9 Core Traits of Highly Sensitive People (+70 Quotes for HSP & Empaths)

Highly Sensitive People (HSP) and Empaths: 9 Core Traits + 70 Quotes

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Highly Sensitive People Core Traits

Highly sensitive people and empaths essentially share the gift of heightened sensitivity - and  9 core traits that come with it.

However, they are different in some ways. 

So, before we get into those core traits, it’s worth mentioning some of the subtle distinctions between the highly sensitive person (HSP) and the empath.

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The Difference Between Highly Sensitive People and Empaths

It’s no wonder HSPs and empaths are often mistaken as one and the same – they do have a lot in common!

They both feel energies and experience emotions on a deeper level.

HSPs and empaths indeed share similar gifts and suffer many of the same plights.

However, there are differences between the two– let’s examine some truths about HSPs vs. empaths and their unique abilities.

*Related post: Get to Know Yourself: 71 Insightful Questions [+ Printable]

HSP Truths

Highly sensitive people sense things on a deeper level.

Any one of (or all of) their senses are heightened.

HSPs may be sensitive to light, certain noises, smells, etc. Perhaps they even have psychic abilities due to their heightened “sixth sense”.

Highly sensitive people crave alone time, due to their introverted nature and/or the fact that they are prone to overstimulation.

For this reason alone, self-care for HSPs is super important.

Many HSPs can feel people’s energies and/or the energy of a room or object.

They cannot stand inauthenticity or negative people and they can sense when people are lying to them or being fake.

HSPs don’t like crowds and generally prefer to avoid large groups of people.

They recharge by spending time outdoors – nature is their healer.

Empath Abilities

Empaths have much in common with HSPs.

They are also prone to overstimulation, have a love for the nature/the arts/creative pursuits, and need alone time to recharge.

Like HSPs, empaths feel others’ emotions – and simply feel in general – on a deeper level.

However, in addition to empathizing with people, they also actually absorb others’ emotions.

According to Dr. Judith Orloff, author of The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, empaths sense subtle energy in other people or the environment and suck that energy into their own bodies.

The Empathetic Spectrum*
Psychopaths, Sociopaths  -----  Narcissists  -----  Loving, empathetic people  -----  HSPs  -----  Empaths
(*The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, by Dr. Judith Orloff)

This can be quite overwhelming and consequently, many empaths struggle with anxiety, depression, fatigue or other physical manifestations of that overwhelm.

However, once empaths learn to harness their power and use their gift mindfully, they can protect themselves from harm while also healing others and spreading love.

The Benefits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person/Empath

At times, many highly sensitive people may feel as though their gift is more of a curse. But, I think that all things considered, it's worth going through the challenges to be able to experience such a wonderful blessing.

There are so many benefits of being an HSP/empath, including:

  • HSPs and empaths are open minded and compassionate. Because they have such a huge capacity for empathy, people and animals feel at ease around them and are comfortable opening up to them.
  • Highly sensitive people are able to understand and relate to the core struggles we all face in life. Because of this, they make extremely loyal and steadfast companions and typically exemplify the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.
  • The highly sensitive person’s ability to fearlessly tap into the essence of human suffering also makes them incredible artists.
  • Their knack for spot on insight and intuition isn’t limited to others – they’re also self-aware. Unlike many (maybe most?) people, they are willing to examine themselves objectively and are open to change/growth.
  • HSPs and empaths have a lot of love to give and generally experience things with a higher level of emotional intensity.
  • One of the biggest benefits of being an empath or a highly sensitive person is the awesome opportunity for spiritual growth (however, this journey inherently involves suffering along the way).
  • Empaths can use their ability to heal their internal traumas, heal other people, or push loving, healing energy out to the entire world.

Core Traits & Abilities of Highly Sensitive People and Empaths

Every person is unique, whether they are a highly sensitive person, an empath, an introvert, an INFJ, or whatever.

Not all highly sensitive people are empaths and not all empaths have the same type of gift.

There are varying degrees of HSP/empathic abilities and everyone’s perceptions and experiences are different.

However, there are certain core traits of highly sensitive people and empaths that are more common than not.

HSPs and empaths are typically:

  1. Sensitive
  2. Compassionate
  3. Intuitive
  4. Insightful
  5. Creative
  6. Unique
  7. Lovers
  8. Healers
  9. Spiritual Warriors

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Here are 70 thoughtful quotes for highly sensitive people & empaths, categorized by these 9 core traits. 

If you are an empath or HSP, these will definitely resonate with you!

