If you Google “being an empath” you’ll see a never-ending listing of “you’re an empath if…” Many lists contain personality traits such as too sensitive, cannot deal with crowds, being an introvert, loves animals or nature more than people, etc. These are responses to what the person has learned over the years and personal behavior in those situations. Everybody does this to some degree and as we grow, we learn about the choices we can engage to reach our desired outcomes.
Lists also include “super powers” of the empath, such as being a “higher vibration” than others, or the way others “react” to your super power, or even more terribly stated, you irritate “toxic” people with your presence. Sounds kinda narcissistic, doesn’t it?
We as humans are socially driven because we are connected to every one and every thing that is expressed through feelings and emotions. So in a society where everyone is connected, it’s not about you…it’s about us.
Empathy is not about what we are, but what we have…the ability to understand and share the feelings/emotions of others. This is a two-step understanding, where the first is the ability to perceive the emotional/mental vibes of others; and the second is the sharing of those vibes in oneself. This can also be learned, as a way to deal with situations or environments. A learned empath is one who is engaged with the mental/emotional state of others and develops a sort-of survival response.
Perception is the brain’s way to detect its environment…to receive and reflect information from people, places, and things. This is insight. The ability to perceive and mirror mental, emotional, and physical actions of others is in our DNA, and has proven useful when learning and expanding our selves and our society. We can perceive spiritually as well…in that this ability to see and feel others in ourselves is in a sense, a display of universal Oneness.
Sharing comes into play when we intend and act with that information expressed through our own bodies and relate in a way that is caring and compassionate to others.
Today, especially in the New Age arena, the need to identify with traits of a group has turned the naturalness of empathy into a “gift” or crown worn by a chosen few. Enshrining empathy traits or the do’s and don’ts of being empathic may have gone too far down a rabbit hole of being.
Not only have we separated ourselves away from oneness which is the universal core belief of most if not all spiritual and religious precepts, we have applied a risk to that separation. Embracing empathic traits without the responsibility of response and forward movement is a one-sided position to take on. We all mature in the way we handle our emotions and mental understanding and develop coping skills and appropriate responses for the betterment of ourselves and the community. This responsibility is paramount with respect to the degree of the empathic ability and engagement. In other words, the more one feels from people, places, and things, the more one must manage the response.
To sense a vibe from another may give you a “heads-up” on that person’s day. An empathic response of compassion may be a nice gesture or smile, or conversation of caring.
But to sense a vibe from another and allow the body to overwhelm the mind makes us a victim of our emotions. This then requires a stronger awareness of the situation, putting mind back in control with a thoughtful and purposeful response to avoid the overload. So it’s not about feeling the feeling, it’s about the management of its response, cultivating the power of mind-body for insight and compassion.
That's the super power...insight and compassion. If we are truly on the road to a Oneness state of humanity, we need to go beyond the assignment of a definition. We need to get past emotional reactions and engage in the responsibility of our natural connection.