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How To Know if You’re a Highly Sensitive (HSP) Person or An Empath

Updated: May 8, 2023

Do the people in your life tell you how genuine and compassionate you are? And that you're exceptionally emotionally in tune with those around you? If this connects, you might be a "highly sensitive person" (HSP), a personality type sometimes mistaken for an empath because they share a sense of genuine empathy for others. You might have noticed this yourself too, and feel overwhelmed if something is wrong with you or just different from others.

I assure you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. However, you are a very in-touch and aware person who may need to understand your superpower(s) and how to maintain it better.

Let us look at the differences between:

  • Highly sensitive people (HSPs) are generally more sensitive to the environment and social interactions, and it takes them longer to take in information.

  • Empaths share many qualities with HSPs but have more developed intuition and absorb emotions like sponges.

Highly Sensitive Person

You're generally more sensitive to the environment and social interactions if you are an HSP. You're likelier to pause and take time in situations and circumstances before jumping into new experiences. You probably also read people well, are insightful, and understand your loved one's needs. You likely don't have the stomach for violent TV shows or movies, as these do not connect with your values or energy level.

The downfall is that you can feel overwhelmed and overloaded by stimulating surroundings. To feel your best, you need regular rest and self-care.

HSPs need to be more understood. Unfortunately, society suggests something is wrong with us because we are sensitive. Because HSPs take in more information than most around us, we might take a little longer to process all those details, which can sometimes be misinterpreted as shyness or lack of care and attention. This is far from the truth.


Empaths are emotional sponges, as we feel everything. An empath intuitively senses what's going on with other people, how they are feeling, intentions and agendas—but they can also absorb those emotions as their own if they do not have the correct boundaries.

You might suspect that you're an empath if at least some of the following connect:

  • Have I been labelled as overly sensitive all my life?

  • Do I tend to absorb other people's emotions into my own body?

  • Do I take on other people's moods?

  • Do I replenish myself in nature?

  • Do I have a highly developed intuition?

  • Can I sense a feeling in a room/feel the negative or positive energy just by walking into it?

  • Do I prefer 1:1 interaction versus large groups?

Everyone can feel empathy when their heart goes out to someone in pain. But an empath "wants to help people so much that it hurts them too; they feel an obligation. They feel a moral responsibility to become a martyr and take on the world's pain. Sometimes, this can be extreme and damaging for a person to cope.

As an empath, you may notice that "energy vampires" flock to you, asking you to listen to their problems for hours. Although people may open up and talk to you randomly, and you feel you have a role to play for them at that time,

primarily, empaths neglect their needs. Though you know you need to set boundaries, it's hard because you're worried about letting someone down who is in condition. Both HSPs and empaths hugely need and benefit from setting boundaries and creating space for restorative alone time as a standard practice.

Challenges HSPs and Empaths Face?

When you're highly sensitive, you're taking in much information from the environment around you. Susceptible people and empaths are also deeply connected to those around them. Due to this, you may need additional downtime to recover from all you take in.

Anxiety and Depression

Over time, taking in so much information from your environment can lead

to feelings of anxiety. Empaths often struggle with stress, anxiety and low moods as a downfall.

For people of either personality type, getting help on how to create boundaries can be extremely helpful so that you can practice specific strategies that help you manage the thoughts, emotions, and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Reach out today; I am here to support you!

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