Sensitive & Compassionate

HSP/Empath Quotes:

1. “Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” -Confucius

2. “Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” -Andrew Boyd

3. “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” -Buddha

4. “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” -Mahatma Gandhi

5. “Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” -Dalai Lama

6. “Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” -Albert Einstein

7. “The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity.” -George Bernard Shaw

8. “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.” -Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama highly sensitive person quote

9. “A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without in some sort becoming a tree.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

10. “I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” -Walt Whitman

11. “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” -Mother Teresa

Intuitive & Insightful

Quotes About Trusting Your Intuition as a Highly Sensitive Person/Empath:

12. “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” -Albert Einstein

13. “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” -Louisa May Alcott

Alcott Quote

14. “Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinker, the stillness beneath the mental noise, the love and joy beneath the pain.” -Eckhart Tolle

15. “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others’ opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” -Steve Jobs

17. “Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.” -Wayne Dyer

18. “Mother Nature speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer.” -Radhanath Swami

19. “Faith, hope, love, and insight are the highest achievements of human effort.” -Carl Jung

20. “The worst pain a man can suffer: to have insight into much and power over nothing.” -Herodotus

21. “Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.” -Eckhart Tolle

Creative & Unique

Creativity/Being Unique Quotes:

22. “When I am completely myself, entirely alone during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.” -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

23. “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” -Henry David Thoreau

24. “The question is not if we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

25. “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” -Dr. Seuss

26. “The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” -Aldous Huxley

27. “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” -Aristotle

28. “Never be bullied into silence, never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” -Harvey Fierstein

29. “The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche Quote highly sensitive people

30. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

31. “Even our misfortunes are a part of our belongings.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

32. "The creative adult is the child who survived." -Ursula K. LeGuin

33. “Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.” -T. S. Eliot

34. “At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Lovers & Healers

Quotes About the Love and Healing Power of Highly Sensitive People/Empaths:

35. “Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen. Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.” -Barack Obama

36. “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” -Marianne Williamson

37. “Empaths did not come into this world to be victims; we came to be warriors. Be brave. Stay strong. We need all hands on deck.” -Anthon St. Maarten

38. “You have a treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” -Eckhart Tolle

39. “If we took emotional health as seriously as a society as we take learning arithmetic and reading, we would have a much smaller problem.” -Neil Strauss

40. “Radiate boundless love towards the entire world.” -Buddha

Buddha Quote- highly sensitive people & empaths

41. “You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.” -Zig Ziglar

42. “Empathy is the medicine the world needs.” -Dr. Judith Orloff

43. “If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” -Stephen Grellet

44. “We acquire the strength we have overcome.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

45. “What marks the artist is his power to shape the material of pain we all have.” -Lionel Trilling

Spiritual Warriors

Spiritual Quotes for HSPs & Empaths:

46. “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” -Khalil Gibran

47. “Awakening is not changing who you are but discarding who you are not.” -Deepak Chopra

 48. “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” -Marcus Aurelius

49. “Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.” -Neil Gaiman

50. “Handling our suffering is an art. If we know how to suffer, we suffer much less, and we’re no longer afraid of being overwhelmed by the suffering inside.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

51. “We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” -Charles Bukowski

52. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson Quote

53. “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” -Bruce Lee

54. “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.” -Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

55. “Suffering is but another name for the teaching of experience, which is the parent of instruction and the schoolmaster of life.” -Horace

56. “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.” -Albert Einstein

57. “Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.” -C.S. Lewis

58. “In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love.” -Eckhart Tolle

Inspirational Quotes for Highly Sensitive People and Empaths

Finally, HSPs and empaths can become easily and frequently overwhelmed with their emotions, others’ traumas, the state of the world, cruelty and injustice, or any other sad events or situations.

Here are some motivational/inspirational quotes to help you through the tough times:

59. “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” -J. R. R. Tolkien

60. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.” -Marcus Aurelius

61. “The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.” -Aesop

Aesop Quote

62. “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” -Marie Curie

63. “The darker the night, the brighter the stars.” -Unknown

64. “If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe.” -Joe Rogan

65. “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” -Confucius

66. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

67. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell

68. “With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” -Dalai Lama

69. “There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.” -Charles Dickens

70. “Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold.” -Bob Marley

* Bonus Quote*
71. “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” -Marcus Aurelius

Aurelius Quote HSP Empaths

Thanks for reading!

I hope this article helped you to understand the core traits of HSPs and empaths & the differences between the two.

I also hope you could relate to these quotes and that they moved or inspired you in some way. 

Got any quotes to add to the list? Leave a comment!

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About the Author

Kalliope Archondis, JD, LLM. 👋Hi! I'm Kalli, personal development blogger and Etsy shop owner. Check out our Self Care by 3D Success relaxation spa gift sets here.

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