Have you been seeing the term “empath” everywhere and you are wondering what an empath is? Do they have special abilities? Are they spiritually gifted? What is the difference between showing empathy and being an empath?
Well, in order to answer these questions, we need to keep in mind that we all have the ability to sense emotions, we are all emotional and spiritual beings. However, living in a fast-paced and chaotic world, most of us have forgotten or put aside our own abilities and sensitiveness. Due to our lifestyle and external environments, we tend to, at some point in our lives, disconnect from ourselves and from others.
Empaths though, seem to never lose touch with their capacities and innate sensitivity. They always look like finely tuned instruments when it comes to sensing emotions.
They are highly perceptive, receptive and sensitive. An empath is highly aware of the emotions of those around them, to the point of experiencing those emotions themselves. They can feel everything, sometimes to an extreme of feeling someone’s physical pain too.
What is the difference between showing empathy and being an empath?
An empath is not just someone who shows empathy, compassion or empathic concern. This is cognitive empathy. Empaths are empathetic, and so much more. They are actually able to see themselves in someone else’s situation and feel what they are feeling. They absorb positive and negative energy, as well as physical symptoms. Empaths can take the pain of others at their own expense. An empath has the ability to literally embody what is going on with other people, and the energy around them. But it’s not just emotions, they can often sense someone’s intentions or where they’re coming from. Many people hide their authentic feelings and put on a show for the outside world but an empath can often sense a person’s true emotions. In other words, empaths seem to pick up on many things that most people wouldn’t. They are great “lie detectors”.
How does an empath work?
So, we already know that empaths are highly sensitive individuals, who have a keen ability to sense what people around them are thinking and feeling. But how can they do that? What’s different about them?
While there is much we don’t yet understand how empathy works, we know that everything has an energetic vibration or frequency and an empath is able to sense these vibrations.
One possible scientific explanation for this is their energetic receptors which are more open and vulnerable than others. We all have a set of neurons in our brains that create a neuro-physical link between us and other people. These neurons fire up whenever we witness something that another person feels or experiences. They are called mirror neurons. For instance, when we are young, they help us to learn through imitation.
Common problems faced by empaths
Because empaths quite literally feel what others are going through, they are prone to experiencing energetic overload and can become overwhelmed by painful emotions, such as anxiety or anger. They can become “energy-sucking sponges” which can lead to a lot of physical and psychological disorders such as depression and chronic fatigue.
As they can take on the problems of others as their own, negativity often feels assaultive and exhausting.
Crowds can feel particularly overwhelming to empaths and cause them to feel drained. Some social interactions can actually trigger panic attacks as it’s not easy for them to intellectualize their feelings.
Romantic relationships can be a challenge too as not everyone is able to understand highly sensitive people and an empath’s need for space sometimes. Empaths are usually introverts, and they require a certain amount of alone time in order to recharge. Empaths often feel their best when they are surrounded by nature, which helps them to ground themselves.
Unfortunately, empaths are also easy targets for emotional vampires who can easily drain their energy. It is often difficult for them to set boundaries for themselves and say no to others, even when too much is being required from them.
Benefits of being an empath
There are many benefits of being an empath. However, empaths must learn that their sensitivity is a gift, something to embrace instead of shutting down. As empaths see the world differently than other people, they’re keenly aware of others, their pain points, and what they need emotionally. This makes them excellent friends. They are really good listeners too. They are always ready to help a friend in times of need.
Empaths are naturally giving and generous people. They also tend to be highly intuitive and emotionally intelligent. They can recognize even the subtlest changes that are undetectable to the naked eye or the five senses for most people.
Empaths have a big heart and will act compassionately to help others. They experience empathy not only towards family and friends but also complete strangers, pets, plants, and even inanimate objects. When around positive and love energies, their bodies assimilate these and flourish. They have a beautiful capacity for absorbing positive emotions. The more aware they are of their abilities, the more they use their empathy to share their light with the world.
Different types of empaths
In a world full of fear, greed, cruelty, egotism, and pain, empaths play extremely important roles. The ability to care deeply for others is something that our Planet really needs.
There are many different types of empaths. Their gifts can close gaps between humans and open gates to love and kindness.
Some empaths have the ability to perceive what is happening to other people, animals, plants, the environment, and more. You might know someone who is naturally more empathic towards animals or someone who is more empathic towards nature.
Others would be drawn to the planetary system, to mechanical devices, to buildings, or to any variety of beings or things.
There are actually empaths who will have a combination of some or all of these traits.
Recognizing that you’re an empath is the first step in taking charge of your emotions instead of drowning in them. So, if you are one, honour this experience for the great gifts and opportunities it offers you!