How rare are empaths? About 1 in 15 people according to expert estimates but this can be a very deceiving number because most empaths live ‘in the closet’.
Do you feel a room’s energy or vibes when you walk into a room even though you’ve never been there before? Have you been called or described as “oversensitive” or highly emotional more times than you can count in your life?
Do you find yourself wanting to isolate yourself because of an unexplainable feeling of overwhelm or extreme mental, spiritual, and emotional drain after spending time with others?
These are some of the most common things that empaths experience in their daily lives. If you answered yes to most or all of the questions posed above, chances are you are an empath.
Perhaps you already know you are one, feel stunned with how seemingly rare being an empath is, and stumbled into this article hoping to ease the feeling of being alone.
What is an empath really and why are they so rare?
There are a variety of ways that mainstream media use to define those who identify as empaths, but to simplify it, empaths are people who are deeply sensitive and are generally very much attuned to the energy and emotions of others.
An empath is a person who strongly feels the world around them, more than the average person.
Every single human being is capable of feeling empathy, but empaths, to some degree, are even much more in sync with energies that don’t belong to them.
It is a normal occurrence for them to feel emotions that are not theirs.
To add to this, they can also feel the pain that people around them experience, sometimes even physically too.
Given that they are deeply attuned with the world, even little things as negative news or imagery can inflict pain and bring them down in a personal way.
One of the reasons why so many empaths never realize or actualize their ‘gift’ is because society suppresses the kind of qualities that empath have.
They often see as weak, strange or even weird.
Nobody want to go through life with those labels so many empaths do everything they can to suppress their innermost ‘knowing’ in an attempt to fit in.
How rare are empaths?
Experts estimate that empaths make up at least 15% to 20% of the planet’s population of 7.9 billion.
That is a pretty small number when put in writing like that, isn’t it? In reality, though, it turns out that empaths amount to at least one billion people from all over the world!
In retrospect, it is a small number and therefore still is pretty rare, but there are more than you would expect.
On that note though, it is worth mentioning that there aren’t a lot of data or statistics on this study so determining how rare empaths are in the world proves to be quite the difficulty.
This is besides the fact that there are many different definitions to this word that are known in society and can therefore vary depending on how an institution defines it.
Empath are even more rare given the fact that most of them never identify as one.
What does it feel like to be an empath?
Empaths are very intuitive and are good at reading situations and people at a deeper level than what is physically perceivable or presented to them.
Due to their strong sense of empathy with things, they can view things from a bird’s eye view when others in the same situation can’t do so.
Something to keep in mind when we talk about them being very intuitive and sensitive to other’s emotions and energies is that they feel everything.
As an empath myself, it can get difficult when you are suddenly encountering someone who is in turmoil and it rubs off on you in a sense.
When you feel other people’s emotions as your own, it can be derailing and can distract you from your sense of self. Even to the point where you may find it difficult to distinguish which feelings are yours and which ones are someone else’s.
Empaths are known to be introverts (but it’s not always the case, some empaths are extroverts too!).
This may be because as highly sensitive people, we tend to find it difficult to process situations where a lot of factors are at play (say people at parties or even small gatherings, loud noises, etc.).
It is easy for us to get overwhelmed as we almost always unintentionally absorb external simulations that could throw us off our feet.
Similarly, it is extremely confusing when we are suddenly confronted with feelings that don’t belong to us.
As an empath, it’s not always a looming aspect of our personality that we absorb other feelings sometimes and it takes conscious effort to weed out the stranger emotions from our minds so we could clear it out and focus on ourselves.
How how rare are empaths if you add in the fact that empaths are rare, and therefore can feel isolating – especially on the bad days.
Signs you may be an empath
Wondering if you may be an empath? Most empath go through life never really knowing it although they expereince many (if not most) of the characteristics.
Here are some commons signs that you may be an empath:
- You are curious about the unknown
- You are quick to catch on when confronted with external situations because of your intuition
- You find it easy to put yourself in other people’s shoes – sometimes you don’t even have to consciously put effort, you just automatically feel what others feel
- It’s easy for you to understand where others are coming from
- People come to you for advice or just someone to tell things to
- You sometimes feel suddenly overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions when you are in public
- Watching or seeing upsetting things in the news or on social media can dampen your spirits completely
Empaths have a natural (dare I say, spidey) sense of knowing things that are unquestionable, thanks to our intuition.
Empaths can read others without many cues (such as body language, facial expressions, those little vocal intonations) and can accurately be able to tell what’s going on from even the smallest clues or indication.
Empaths are good at telling when someone is being untruthful to them and can sniff truths out easily, and the more in tune they are with themselves, the stronger these “skills” can be.
Aside from this, they also have a greater and more profound sense understanding of the universe than most people around them do.
This deeper understanding and wisdom is what attracts them to other people naturally.
Empaths usually gain a feeling of happiness and contentment when helping others heal.
With all this said the most obvious and biggest sign someone is an empath is when they take on emotions and energies of other people and sometimes even mistake them as their own.
Many instances in my daily life have I been in the same room as someone, just chilling and doing my own business until I suddenly feel strangely annoyed or angry and it confuses me until someone eventually expresses their feelings physically.
Only then will I realize that I was taking on someone else’s emotion.
It is a difficult thing to be dealing with, but by learning how to set and protect your boundaries, it can be more bearable.
Are people natural-born empaths or can it be developed?
Some people believe that every single individual is born an empath in their ways, but over time, their abilities or capabilities minimize and become suppressed as they are exposed to the harsh realities and conditioning of society as we know it.
On the other hand, some believe that empaths are born as such and naturally possess sensitivity and attentiveness to their surroundings that others that lack this gift cannot imbibe or have.
At the end of the day, we need to realize that being an empath is not a supernatural, “chosen one” type of thing. Empaths, like most people, are human beings with feelings, needs, and boundaries too.
Being an empath is no joke. It’s a part of ourselves that can easily backfire on us if we don’t learn to be confident in ourselves and impose boundaries from people who only approach us when they need our help.
It is not uncommon either that empaths feel alone.
As often, introverted people who get easily overwhelmed by the chaos of daily life, we may find it extremely difficult to find other people who can relate to the struggles that we experience regularly.
This feeling of alienation is very difficult to shake off, even when you surround yourself with people you hold dear to your heart and respect you (and your boundaries) as much as you do with them, but in times like these, it’s important to not forget that other empaths are here for you – even just energetically.
Being an empath is both a blessing and a curse.
Aside from it being rare, empaths in today’s world have to constantly struggle with a fast-paced, loud, and bright world that conditioned us to think that bigger personalities make it farther in the world.
In this regard, it is important to honor your feelings and emotions! One of the best things about being an empath, no matter how rare, is that you have an inner knowing that absolutely nobody else can shake!
Trust that voice, speak out more often, respect and set your boundaries, take care of your own needs, and learn to communicate them with the ones you care for.