Empaths: Coping With Sensitivity and Empathic Gifts
Last updated on April 26, 2011 at 12:00 am EDT by in5d Alternative News
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Empathy is the ability to 'read' and understand people and be in-tune with or resonate with others, voluntarily or involuntarily of one's empath capacity. Empathy often works alongside with telepathy, and this mutually enhances the strength of these abilities.
Empaths have the ability to scan another's psyche for thoughts and feelings or for past, present, and future life occurrences. Many empaths are unaware of how this actually works, and have long accepted that they were “sensitive” to others.
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. It’s as though the empath truly understands, and, in many cases, they do through personal “firsthand” experience.
Empaths experience empathy towards family, children, friends, close associates, complete strangers, pets, plants and inanimate objects. Thus, an empath can feel the emotions of people and things at a distance. Some are empathic towards animals (the “Horse Whisperer”), to nature, to the planetary system, to mechanical devices or to buildings. Others will have a combination of the above.
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. Everyone has this natural ability; however, many never choose to utilize their ability and/or are completely unaware of their empathic ability.
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.
Empathy is genetic, inherent in our DNA, and passed from generation to generation. It is studied both by traditional science and alternative healing practitioners.
Empathy has both biological/genetic and spiritual aspects. Many will claim that empathy and telepathy are strictly of a “spiritual nature”. This is an injustice; just as it is an injustice to focus only on the physical nature of empathy. For indeed, empathy has very physical, mental and spiritual implications and attributes.
It is not unusual for empaths to have experienced many things in their lives. Often many of their life experiences could be considered rather extreme, adventurous, or daring, allowing empaths to be open and receptive to much more. Whereas some people’s lives may be considered rather “soft or easy” and even enviable, that of an empath is often more than just challenging, with many a major roller coaster ride thrown in here and there!
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.
While there is much we don’t yet understand about how empathy works, we do have some information. Everything has an energetic vibration or frequency and an empath is able to sense these vibrations and recognize even the subtlest changes undetectable to the naked eye or the five senses.
Words of expression hold an energetic pattern that originates from the speaker. They have a specific meaning particular to the speaker. Behind that expression is a power better known as “energy”. For example, hate often brings about an intense feeling that immediately accompanies the word. The word “hate” becomes strengthened with the speaker’s feeling. It is that person’s feelings (energy) that are picked up by empaths, whether the words are spoken, thought or just felt without verbal or bodily expression.
Empaths are creative in many aspects.. Poets, 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. 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.
One of the most obvious places for empathic connection is within the parent/child/family bonds. Mothers show recognizable signs of empathy in the early days of conception and this rapidly increases after birth. Children are often mirroring the feelings and thoughts of their parents and siblings because they are empathically “in tune” with them and exposed to them on a daily basis. It is wonderful for children to grow up with parents in awareness of empathy for the children are less likely to suppress their abilities and accept their natural talents.
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. It is not uncommon for empaths to have more than one pet in their homes. They can be veterinarians and animal caretakers.
Empaths make great friends for life, but are crushed if the friendship is abused. Over time, they will become far more selective. Though they may have a large circle of friends, they generally only have a few “close” ones.
Empaths are often quiet achievers. They 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. They may have few problems talking about their feelings if another cares to listen (regardless of how much they listen to others).
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.
Empaths are more inclined to pick up another’s feelings and project it back without realizing its origin in the first place. Talking things out is a major factor in releasing emotions in the learning empath. Empaths can develop an even stronger degree of understanding so that they can find peace in most situations. The downside is that empaths may bottle up emotions and build barriers sky-high so as to not let others know of their innermost thoughts and/or feelings. This withholding of emotional expression can be a direct result of a traumatic experience, an expressionless upbringing, or simply being told as a child, "Children are meant to be seen and not heard!"
Without a doubt, this emotional withholding can be detrimental to one’s health, for the longer one’s thoughts and/or emotions aren't released, the more power they build. The thoughts and/or emotions can eventually becoming explosive, if not crippling. The need to express oneself honestly is a form of healing and a choice open to all. To not do so can result in a breakdown of the person and result in mental/emotional instability or the creation of a physical ailment, illness or disease.
Empaths are sensitive to TV, videos, movies, news and broadcasts. Violence or emotional dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain inflicted on adults, children or animals can bring an empath easily to tears. At times, they may feel physically ill or choke back the tears. Some empaths will struggle to comprehend any such cruelty, and may have grave difficulty in expressing themselves in the face of another’s ignorance, closed-mindedness and obvious lack of compassion. They simply cannot justify the suffering they feel and see.
You will find empaths working with people, animals or nature with a true passion and dedication to help them. They are often tireless teachers and/or caretakers for our environment and all within it. Many volunteers are empathic and give up personal time to help others without pay and/or recognition.
