The difference between a Highly Sensitive Person, an Empath, and a Clairsentient

A highly sensitive person (HSP), an Empath, and a clairsentient tend to all get lumped together under the umbrella of “Empath.” But there are differences between each one. Many traits overlap which can make it confusing as to which ability/trait you may have. You may even have a combination of all three. I am all three and I will tell you the difference between them all from my personal experience.

A highly sensitive person (HSP), is more sensitive to all sensory input than the average person. Being a HSP means that you process more information about the world than others do on a deeper level. Your nervous system is always tuned to high. HSP people are triggered by something in their environment; something they physically see, hear, or feel. Places can be too noisy, too crowded, too fast paced, or too aggressive for someone who is sensitive. They are easily overwhelmed by their environment and any violence, cruelty, or heartbreak they see in the world, even on TV, is felt with extreme intensity deep within them.

A HSP can also easily pick up on small subtle cues that others don’t usually notice. They’re so aware of subtleties that it almost seems as if they’re psychic. They can read the silence, your eyes, your body language. They can virtually read between the lines. Everything that causes distress in a HSP comes from the physical plane. Their triggers and awareness comes through their physical senses. A highly sensitive person carries a lot empathy, tend to be bleeding hearts, and care very deeply for almost everything.

An Empath works with the emotional body. They can also be a highly sensitive person as well as an Empath. An Empath only feels the emotional energy of the what is around them with extreme depth, as if it’s their own emotion, but it is not triggered through the five physical senses. An Empath absorbs emotional energy, becoming extremely aware of the emotions of those around them without experiencing the emotion firsthand. It comes out of nowhere and often they don’t even know how it got there or where it even came from.

They are not triggered or aware by experiencing something firsthand, in person, through their physical senses like a HSP person does; but will instead feel it as if it came out of nowhere with no obvious trigger. This can cause mood swings because they’re essentially jumping from one emotion to another and not even know why it’s happening.

An Empath is so strongly attuned and sensitive to emotional energy that they feel it from everything, constantly, all at one time. An Empaths nervous system is also hyper sensitive which can cause struggles when it comes to separating their emotions and feelings from something other than them. It becomes difficult to distinguish what is theirs and what is not. It’s essentially as if they step into another persons body and are now them emotionally.

An Empath is basically a human filter for other people’s unprocessed emotions. They absorb the energy of other another’s feelings and then process it themselves, transmuting the energy to heal it. They transmute low vibrational energy to high vibrational energy. They are energy transmuters.

Being an Empath is often confusing because you can feel everything as if it’s your own. That is the separation from just feeling empathy, being a bleeding heart, or caring deeply for others like a highly sensitive person does. The separation between your emotions and another’s becomes extremely blurred.

An Empaths abilities can be easily controlled, though, with some practice. Learning your own energy signature well, so you can tell the difference between yourself and another’s energy is vital to controlling the overwhelm. Healing your inner wounds is also essential. Once you can stand in your own power and create healthy boundaries, energetically and physically, you will have more control.

The more you heal your inner stuff the stronger your aura becomes. Absorbing other peoples emotional states can mean your aura is unhealthy, your emotional intelligence needs work, you have codependent traits, or you lack boundaries, including energetic boundaries.

Daily mediation can help by showing you your natural calm state, your personal vibration. Processing your emotions when they come up instead of burying them, or blaming them on others, also helps. Daily practices grounding and clearing techniques such as a salt bath, burning herbs and resins, grounding yourself in nature, journaling, or using crystals, can clear your energy so you can more easily recognize your own unique vibration. 

You can also create a chant, or prayer, or call in the higher powers or Divine to clear all the energy that is not yours. Say, “return to consciousness” and everything will be commanded to return to it’s source.

Learning the difference between what is yours and what is another’s and the ability to clear it is how you control the overwhelm.

Another good technique is to put your hand on your heart, take three deep breaths and say your own name 3 times. This can bring your energy and awareness back to yourself and then you can easily tell if you’re absorbing another’s energy.

Temporarily, you can shield yourself, if need be, but this is just temporary and it takes a lot of extra energy to maintain. You can envision yourself being cloaked to block out others energy. You can also surround yourself in a bubble of light, with a color of your choice, to filter out the energy of others. 

Sometimes I surround my bubble with a mirror to reflect the energies away from me if the space is especially overwhelming. But this will drain your energy having to constantly protect yourself instead of working from the inside out like it’s naturally designed to do.

Once you have a handle on how to clear and ground your energy daily you can then maintain a healthy aura and it will be as if you’re no longer an Empath. You will be an empowered Empath.

Empaths are healers. They essentially take on the energy, work through it, then transmute it, and heal it. But this is not their responsibility to do. Every person is responsible for working through their own stuff and healing it individually. Being an Empath actually means that you can feel another’s emotional state which in turn makes you able to understand it so you can hold space for that person. Which is what a healer really does. Hold space for others to heal themselves.

Then there is the psychic ability that gets confused for being an Empath called clairsentience. Clairsentience is the ability to feel energy and it is the most common psychic ability. What people call Empath is actually the gift of clairsentience. You collect energy and process it. See, a disempowered Empath takes on the feelings and emotions of another as if its their own but with clairsentience you pick up on the feelings, emotions, and thoughts of another and you do not take it on as your own. You can feel who’s it is and where it’s coming from.

You can have all these gifts together or just one alone. An Empath may have the gift of clairsentience, and someone with clairsentience may also be an Empath, and they both can be a HSP.  Clairsentience, when used with integrity, can guide and help others. A HSP is triggered by their environment and will need to limit their exposure, and an Empath can feel what others feel unknowingly.

It doesn’t have to be a curse though. It is manageable. 

I have a combination of all three. I spent most of my life being overwhelmed. I feel everything. Every bit of energy, every emotion and thought, and every subtle cue from everything and everyone in the world! Yes, being human is extremely overwhelming and intense for me. But once I took control of my own energy, did a good bit of healing and inner work, I am no longer overwhelmed by everything constantly. Yes, I still feel it but it is not something I would call a curse any longer.