“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.”
So what exactly is an Empath? According to the American Empath Association, empaths understand the mental or emotional states of others in a way that defies conventional science and psychology. Empaths have the ability to sense the feelings, thoughts, and energies of people, plants, animals, places, or objects. In addition to sensing, empaths absorb the energy of those around them. Empaths often experience stress or illness if they are bombarded by too many negative emotions. Empaths can also use their abilities to help others by imagining themselves in someone else’s situation and connecting with them on a deep level.
There are seventeen different types of empaths according to the American Empath Association. These are: Emotional, Medical or Physical, Animal or Faun, Nature or Plant, Intellectual, Precognitive or Intuitive, Geomantic or environmental, Spiritual, Claircognizant, Medium, Psychometric, Chrystal, Telepathic, Mechanical, Astral, Law Enforcement, and Molecular.
So, empaths seem to be super-sensory beings and can feel others emotions, in a sense, they see with the others eyes, listen with thew others ears, and feel with the others heart. Everything an empath experiences hits them hard. They really feel the energy of others. Empaths use their gift intuitively. They feel they can heal their loved ones, their communities, and their planet. They feel more deeply, more intensely, and more persistently than those around them.
Stephanie Gagnon describes her experience as an empath: “An empath truly feels what the other person is feeling. So if someone is constantly negative, bitter, or upset all the time, I end up feeling negative, bitter, and upset all the time. Or if someone is happy and cheerful all the time, I feel happy and cheerful too. I absorb the emotions of those I interact with. It can be wonderful, but it can also be very exhausting. And it can be incredibly confusing to determine which feelings are my own, and which ones are from someone else.”
Some famous empaths include: Jesus Christ, Teresa Caputo, Mahatma Gandhi, Jane Goodall, and Mother Teresa.
You may be an empath. Have you been labeled as too emotional, or overly sensitive? If a friend is sad, do you feel it too? Feelings easily hurt? Are you emotionally drained by crowds, then need time alone to recharge? Do you hate loud noises, smells or too much talk? You might tale your own car places so you can leave early, or you may overeat to cope with emotional stress. Yo may not want to be engulfed in an intimate relationship. Some more traits of an empath are being highly sensitive, introverted, intuitive, giving, committed, a good listener, self-sufficient, or easily overwhelmed.
While most of us have the ability to empathize, Dr. Elaine Aron, in 1991 discovered that highly sensitive individuals make up approximately 15-20% of the population. So if you have ever felt like your personality almost continually attracts those who need guidance and help in life, you may be an empath.
Some sources such as Wikipedia place empaths in the realm of science fiction, or at best parapsychology, presumably because of the connection with E.S.P., chrystals, etc.
I love to tie in the esoteric with science. In today’s world more and more things that used to be considered out there are being explained with science. Let’s look at the science behind empaths.
In an article in Psychology Today, Judith Orloff MD explains: Researchers have discovered a specialized group of brain cells that are responsible for compassion called Mirror Neurons. These allow people to feel another’s joy, fear, pain, etc. Empaths, it turns out, have hyper-responsive mirror neurons. On the other side of the coin, Psychopaths and the like have what is called empathy deficient disorder, they lack the ability to feel empathy, caused by an under-active mirror neuron system. Another finding is that, as is known, both the brain and heart generate electromagnetic fields. These fields transmit information about peoples thoughts and emotions. Empaths may be sensitive to this input. Another example is called Emotional Contagion, i.e. picking up the emotions of others, as we’ve already seen. Examples of emotional contagion: Someone in the workplace in a bad mood, thus spreading the bad mood to other workers, or a baby crying in a hospital setting off a wave of crying. It has also been found that empaths are more sensitive to dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter. . Another finding is a condition called Mirror Touch Synesthesia, a condition where two senses are paired in the brain. For example, you can taste words or see colors for music, both documented conditions. This is what allows empaths to feel the emotions of others in their own bodies.
With all these findings, it looks like there may be a solid case for empaths. In any event, we can all try to be a bit more empathic. As the Dalai Lama says: “Empathy is the most precious human quality.”
May you always be
Safe and Comfortable.