The Gift and Wisdom of Empathy

Imagine sitting in a crowded room where each person is humming a different tune and they all beg for your undivided attention. Walk down a street, and every passerby will engulf you in their happiness and anger; attend a wedding or a funeral, and waves of joy or grief will roll over you from beginning to end. This is life as an empath: the boundaries between you and others are so loose that you feel whatever they feel—and it will all be quite personal.

Empaths who are exposed to the emotions of others often struggle to distinguish what belongs to them from what does not. Is this grief yours, or did you absorb it from somebody else? Are you really so fearful, or did you just pick up this vibe from a stranger? The result of this bombardment is often exhaustion and an aversion to crowds that less sensitive people find hard to understand.

“Create a bubble of light around yourself,” empaths are often told, “and you will be alright!”  If only it were that easy! Bubbles and shields do work quite well, but only for as long as your focus persists. Let your guard down, and other people’s emotions will roll back in. Crystals are also popular remedies; however, their effects are subtle at best.

So, is empathy really the “gift” that many praise? Empathy is, in the first place, a service to others: as an empath, you relieve them of their burdens by sharing their feelings. There is much to be gained, however, from being an empath.

Just like the chaotic emotions of crowds may bring empaths down very quickly, love and joy can nurture and uplift them. Spend some time in a park or on a beach connecting to the serenity and the pleasures of people relaxing, and you will feel more rejuvenated than anyone around you. Tune into a mother’s love for her child, and you will experience the love of the Universe. If used judiciously, empathy can help you gauge the well-being of people in your life, be they near or far; it will also help you detect the truthful emotions of others, regardless of their words.

Ultimately, empathy is an experiential reminder of the oneness of all that is. The boundaries that separate individuals are an illusion—but only empaths can vouch for that. Learn to manage the challenges of empathy, and its wisdom will be a gift in its own right.

If you are an overwhelmed empath, this book may be a good resource:

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Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

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