“Nothing is more important than empathy for another human being’s suffering. Not career, not wealth, not intelligence. Certainly not status. We have to feel for one another if we’re going to survive with dignity.” ~ Audrey Hepburn
There are quite a few articles out in the blogging world over the last couple of years on empathy. So many individuals claim to be empaths and we may be inclined to think at least some folks genuinely exhibit the traits associated with empathy. However, many are not empaths. Someone who says “ I empathize” should also be at least thinking “I understand” and “I know and feel”.
Empathy is not a sentiment. And how do we truly ever understand unless we have gone through the same as another? Can we sincerely fathom the roiling depths of anguish, the exalting heights of ecstasy and everything in-between in one another? I believe we can!
We may feel energy tangibly from others and even hear the desolate cries of Gaia herself, but in order to truly understand something, it requires wisdom. Wisdom primarily comes with experience. It too, is not a sentiment.
Confusing “sympathy” “with empathy” is not a good idea. Sympathy does not require one to put themselves into another’s set of circumstances or to experience the same as the person in question. Sympathy is more of a sentiment whereas empathy is a feeling and often, the result of a direct experience. It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so very deeply.
If sympathy is your personal interpretation of empathy, you may want to ask yourself this question “What are you actually doing with your sentiments?” If you are not using your potential to help others, then you may well be an empath, but you are not truly being empathetic in action. We need more people to stand up and take action!
Many may feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of emotion and energy from others to the point of even withdrawing. I have done this enough times in my own life, but made a promise that I would help others and that cannot be done as a recluse. Many highly sensitive people react that way. As one of these HSP’s, (highly sensitive people) I myself am no stranger to being protective of my own energy. But, these days I present an alternative.
Within the intersection of empathy and wisdom theoretically resides a slightly different concept by which it’s measurement is based not only on an unseen element, but also one that can be referenced by experience. It is called “True Empathy”.
True Empathy is a direct experience and it is not one that is merely based on feeling or “picking up on” the emotions of others although it does include this.
THAT my friends is what I call “True Empathy”.
It goes deeper and has more Truth in it than our perceptions alone. We not only feel what others do, but we have experienced what others have within our own lives.
True Empathy can only truly come to us through deep resonances within the core of our being in response to other’s situations and experiences. Those that have empathy are urged to bond with those they empathize with. Like it or not, we form connections with others through empathy. Empaths are keenly aware of the invisible energies that tie us all together. Ripples in that energy are felt sometimes tangibly and some empaths can even “see” the areas of both joy and hurt in others.
A vast majority of people cannot comprehend the vast range of emotions and depths of experiences of others unless they have experienced the same themselves. The strongest empaths are often ones who have gone through that which another is experiencing themselves as well as being able to feel aka “pick up on” their emotions and energy, feeling these as if they were their own. It is both a gift and a burden.
It is a gift to be able to sense and bond with others in order to help them. But, it is also a burden for all the painful experiences to continually wash through us when we encounter others of the same persuasions.
Making the decision to become more open in order to facilitate others’ healing was not a decision entered into lightly at all. I spent a few years in cautious deliberation knowing the possibly of becoming overwhelmed again was an imminent threat. In fact I literally started writing this article months ago, only to take a pause to determine whether I really wanted to present my personal vulnerabilities to the world or not. I decided to do so if for no other reason than to help others to feel inspired and not alone. There are so many amongst us in the masses that feel alone or awkward, cast out from the rest of the mainstream due to being so very sensitive with certain abilities.
I myself am an empath. I have felt the pains of others in my body as well as their ecstasy quite literally and it has taken many years and consistent spiritual practices to be able to definitively sort out what is mine and what is not. Now I can make conscious decisions as to whether to pursue the incoming and heal another person. If I am low-ebb, I refrain until energy centers are humming along in balance before reaching out and even when I really have my mojo going, I am somewhat discerning. We can’t heal the world as individuals. Anyone who is a natural healer or learned healer should make good use of their gifts.
The world needs its healers now, not more strife-stirring war mongers!
