bath or shower, or even walking in the rain.

  1. Feeling Tired or Exhaustion All the Time

While those nature walks are vital for an empath’s mental and physical health, it’s not uncommon for empathetic individuals to struggle with perpetual mental, physical, and spiritual fatigue since they are always taking on others’ energy. Empaths mustn’t neglect self-care tactics such as getting enough rest (even a nap during the day) and taking breaks such as vacations or retreats to recharge their batteries. Empaths are typically free-spirited and enjoy an escape, and when they can’t, they become restless and irritated.

  1. Highly Sensitive to Just About Anything

In this case, we’re not talking about sensitivity associated with the emotions of others. Empaths can also have increased sensitivity to certain fragrances or odors, a blaring television or radio, and loud noises or specific sounds. They can also become overly emotional (sometimes even ill) when viewing violence, chaos, and cruelty — especially if it’s happening in real life.

  1. Feeling as Though They Don’t Fit In

Despite giving themselves to others, empaths always feel as though they don’t fit in and can’t relate to others. It’s possible that others simply can’t click to one’s empathic abilities, so they can’t understand why they’re often tired and stressed.

  1. Moody, Fickle, and Needy

Along with being stressed and tired, an empath person can experience regular mood swings and unpredictable behavior — one might almost confuse this rollercoaster of emotions as someone being bipolar. What’s happening is that the person picks up on others’ feelings and emotions, which can sometimes cause confusion and depression. On top of it, empaths can demand attention because they don’t feel as though they are being heard, which makes sense considering an empathetic person is typically putting others first.

  1. Prone to Addiction

An empathic burden is having an addictive personality because they need an escape or wish to feel connected to something. Unfortunately, this could lead to excessive smoking, drinking, eating, gambling, and drug use. In some cases, it could make them even more sensitive, which could snowball into a bigger problem.

  1. Vivid Dreams

Many people with psychic ability have lucid dreams, and empaths are no exception. They’ve likely been having them since childhood. These dreams are so vivid; it’s as though they are awake and can control what’s happening. When they wake up, they can describe their vision in graphic detail. On top of that, they can interpret the dream and apply this intel to their real lives.

  1. The Need to Be Stimulated

Empaths can be bored easily. Therefore their job, relationships, and personal activities and projects need to keep them stimulated and focused, lest they run the risk of becoming distracted. Changing up their routine is also helpful, as empaths are continually looking for new ways to express their passions and enjoy life as they believe in enthusiastically living it to its fullest.

  1. Clearing the Clutter

Empaths don’t just pick up on the energy from people, but from objects as well. With that in mind, a cluttered living or workspace can make them feel weighed down. They excel in clearing clutter to allow the balance of energy to flow freely. They are naturally gifted at the art of feng shui for this same reason.

If you experience yourself or others exhibiting any or a combination of these traits or symptoms, especially at this time of upheaval in the world, please pay attention and take the appropriate action. Always remember you have to take care of yourself first. Even if others don’t understand or become impatient with you.

While we oftentimes want to take on the burdens of the world, we must know we alone cannot do this. It’s okay to feel deeply for the needs of others, but you simply must not take it on yourself. You can help them by guiding them to someone who is trained to help them professionally in this arena.

Being an empath is in and of itself both a gift and a curse. It can be used both constructively or destructively. A sword or a magic wand. Don’t die by falling on your own sword or that of another.


Char Murphy
Char Murphy
I’m a 15-year former practicing attorney, now three-time book author, speaker, featured contributing author to such amazing organizations as, Motivation Champs, BIZCATALYST 360, P.O.W.E.R.(Professional Organization of Women of Excellence), REVIVAL Sanctuary for Women in Business, Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine. I’m Passionate about lending hope, inspiration, and empowerment through my writings and my spoken words for those who have fallen, lost on their path and questioning, why me, who am I now and why am I here I do this by sharing my story of abuse, thriving through breast cancer four times, losing my law career and practice, my newly remodeled home, my husband, my identity of “who I thought I was”. Pulling myself back up, taking a few deep breaths, dusting off...going deep within, consulting the inner alchemist we all are, to re-create and co-create with the universe myself anew. To transform and transcend all the many unknowns, to living my true passion and purpose. My greatest rewards in life have been born out of the thrill of knowing I have helped someone else struggling to get back up and finding their direction, purpose, and living their greatest dreams. To heal, with a renewed inner strength and power, knowing it was all meant to be. And being grateful for all of it. That’s the magic we as individuals and a part of humanity as a whole are capable of. Realizing that we are made up of those beautiful gems that lie waiting inside ourselves, that have always been there...just waiting to be discovered. I’m here now, to tell you, YOU ARE the Power. You have more resources, strength, courage, beauty than you can imagine right in your very beingness. Reach in and take hold of that wisdom and truth. Own it! Step out and up, love, and embrace fully the authenticity which IS you and always has been. And never let it go.

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