Empathy is the capability to share and understand another’s emotion and feelings. It is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes,” or in some way experience what the other person is feeling.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN EMPATH?
An empath is a person with extra-sensory empathic ability, capable of sensing the emotions of others around them in a way unexplained by conventional science or psychology. An empath has the ability to read and understand people & be in-tune with or resonate with others. Sometimes, it is voluntarily and other times it is involuntarily, especially for someone who is a natural empath.. Empaths have the ability to scan another's psyche for thoughts and feelings or for past, present, and future life occurrences. Empaths have an unusual capacity for sensing and understanding the feelings of others. Empaths are hypersensitive people and are often compassionate, considerate, and understanding of others. They have the ability to "feel" what someone else is experiencing and feeling. Many empaths are unaware of how this actually works, & have long accepted that they were hypersensitive to others.
EMPATHS SENSE DEEP EMOTIONS
Empathy is a feeling of another's true emotions to a point where an empath can relate to that person by sensing true feelings that run deeper than those portrayed on the surface. People commonly put on a show of expression. This is a learned trait of hiding authentic expression in an increasingly demanding society. An empath can sense the truth behind the cover and will act compassionately to help that person express him/herself, thus making them feel at ease and not so desperately alone.
Empaths experience empathy towards family, children, friends, close associates, complete strangers, pets, plants and inanimate objects. Empathy is not held by time or space. Thus, an empath can feel the emotions of people and things at a distance. Some are empathic towards animals (ie: The Horse Whisperer), to nature, to the planetary system, to mechanical devices or to buildings etc. Others will have a combination of the above.
EMPATHS HAVE A DEEP SENSE OF KNOWING
Empaths are highly sensitive. This is the term commonly used in describing one's abilities (sensitivity) to another's emotions and feelings. Empaths have a deep sense of knowing that accompanies empathy and are often compassionate, considerate, and understanding of others.
There are also varying levels of strength in empaths which may be related to the individuals awareness of self, understanding of the powers of empathy, and/or the acceptance or non-acceptance of empathy by those associated with them, including family and peers. Generally, those who are empathic grow up with these tendencies and do not learn about them until later in life.
EMPATHY IS INHERITED
Empathy is genetic, inherent in our DNA, and passed from generation to generation. It is studied both by traditional science and alternative healing practitioners. Empathy has both biological/genetic and spiritual aspects.
EMPATHS SENSE AND READ OTHERS
Empaths often possess the ability to sense others on many different levels. From their position in observing what another is saying, feeling and thinking, they come to understand another. They can become very proficient at reading another person’s body language and/or study intently the eye movements. While this in itself is not empathy, it is a side-shoot that comes from being observant of others. In a sense, empaths have a complete communication package.
HOW EMPATHY WORKS
While there is much we don't yet understand about how empathy works, we do have some information. Everything has an energetic vibration or frequency and an empath is able to sense these vibrations and recognize even the subtlest changes undetectable to the naked eye or the five senses.
Words of expression hold an energetic pattern that originates from the speaker. They have a specific meaning particular to the speaker. Behind that expression is a power or force-field, better known as energy. For example, hate often brings about an intense feeling that immediately accompanies the word. The word hate becomes strengthened with the speaker's feeling. It is that person's feelings (energy) that are picked up by empaths, whether the words are spoken, thought or just felt without verbal or bodily expression.
EMPATHS ARE GOOD LISTENERS
Empaths are often very affectionate in personality and expression, so they are great listeners and counselors. They will find themselves helping others and often putting their own needs aside to do so. This is why we find so many empaths in careers connected with compassion, such as healers, clergy, counselors, and caregivers.
KNOWING ONESELF IS IMPORTANT
A deep sense of knowing accompanies empathy. There are also varying levels of strength in empaths. It may be related to the individual's awareness of self or their understanding of the powers of empathy. This could also be impacted by the acceptance or non-acceptance of empathy by those associated with them, including family and peers.
While compassion and understanding are good virtues, they can also be a challenge for an empath. If an empath doesn't have a teacher then it can be confusing at first to distinguish one's own feelings from those of others. This is especially true when it comes to pain and suffering, which can be emotionally or physically demanding on someone who's empathic. For this reason, empaths can become reclusive at times simply because the outside world can be a great drain on their personal energy. But, if they find teachers then an empath will understand how to take care of themselves.
Generally, those who are empathic grow up with these tendencies but do not learn about them until later in life. Empathy has both biological and spiritual aspects. Many people believe that empathy is genetic and passed from generation to generation. It is studied both by traditional science and alternative healing practitioners.
WHO ARE EMPATHS?
Empaths are often poets in motion. They are the born writers, singers, and artists with a high degree of creativity and imagination, so the artistic community is filled with them. They are known for many talents as their interests are varied, broad, and continual.
They often have interests in many cultures and view them with a broad-minded perspective. Empaths encompass all walks of life and span every culture across the globe. You can find empaths within your family, neighborhood, workplace, and the broader community. There is no single defining gender, career, personality, or any other label that we can place on empaths in general, they are everywhere and can be anyone.
These are the listeners of life. Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and studiers of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where there is a problem is there is also an answer. They will often search until they find one—if only for peace of mind.
EMPATHS ARE COMPASSIONATE SAFE HAVENS
People of all walks of life, as well as animals, are attracted to the warmth and genuine compassion of empaths. Regardless of whether others are aware that someone's empathic, people are naturally drawn to them as a metal object is to a magnet.
Even complete strangers find it easy to talk to empaths about the most personal things. Before they know it, they have poured out their hearts and souls without intending to do so consciously. It is as though on a sub-conscious level that person knows instinctively that empaths would listen with compassionate understanding.
About the Contributor:Christel Broederlow is a natural born empath and author of numerous articles about empathy through personal experience and continual research.