Posted by: Lea | June 30, 2008

What Is Empathy?

What is Empathy?

First let me say what empathy isn’t. It isn’t feelings of compassion, pity or sympathy, though you might feel these as well.

Empaths have the ability to sense, identify, directly feels and experiences the emotions of others. To be empathic is to be somewhat of a mirror of the other person’s emotional state because empaths experience these feelings as their own. The simplest way to explain it is to compare it to being able to literally put yourself in the other person’s place.

To be comfortable with empathy, you need to be able to identify which are your feelings and which feelings are from people around you. Some people complain that being empathic causes them pain and creates chaos in their lives. This can easily happen if you’re frequently surrounded by people who are emotional or in turmoil and you’re not able to separate which are your feelings and which belong to the other person.

How to Manage Empathy

Be aware of your feelings at any given moment of the day. When you’re around people and you become conscious of feelings that are different than what you felt earlier, pay attention. That could mean you are being affected by the emotional energy coming from someone else. Those who are empathic need to be especially careful whenever around anyone who is upset, angry, grieving or in some kind of pain. Feeling the emotional pain of another person isn’t a pleasant experience.

Though you might want to help them resolve whatever is causing their distress, it’s important to remember that unless you are a physician, therapist or energy healer, the best an average empathic can do is listen and let the person know you care. Don’t under estimate how much that can mean to someone who is hurting.

The key is to realize that having empathy doesn’t mean that you’re required to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders or that its up to you to cure all the worlds ills. Many physicians are empathic, and though they can heal many people, they also know they are unable to heal everyone.

Having empathy can be difficult if you’re not aware that you are hypersensitive to other peoples energy. The positive aspect is that you are truly able to understand what another is feeling, which enhances closeness in relationships.

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Responses

  1. This explains allot to me. I am always able to tell what someone else is feeling. I am lucky that I can separate myself from their feelings so I can listen to whatever it is that is bothering them. I try not to give them advice but just listen and give them love and support. I t always seems to help them. Thank you for sharing this.

    Love and Blessings,
    AngelBaby

  2. Hi AngelBaby

    Its nice to see you! Sounds like you intuitively know how to use your ability. I agree that giving love, comfort and support is the most beneficial to someone who is hurting. Advice or opinions can be unwanted, which will only make things worse for the other person. Many blessings 😀

  3. Very excellent post, clearly presented. I learn a lot from this article. Thanks for the informative post. God bless.

  4. Hi Mel

    Welcome to Ocean Of Perspectives Mel and thank you for your lovely comment. I appreciate your letting me know I helped in some way. Many blessings 😀

  5. Hi Lea,
    I have always worked in people businesses like cosmetology, waitressing and tending bar and sense I am empathetic I had a huge problem because there were just too many needy people around and I always felt drained. I am now working from home and much happier.

  6. Hi Jude

    Nice to see you again Jude. Yes, one of the difficulties of empathy is your energy being siphoned off by needy people, unless you learn to protect yourself against that happening. That is why many empathic’s do withdraw to spend time by themselves. I do that daily and I’ve had to tell my daughter to do that too as she is young and gets so overwhelmed, especially if her classmates emotions are negative. God’s blessings 😀

  7. Thank You for this site. I too worked on a job where I encountered many needed people. Being empathic, I listened to every personal problem and sometimes went so far as to try to fix it. After several years, it began to wear me down both physically and mentally. Having empathy for others drained me.
    If they lost a family member, I felt their pain so strongly that I would have to leave work. If someone was negative, I felt it immediately.
    I have made a conscious decision to stay to myself as much as possible. It has just been recently that I learned to listen and be there for them but keep their problematic lives separate from my own.

  8. Hi MckayeK

    Thank you for coming by and sharing your experiences. I’m so glad you found a balance and are now better able to cope with people and their problems. As much as we care and would like to help, taking responsibility of another persons problems doesn’t really help them or us. Life’s obstacles are our teachers. If we take charge of another person’s problems, they will have lost the opportunity to learn and grow. Which means they will most likely have to face those circumstances again. Many blessings 😀


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