We all have our own unique qualities and traits, as well as our flaws and little quirks. But empaths are really something special. Authentic empaths gravitate around the same star in a benevolent universe: empathy.
Everyone knows that that is their trademark. Growing up, we were told that we’re too sensitive or too emotional, with the implication that it’s a bad thing. That we had to change or else wouldn’t survive or succeed.
The truth is that from an evolutionary perspective, our species would not have survived without empaths. They contributed to strengthening and building communities as well as maintaining ties and providing understanding and care.
But there are other aspects where empaths excel. Here are 4 qualities that make empathetic people rather unique:
1. They mirror the emotions of others
Science tells us there are specific brain cells responsible for feelings such as compassion, joy, love, fear or anger. These are called mirror neurons and they are hyper responsive in empaths. This is what makes it possible for them to understand someone else’s happiness or grief on a deeper level.
There are also people who lack the ability to feel empathy towards others which could be caused by an under-active mirror neuron system. These are usually those psychology refers to as narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths.
2. They can’t be around negative people
No one wants to be around toxic people. But because empaths can detect anything remotely toxic right away, they also have less tolerance for such behavior. This means empathetic people are more easily brought down by those around them who display anger or anxiety. It’s what we call ’emotional contagion’. It’s also true that they are more responsive to someone who is in a good mood and are instantly flooded with joy.
3. They need time alone
This is crucial for empaths. Because they are very sensitive to other people’s feelings and emotions and often absorb or mirror them, empaths need quiet time on their own to recharge. They may also use these moments of seclusion to become even more aware of their inner workings.
That is why empaths crave time spent alone. Not many people know how exhausting it can be for an empath to take in the world’s emotional turmoil, all at once. So if you have friends or family who are empaths, make sure they take all the time they need to readjust their emotional compass and recharge.
4. They can’t watch or listen to upsetting things
Violence is disturbing for most people. But it is particularly upsetting for empaths because they feel so intensely other people’s negativity. They almost feel literally sick when they happen to consume violent content or take part in unpleasant events. Perhaps most people can see horrible things with a bit of detachment, but for an empath, they come with the full effect.They feel it as if it were happening to them. So it’s intense and scary.