Being empathetic simply means understanding others’ emotions better. We all have friends and family members who are good listeners, who are our go-to people and the ones who listen to our problems all night long without complaining.
Does that mean we are surrounded by empaths? The answer is no. Though “empathy” has become a buzzword today and we are all advised to practice it for the sake of humanity, empaths are much more than just good listeners and well-wishers. They put themselves in your shoes and feel your emotions rather than just trying to understand your distress.
So, coming to our main question- Are empaths rare?
Is it really that only 1 to 2 percentage of the whole population real empaths?
Well, the truth is- providing an exact answer to such questions is near to impossible. Hundreds of studies and researches have been conducted in the last few years and the mystery of determining real empaths remains unsolved. Here’s everything that is out there about true empaths who put intuitions and feelings over anything else.
How Rare are True Empaths? How rare is it to find an empath?
We all encounter numerous people who claim to understand us better and in some cases even assert on being our soulmate! But if you think, an empath is someone who “gets you”, you are mistaken! True empaths absorb everyone’s emotions alike and are so sensitive that even the suffering of a stranger is enough to overwhelm them and drown them in an ocean of sadness and grief.
So how rare are true empaths? Studies might suggest the percentage of true empaths to be anywhere between 1-2% to 15-20% and they have yet to reach a conclusive finding. But do these numbers really matter? Can we just accept that the figure is extremely small and we all need to be considerate towards empaths? They absorb unimaginable amounts of emotions every day that aren’t even theirs and deserve great compassion from others.
Determining the precise fraction of empaths is also difficult because the definition of empaths isn’t consistent. Even if we agree on a certain set of characteristics, the intensity of emotions felt and consumed by empaths varies. Not only their reaction to situations and coping mechanisms can have a large deviation from one another but, some might also go through emotional roller coasters alone in silence. This makes it impossible for others to discover them as empaths.
Encountering a true empath is rare. It might also happen that you have one around you who is considered to be overly sensitive and asked to bring changes in himself/herself or become more ” strong”. In such cases, the empaths generally close themselves and stay in the closet to dodge societal pressure and judgment.
Are empaths born or made?
Now, this is a long-debated question. Some people think that empaths are born and have the innate superpower of extreme empathy. These people would like to consider true empaths as the ones chosen by gods who have a specific type of personality that can’t be developed.
However, this opinion is not well-accepted by the other section who believe that everyone is born with the same capability of feeling others’ emotions and predicaments. For them, true empaths are the result of the environment and surroundings and their gift is acquired rather than inherited.
How are empaths born?
According to Jeff, a psychologist and course director of Behavioral Medicine at Touro College, empaths are most likely to be born and develop their powers further interacting with the environment.
Being a true empath means one urges to help and heal others. It isn’t just a sudden awakening or a push, but a psychological condition where empaths take pride in reading people and helping them deal with their misery.
Signs of empaths could also be seen in toddlers where they react to music, certain sounds, or noises or even behave more maturely than others of their age. When we say empaths are born, it also means that they have genetically inherited relevant traits from their parents and continue to develop the qualities as they age.
Empaths Tend To Have Synesthesia
Synesthesia in simple words refers to the combining of senses. Some people imagine a particular color when they hear a name or listen to certain music or even feel a distinct way when they encounter some scenes. The condition is definitely not to be mistaken as a disorder as there is ample research to suggest that synesthesia helps people memorize fast and retain memory for long.
Most empaths have synesthesia (though not all) and blending of senses with hypersensitive psychological conditions could be awfully frustrating for them. According to research from the University of Delaware, 2 in every 100 people possess an advanced version of Synesthesia called mirror-touch synesthesia. Under this condition, the synesthetes can feel the sensations of another person being touched as they “mirror” the sensations.
Mirror-Touch Synesthesia could be extremely perplexing as the empath is literally feeling the person’s bodily sensations and going through their emotions. Though there are still studies to be conducted to formulate accurate tests to identify such empaths, doctors show videos of someone being touched for diagnosis of mirror-touch synesthesia.
How Do Some People Become Empaths Differently?
The common notion is that empaths are born and start showing tendencies at an early age. However, bequeathed genes aren’t the only way empaths are born. Some people become empaths differently and start showing the signs later in their lives.
The two most common factors behind people becoming empaths are – environment and trauma.
It’s not unknown that the environment is a decisive component for shaping our behavior and traits. The same goes for empaths as well. And by the environment, I don’t specifically mean the natural components but also the people and any other living or non-living element. e.g. a child with overprotective parents is likely to develop the characteristics of an empath.
Trauma is another prominent stimulus behind acquired empath behavior. A person who has gone through traumatic experiences will automatically respond more sensitively to other people’s predicaments.
How Do You Know If You Are An Empath?
If you are a true empath, chances are you already know it. You know that you are not just being highly sensitive or overreacting but genuinely syncing with others’ energies.
If you are still not clear whether you are a real empath or not, here are some of the most common signs to check for yourself. Have a look:
- You are often considered to be a good listener or generally an understanding person.
- People come to you for advice.
- You value others’ emotions over your own and frequently get overwhelmed by all the feelings you experience.
- The thought of locking yourself up and cutting yourself off from the world crosses your mind at least once a day.
- You fear encountering a lot of people or panic in public.
- You try to ignore your inner voice and just want to stop feeling anything.
- It’s easier for you to read people’s minds and even do it unconsciously.
- It’s difficult for you to hate or dislike someone since you always try to understand where they are coming from.
- You are the flag bearer of peace. Criticisms, arguments, and holding grudges are not your thing.
- You don’t judge people and form bonds for a lifetime.
So, are empaths rare? I hope you have got your answer by now.
The rarity of empaths is a true thing even when its accurate determination is complex.
Being a real empath is like having a superpower that can be both a boon and a bane. If you think you are one yourself, it’s time you check for the signs, admit the fact, and begin your journey to self-discovery.
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