But being able to sort the useful from the harmful to one’s self is essential before embarking on the path of a healer. It is one reason I embarked upon a very structured magickal tradition several years ago. It was to be able to protect and build up my own energy field, which had suffered due to previous lack of proper protection. I was constantly getting bombarded with other’s issues to the point I was having great difficultly sorting out my own emotions and pains from what others were feeling. I could also feel much in the collective. The more people around me, the harder it was to sort it all out. I was alone inside, yet the complete spatial opposite. It has gotten to the point whereby in one way, my spiritual path has made me even more sensitive, but at the very same time, I have garnered tools by which to protect myself and stand my own ground. I am certainly not immune to the pains of being an empath, but at the same time, I can deal with it much more efficiently and have been using that same sensitivity to be a better healer. I had spent a great deal of time mastering the art of dealing with nefarious energies and protecting myself and my loved ones, but realized that at a later point in my life, the healing arts really call to me as they often end up doing for many empaths.
This stems from an innate sense of wanting to make right of the wrong, to help others who suffer that also feel so very deeply…And I know that many others feel the same way.
Recently, I had a relative recovering from hip replacement surgery. Ever since they started having extreme pain in one hip, I also started feeling that pain. It almost drove me nuts trying to figure out where it was coming from since I typically don’t have right hip pain! I have plenty of chronic pain elsewhere in other areas, but not my hips…. Once I knew who’s pain it was, it was easy to able to connect energetically and reassure them on a spirit level, sending healing color energy.
I can relate directly by experience to many circumstances that create pain in other’s lives as well as being an empath since childhood. Here is just a tiny excerpt of my story. I hope it serves as an inspiration:
In my life I have been abused and raped, impoverished and physically disabled, a survivor of addiction and 2 suicide attempts many years ago, as well as a natural disaster survivor two times over: A flood and being near the epicenter of a 7.2 earthquake disaster. I have also lost my home to fire caused by a negligent neighbor and seeing a man killed right before my eyes, have had to deal with the killer who accidentally took his life, in a shocked panic, crying on my shoulder…. Being a divorced and a single parent for years before getting married to my alchemical soul-mate, there were also times I was barely able to put food on the table. I even sometimes had to even go without eating to ensure my child was able to and my own childhood was fraught with difficulties. Sacrifice has always been a must. I have an autoimmune disease, a neurological syndrome, ineffective surgeries as well as other permanent conditions I have to live with every day. And, I have been discriminated against in every possible way, for my spiritual beliefs, my health, my gender and even my race, but I am living my own life, not someone else’s and I am eternally grateful for that!
I have dealt first hand with mental depression and anxiety and at one point went through consecutive years of psychotherapy to assess and heal the damage before I even embarked on any serious magickal Path and I recommend that others also do so. There is absolutely no shame in this. Intelligent people who know themselves well and want to be the best they can typically seek out therapy when needed. It is our own negative Egos that tell us we don’t need it.
Our pride can get in the way and excessive pride is one manifestation of personal Qlippothic force to be acknowledged, dealt with and healed, rather than shoved into the broom closet! The longer we let our skeletons hide there, the more bones and shadows that collect to fetter our souls. Why not be freed from all that dead weight blocking our greatest potential? There is no substitute for professional therapy, but empaths should be careful that they choose someone to work with who is not dismissive and cold. We pick up on that and want to run out the door! I was lucky to have a psychotherapist that was compassionate with a great sense of humor that was compatible. If I had not been her patient, perhaps we would have been friends. Having had the therapy experience gave me a new perspective and I have used that knowledge in my empathic approach to others constructively.
Part of my mission in life is to help inspire those, help others to lift themselves out of despair and I do this in both my spiritual service and everyday life. When I go out into the public, I notice things about other people others do not pick up on and try to excise courtesy in dealing with them. If someone struggling, I try to make them happy with humor. I am a friend to those that need a friend. For those that lash out, it’s much more difficult to get in touch, but I try on my better days to do just that. You never know who might remember that reassurance and light you have brought to them, if only in a fleeting moment. This is True Empathy in action. Try it! The joy is well worth it!
So, take your empathy and make something positive of it. You never know whose life you may be helping. We can do this together. Because there really is enough love in the world to go around!
~ Copyright © 2018 Leigh-Ann Rose Grace. All rights reserved.