The word empath has been thrown around a lot lately and I would like to demystify what being an empath truly is and then dive into the greatest symbiotic gift to the empath: discernment.
There is a marked difference between being empathetic and being an empath, the difference being:
One can learn empathy but one is born an empath.
Empathy is simply a cousin to sympathy, with sympathy being the surface level of empathy. Sympathy says, “I’m sorry for your loss,” and moves on with their day. Empathy says, “I’m grieving with you,” and may be there for a moment to help the person. An empath sits in silence, mourning with and for you, feeling your pain, wishing they could make everything better.
If you are an empath, you have the ability to not only understand what someone is going through but you literally feel the emotion as if it is happening to you. The good news is you can hone it and grow it. Unfortunately, some people do not know they have this gift or are even aware that it exists but instead get labeled as sensitive, weird, deep, or “too real”. Empaths can sense feelings without someone telling them how they’re feeling. These emotions are often overwhelming and confusing when you're unaware of your gift.
For example, just two days ago in the middle of the day I had a sinking feeling. I felt something was wrong and knew there was absolutely nothing wrong in my life that would cause these feelings. So, I turned to my intuition and asked who needed help and my mind was directed toward friend of mine. When I reached out to them, sure enough, they were going through a hard time that day.
There are countless examples of when my empath self was being communicated with, without me knowing what to call it or how to deal with it.
As a teen, before I knew I had this extrasensory perception, I would take others’ pain on as if it were my own and wanted so desperately to fix their situation. This caused a lot of undue strife but as an adult I can see how this gift is useful.
Being empathic means you are in tune with and aware of other people’s energies on a much deeper level than most. This can be difficult and it can be useful. You are often misunderstood and people don’t, sometimes can’t, return the intensity of understanding you offer them. However, it can be useful because you have the power to help people in ways others don’t. The empath can see through surface levels of others and help the person overcome their obstacles by leading the person to their personal truths. Many empaths go into healing as a profession for this reason; for example, many therapists are empaths.
In other areas, being an empath can be dangerous. Empaths attract narcissists like no other. Narcissists are people who are not only narcissistic in that they are full of themselves, they are so obsessed with their issues that they cannot see the world from any other view point. They are the opposite of an empath. The empath typically wants to help this personality type but they will likely end up getting hurt in the end in one way or another because the narcissist cannot help but push people away and sometimes be abusive (verbally, emotionally, physically, etc.). If nothing else, the narcissist is not emotionally available which is an absolute need in an empath’s relationship.
This is where the gift of discernment dovetails nicely with the empath’s abilities. First, if you are an empath, you may want to research more and do some introspective work about your own patterns and mental health. Second, when you become healthy-minded and strong in your own boundaries and expectations, use discernment to move forward in your relationships. The reason I point this out is because once I developed my discernment, I was able to see through a lot of those who are narcissists and I stopped attracting them.
Because the empath is sponge-like around energy, who they surround themselves with is critical to their overall health. This is why I recommend taking a year to learn more about yourself and what you want, then slowly rebuild your relationships with new intentions; however, that is not an accessible option for everyone. For those of you who can’t take this social hiatus, begin with building discernment in your new relationships (friendships, romantic relationships, colleagues, etc.).
How do you grow discernment?
Grow your intuition. Every time you meet someone, ask yourself, “how do I feel? What is this person’s intentions? Is this person after our joined greatest good?” etc. You may or may not receive an answer immediately, but by asking yourself these questions, your mind, body, and spirit are now working to come up with an answer. Also by asking yourself these questions, you can become more aware of red flags. Trust me, your intuition knows EVERYTHING.
You can also grow your intuition through meditation, journaling, praying, and most importantly, turning internally instead of externally when you need answers to your questions in life.
If you want to know how I deal with being an empath in a very chaotic world, please message me.