Empaths may be excellent storytellers due to an endless imagination, inquisitive minds and ever-expanding knowledge. They can be old romantics at heart and very gentle. They may also be the “keepers” of ancestral knowledge and family history. If not the obvious family historians, they may be the ones who listen to the stories passed down and possess the majority of the family history. Not surprisingly, they may have started or possess a family tree.
They have a broad interest in music to suit their many expressive temperaments, and others can query how empaths can listen to one style of music, and within minutes, change to something entirely different. Lyrics within a song can have adverse, powerful effects on empaths, especially if it is relevant to a recent experience. In these moments, it is advisable for empaths to listen to music without lyrics, to avoid playing havoc with their emotions!
They are just as expressive with body language as with words, thoughts, and feelings. Their creativity is often expressed through dance, acting, and bodily movements. Empaths can project an incredible amount of energy portraying and/or releasing emotion. Empaths can become lost in the music, to the point of being in a trance-like state; they become one with the music through the expression of their physical bodies. They describe this feeling as a time when all else around them is almost non-existent.
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!
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. Then again, for empaths, it is always nice to actually be heard themselves!
Here are the listeners of life. They can be outgoing, bubbly, enthusiastic and a joy to be in the presence of, as well as highly humorous at the most unusual moments! On the flip side, empaths can be weighted with mood swings that will have others around them want to jump overboard and abandon ship! The thoughts and feelings empaths receive from any and all in their life can be so overwhelming (if not understood) that their moods can fluctuate with lightning speed. One moment they may be delightfully happy and with a flick of the switch, miserable.
Abandoning an empath in the throes of alternating moods can create detrimental effects. A simple return of empathic love--listening and caring compassionately without bias, judgment and/or condemnation--can go an incredibly long way to an empath's instant recovery. Many empaths don't understand what is occurring within them. They literally have no idea that another person’s emotions are now felt, as one’s own and reflected outwardly. They are confused as to how one moment all was well, and then the next, they feel so depressed, alone, etc. The need to understand the possibilities of empath connection is a vital part of the empaths journey for themselves and for those around them.
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. This can certainly prove beneficial for others in their relationships, in the workplace, or on the home front. Where there is a will, there is a way and the empath will find it. The empath can literally (likely without the knowledge of what’s actually occurring) tap into Universal Knowledge and be receptive to guidance in solving anything they put their head and hearts into.
Empaths often are vivid and/or lucid dreamers. They can dream in detail and are inquisitive of dream content. Often they feel as though the dreams are linked to their physical life somehow, and not just a mumble of nonsensical, irrelevant, meaningless images. This curiosity will lead many empathic dreamers to unravel some of the “mysterious” dream contents from an early age and connect the interpretation to its relevance in their physical life. If not, they may be led to dream interpretations through other means.
Empaths are daydreamers with difficulty keeping focused on the mundane. If life isn't stimulating, off an empath will go into a detached state of mind. They will go somewhere, anywhere, in a thought that appears detached from the physical reality, yet is alive and active for they really are off and away. If a tutor is lecturing with little to no emotional input, empaths will not be receptive to such teaching and can (unintentionally) drift into a state of daydreaming.
Give the empath student the tutor who speaks with stimuli and emotion (through actual experience of any given subject) and the empath is receptively alert. Empaths are a captivated audience. This same principle applies in acting. An actor will either captivate the audience through expressing (in all aspects) emotions (as though they really did experience the role they are portraying) or will loose them entirely. Empaths make outstanding actors.
Empaths frequently experience déjà vu and synchronicities. What may initially start as, "Oh, what a coincidence", will lead to the understanding of synchronicities as an aspect of who they are. These synchronicities will become a welcomed and continually expanding occurrence. As an understanding of self grows, the synchronicities become more fluent and free flowing. The synchronicities can promote a feeling of euphoria as empaths identify with them and appreciate the connection to their empathic nature.
Empaths are most likely to have had varying paranormal experiences throughout their lives. NDE's (Near death experiences) and or OBE's (Out of body experiences) can catapult an unaware empath into the awakening period and provide the momentum for a journey of discovery. Those who get caught up in life, in society’s often dictating ways, in work etc., can become lost in a mechanical way of living that provides very little meaning. All “signs of guidance” are ignored to shift out of this state of “doing”. A path to being whole again becomes evident and a search for more meaning in one’s life begins.
These types of experiences appear dramatic, can be life-altering indeed, and are most assuredly just as intensely memorable in years to come. They are the voice of guidance encouraging us to pursue our journey in awareness. Sometimes, some of us require that extra assistance!
For some empaths, the lack of outside understanding towards paranormal events they experience, may lead to suppressing such abilities. (Most of these abilities are very natural and not a coincidence.) Empaths may unknowingly adopt the positive or negative attitude of others as their own. (This, however, can be overcome.) Empaths may need to follow interests in the paranormal and the unexplained with curiosity so as to explain and accept their life circumstances.
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