Empathy & empath

Even as a child, whenever I saw anyone struggle it was easy for me to empathise and understand how they might feel because of what I had to deal with.

What is empathy & what is an empath?

There is a distinct difference between someone who has empathy and someone who is an empath. Empathy is when we have the ability to read and understand how other people feel so that we’re in tune and can resonate with them.

An empath is highly sensitive to what other people feel, so they absorb the emotions of others and can relate to people, by sensing true feelings that run deeper than those portrayed on the surface.

An empath can sense and uncover the truth and will act in such a compassionate way to help that person express him or herself, making that person feel at ease with what they have to deal with.

By nature, empaths are compassionate, understanding and considerate of other people’s needs. As a child, I was aware I had the ability to be an empath, but given my own negative childhood, it wasn’t something I managed, primarily because I was in too much emotional pain.

Being an empath is genetic and is passed on from generation to generation. Most of us with the ability to read other people’s thoughts are unaware of how this works, but empaths have long accepted that they are sensitive to how other people feel.

We must learn how to deal with being an empath. But even if we’re not empaths, we can all use empathy towards others.

6 Sep, 2014

6 thoughts on “Empathy & empath

  1. I don’t see myself as an empath; but I definitely am empathetic towards others. I think that is why I was so good at my job as a nurse.

    I could empathize with others especially the ill and hurting and I could especially empathise with the parents of the children I took care of. I also see being an empath or having empathy as a gift.

    Not everyone can do it as you have pointed out. As A child I was empathic also. Seeing others hurting sometimes made me cry. That was the only way I knew how to express myself at that time.

    1. Thanks Lisa. How lovely. It’s lovely when we can and are able to empathise with people and what they deal with.

      With empathy there will be certain situations where we can empathise, as you have done quite successfully through your job, but in our personal lives it’s not something that we have to do all the time. It’s as and when situations arise where we feel we can empathise.

      Being an empath it seems you’re on call 24/7. It becomes part of you. It’s something you deal with every day and that makes it hard, particularly when you feel what other people feel. That part can be difficult at times, when all you want to do is rest.

  2. Empath sounds synonymous to some form of mental telepathy; the ability to sense peoples thoughts, feelings and desires. You described a higher level of consciousness which I find fascinating and legitimate. This topic is profound and worthy of further conversation.

    I’ve been an empathic observer of people’s feelings as far back as I can remember. As a child, I was keenly aware of other peoples feelings and I openly expressed my heart for those feelings in many cases.

    To this very day I do not understand why some people are so cold and heartless, I cringe when I see that.

    1. Thanks Tim. I have seen that too. In a different world I believe more people would be empathetic towards other.

      Some of us are taught by our parents, some of us aren’t; we may be self-taught. Some of us will unfortunately carry far too much baggage to even contemplate this kind of life. I believe though, that when we struggle; when we cope less than… we become bitter about our lives. It would therefore be easy to see and understand why people would show both of the character traits you describe.

      We’re born equal, we just don’t end up equal. It’s what happens along the way that changes how we perceive and how we live our lives. I believe underneath all the exterior character traits, we all have the capacity to love, be loved and show empathy towards others.

  3. Yes, there is a difference between empathy and being an empath. I didn’t really know what to call it until I watched “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and they had a character who was an empath.

    She could read the emotions that they were putting off good or bad. It’s no wonder I was such a sickly child considering the environments I grew up in and the people we were forced to associate with!

    We never really had a chance to deal with things like this and my parents wouldn’t have believed me. I also knew that other people wouldn’t believe it so I never really told anyone about it. They tend to put you in a locked ward when you mention things like this!

    It does make it so hard to deal with people when you don’t really have others to talk to about it. I can understand so well what you’re talking about. My life was hard enough with the deficits I already had on top of dealing with this.

    People seem to associate being an empath with mind reading which thankfully isn’t the case! (No,thanks,the emotions are already enough to make me physically ill!) I could go on, but that’s for another conversation and just wanted to let you know you’re definitely not alone.

    Thanks for having the courage to share such a personal thing!

    1. Thanks Randy. Like you I don’t know any difference, but in a way being an empath helps me understand my life and other people’s life better, because I can tap into their emotions.

      Although it’s much harder to have to deal with it all the time, in the longer term (for me anyway) it seems easier, because I have a greater understanding.

      I think being left in the dark about things can make communication with others and interpretation difficult because of their lack of interest and understanding in what we have to deal with, so I’m glad I have it because it makes my world and life easier. I can’t speak for anyone else.

      I do agree with you though that when you and I were growing up, this would have been frowned upon in many ways. It’s good that we can now live our lives, without it being frowned upon in the same way.

      Times move on and so do people’s understanding. That has to be a good thing.

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