The word empathy is replete with variations — different levels of definition that cover a rather broad spectrum. Though the dictionary defines empathy as a, “vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another” it can mean everything from “I understand” or “I feel for that person,” to “Your mood is catching” or “I am taking on your emotional state in my physical being.”
Empathy: Our Humanity
Having empathy is an important part of our humanity, some of the most dangerous people on the planet (psychopaths) are those who are unable to empathize with another human being. Empathy comes in varying degrees, all leading up to the ultimate saturation of empathy — the Empath. But what does it mean to be an Empath, aren’t we all empathic in some way, did I miss this subject in school?!
What is an Empath?
The majority of people can gauge how someone close to them is feeling without the exchange of words but they will not take on their energy and emotions, as if they were their own. This is not true of Empaths.
Empathic people feel the emotions of others and their energy, as if it were their own. If they are not aware of their ability and have not honed the skills necessary to ground and protect themselves, their empathic skills can, often, leave them feeling emotionally drained and even ill, from taking on the emotions of others.
Being An Empath: Tara’s Story
My spectrum of dis-abilities, from early childhood (since I didn’t have any tools for managing, or even naming, this ability yet, I viewed it as a dis) included:
- Feeling other people’s emotions
- Hearing people saying one thing and feeling something totally different
- Feeling others’ suppressed emotions, even if they were not aware of them
- Feeling other people’s pain (plants and critters, as well) in my body
- Knowing if a loved one was in distress, no matter how far away they were, in the form of a feeling or a vision.
Energy has No Boundaries
It took me a couple decades or so to figure out that I was empathic. I found it was painful for me to be around large groups of people, especially if they were really worked up, like a angry mob or a car accident. This kind of emotion (low vibration energy) felt paralyzing to my system and I would often avoid group activities because of this.
One of the many examples I remember like this, happened in grade school. I was involved in track and field and was drawn to the solitary field part (surprise, surprise) and found I was pretty good at the high jump. Competing against a girl from another school for highest jump in the region, I was the top scorer. Then they introduced me to her at a meet. She was very competitive and if emotional vibrations could kill (well, let’s just say, I wouldn’t be here to talk about it all today!)
I could feel my competitor’s dislike for me in a big way. I still remember how awful it felt. To top things off, I added to her focus on me by being the only one who went over the bar the front way instead of the traditional back way. It was horrible. Thankfully, I lost the title that day and hid comfortably under the radar all through the rest of high school, avoiding nearly all activities.
You of course, do not want to avoid life this way and thankfully, empaths are out of the closet these days, (she says tongue-in-cheek.) If you suspect you are an empath, you probably are. There is now an abundance of great information and tools available to us about this ability. More than was available when I was growing up.
One simple way to figure out if you have this magnified empathic ability is to take a test. There are many of different variations of the test out there, but the link that I am including is the best that I’ve found. It takes just moments to complete and score and even arms you with some helpful tips, tailored to that score and abilities.
Take the Empath Test here.
In the next blog, we’ll explore Immune Boosting for the Empath, and give you all the tips and tricks to be your awesome and powerful, freaky self, without getting bogged down by other people’s icky energy.
- At a glance: 30 traits of an empath (theknowing1.wordpress.com)
- Are You Empathic? 3 Types of Empathy and What They Mean (psychologytoday.com)