Empathy and Empaths
What is an Empath?
An Empath is a person who was born with unique variations in the central nervous system. This means how the brain is configured and how the nervous system works in the body. This has not yet been studied and quantified by science. Instead it is being brought forth by individuals who are becoming self-aware of these qualities and who explore this experience through creative and intuitive outlets.
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.
A high degree of overall sensitivity is the general indicator for this type of person. All of the sensory organs of an Empath have low thresholds thereby resulting in unusual sensitivity to light, smell, and sound (as well as other subtler senses). An Empath also possesses a very sensitive emotional nature that is typically difficult to self-manage. Although underlying sensitivity is the unifying factor behind all Empaths, how this sensitivity is “managed” or “funneled” varies from person to person.
However, being highly sensitive is only one part of the formula for Empaths. As a result of the interaction between an extremely sensitive neural network and the concurrent emotional nature of a person with this profile, Empaths are highly intuitive.
A better understanding of intuition leads to a better understanding of what actually constitutes an Empath. They are highly intuitive which means they tend to do things by feeling, by sensing, by reacting to proprioceptive queues, and by following “hunches, gut-feelings,” etc. This includes the way they handle critical decision making, reacting, and acting upon influences in their own lives. This process can lead to better or worse results depending upon the development of the Empath.
Traits of an Empath
Empaths are often quiet and can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes. They are highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection, and talk openly, and, at times, quite frankly in respect to themselves. They may have few problems talking about their feelings.
However, they can be the exact opposite: reclusive and apparently unresponsive at the best of times. They may even appear ignorant. Some are very good at blocking out others and that’s not always a bad thing, at least for the learning empath struggling with a barrage of emotions from others, as well as their own feelings.
Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs. In general an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker. Any area filled with disharmony creates an uncomfortable feeling in an empath. If they find themselves in the middle of a confrontation, they will endeavor to settle the situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it all together. If any harsh words are expressed in defending themselves, they will likely resent their lack of self-control, and have a preference to peacefully resolve the problem quickly.
People of all walks of life and animals are attracted to the warmth and genuine compassion of empaths. Regardless of whether others are aware of one being empathic, people are drawn to them as a metal object is to a magnet! They are like beacons of light.
Even complete strangers find it easy to talk to empaths about the most personal things, and 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.
Here are the listeners of life. Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and studiers of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where a problem is, so too is the answer. They often will search until they find one–if only for peace of mind.
Empaths are often poets in motion. They are the born writers, singers, and artists with a high degree of creativity and imagination. They are known for many talents as their interests are varied, broad and continual, loving, loyal and humorous. They often have interests in many cultures and view them with a broad-minded perspective. They are mother, father, child, friend, nurse, caregiver, teacher, doctor, sales people… to psychic, clairvoyant, healer, etc. (That is not to say that any of these categories are all empaths.) The list is extensive and really unimportant. It is more important to notice that empaths are everywhere–in every culture and throughout the world.
Empaths Are Good Listeners
Empaths are often very affectionate in personality and expression, great listeners and counselors (and not just in the professional area). They will find themselves helping others and often putting their own needs aside to do so. In the same breath, they can be much the opposite. They may be quiet, withdrawn from the outside world, loners, depressed, neurotic, life’s daydreamers, or even narcissistic.
They are most often passionate towards nature and respect its bountiful beauty. One will often find empaths enjoying the outdoors, beaches, walking, etc. Empaths may find themselves continually drawn to nature as a form of release. It is the opportune place to recapture their senses and gain a sense of peace in the hectic lives they may live. The time to get away from it all and unwind with nature becomes essential to the empath. Animals are often dear to the heart of empaths, not as a power object, but as a natural love. It is not uncommon for empaths to have more than one pet in their homes.
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 (i.e.: 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 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 individual’s 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.
Empaths are driven by their own intuitive natures. This can be for good or bad. There is no virtue implied in the term “Empath.” Empaths are driven by deep intuitive connections that are largely unconscious, as if sitting on top of a vast oil reserve in the ground and being a conduit (oil well) for this massive amount of energy. Most of what an Empath senses or “knows” cannot be verified immediately which creates a terrible psychic conflict for the person. The over abundance of real and imagined stimuli are frequently overwhelming. Sorting out the two is even more so. Imagine having vast amounts of information floating around in your head but no direct way to access it or express No way to sort it out or use it in any clearly defined way. Most of what it is cannot be proven immediately but does get proven over time.
The stress of taking in the emotions of other people, of sensing information on a continual basis, of being a “human sponge”, of being driven by deep inner forces that are not understood, all create a “torture chamber” of sorts within the average Empath. This does not have to be as melodramatic as it sounds, but please understand – it frequently is for the subject.
Many Empaths suffer from anxiety due to an overload of incoming stimuli and intuitive information. Some suffer from depression due to being overwhelmed with all the “storms” going on inside. Empaths identify with many forms of nature and frequently feel affinity towards storms. As a metaphor, storms offer an unending supply of creative insight, as well as restless and often violent inner turmoil.
It is not uncommon for an Empath to say that he or she has been diagnosed as “bipolar/manic-depressive.” Now, that does not mean that if you were diagnosed as bipolar that you are automatically an Empath – it just means there is a possibility that we are quick to put medical labels on things without fully investigating them.
The interesting questions that arise are: Are Empaths more susceptible to mental illness? OR Is the mental illness/distress the result of being an unbounded (uncontrolled) Empath? Which comes first? I have met plenty of well adjusted Empaths – yet will still find that they seek some sort of comfort somewhere, either in mild medication or counseling, something to soothe those internal storms.
The professional fields of Psychology & Psychiatry do not yet recognize these factors and continue to leave all the issues “clumped” together, undifferentiated.
An Empath is a type of “psychic”, but instead of reading the “future” or viewing remote objects, the Empath specializes in reading people. An Empath is sensitive to the visible as well as the invisible. An Empath reads body language, tone of voice, body movements, the words people choose when they speak, the words they avoid, the logic they use; and the hidden things that only an Empath can sense inside another person. A fully developed Empath reads on what could be considered a 360 degree scope of communication.
Empaths are extremely powerful people in their abilities of understanding and knowing, but are often troubled with just trying to live their lives without absorbing everybody else’s energies, emotions, and unseen messages.