What is Empathy | Are You an Empath

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings and emotions of others. An empath is someone that is highly sensitive emotions, even those of others. While we will never truly understand what it’s like for another individual, the ability to empathize with them and share what they are dealing with can help us better understand what they are going through so we aren’t so quick to jump to conclusions and judge them.

—CHAPTERS—
3:00 – Showing Empathy
6:34 – Are You an Empath

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    Hi everyone! This video is going to be about empathy. Just what is empathy? Put simply, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings and emotions of others. It’s an ability that we all have and experience to various degrees. For one individual, just being around someone that is upset or sad can instantly bring about an overwhelming sense of sadness. And for another individual, they may be emotionally numb and feel no emotion whatsoever when around or hearing about another person that is sad. The former person, someone that is highly sensitive to emotions, even those of others, they are often referred to as an empath, which I will discuss later in this video.

    The first thing to note is that empathy is not the same as sympathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share another’s feelings as your own. Whereas sympathy is when you can feel a sense of compassion for another person, but do not necessarily feel the emotions they are having. An example would be, let’s take the death of a loved one. Perhaps a friend told you someone close to them has passed away, but you never knew the now deceased person. Empathy would be to actually feel what your friend, the person who has lost someone, is feeling. You may actually feel all the sorrow and sadness as if it was your own. And you may even compare it to your own feelings you had when you lost someone that was close to you. In other words, both you and the person that just lost someone are feeling the same thing. Sympathy on the other hand would be to understand that the person is having a hard time at the moment due to the death of a loved one, but you may not feel what they do as your own. You may feel bad for them, you may not even be able to relate or maybe you can, but you do not actually feel within yourself what they are currently going through. You understand that it’s hard for them and have compassion, but do not feel what they are feeling as your own emotions.

    Now, why is empathy so important. It’s important for the simple fact that it allows us to better understand what someone is going through. While we will never truly understand what it’s like for another individual, empathy can allow us to be on the same wavelength as them which can allow us to better understand what they are going through so we aren’t so quick to jump to conclusions and judge them. So, how can you show more empathy? I’ll discuss that now.


    Showing Empathy

    Like developing any skill, empathy is one that takes time. But, the first place to start is to get in touch with your own emotions. This is always the first step since if you cannot be open and honest about your own emotions and understand them, then you will not be able to empathize with another individual. If you are holding onto a lot of anger, sadness, any other emotions that have perhaps been repressed within you, learn to understand those feelings you are having and let them out so you can let go of them. The reason why it is crucial to let go of your own emotions is because when you have attachments to negative memories causing you to experience these emotions that you have, that you cling on to, it will interfere with your ability to truly understand and empathize with another individual since you will not necessarily be feeling what they are, but what emotions you are holding within you that you have not let go of.

    Once you have addressed your own emotions, it’s time to start listening to and understanding others. Genuinely listen to what someone else has to say and feel the expression of their words and body movement. With enough practice, it’ll become easier to recognize people’s behaviors and emotions and you’ll be able to pick up on how they feel without them even telling you. When someone is discussing with you how they feel, direct your focus to them. When your mind wanders, which is often will, gently bring it back to what they are saying. Truly listening is hearing what they are saying in the present and not about what they, or you, should do or have done. When you are truly listening to them, you will begin to feel their emotions as your own and may even have developed the same expressions and feelings they currently have when telling you.

    Which brings me to the final point, to imagine what it is like for the other person. This is something that requires some time and concentration. Sit down and relax yourself, close your eyes, and envision being the other person. Imagine waking up each and every day, spending your day as them, doing the tasks they have to do, and then imagine going to sleep and waking up in the morning and doing it all over again. With enough time you will be able to understand how the other person’s life is and you will feel a sense of compassion and empathy for them, in addition to a sense of happiness with your own life that you may not have to deal with and struggles with the sort of things they have to do in their life. It’s the feeling of taking life for granted that often makes us feel like other’s lives are not difficult or important. But, having empathy and understand that other people have it harder than us allows us to not take our life for granted and see each day as hopeful, positive and a way to grow and improve the quality of our life and be a better person.

    Now I will discuss how to tell if you are highly sensitive to emotions and an empath.


    Are You an Empath

    An empath is someone that is highly sensitive to emotions, especially of others. It’s someone who is sensitive to emotions and can even experience them to an extreme degree. Empaths are open to emotions and it flows through them. In other words, they do not resist emotion. When around other people, they will feel, many times instantaneously, what the people around them feel. They can take on other people’s emotions as their own. To an even greater degree, they can even behave like the person in a sense, in that they will feel what the other person is feeling, and can even project that energy, thoughts, and actions, sometimes without even realizing the origin of them. In other words, they can behave out of character when taking on the energies and emotions of others since they have incorporated other’s feelings and actions into themselves. They may even develop some of the person’s mannerisms and a sense of feeling like the other person.

    Intuition plays a bit part in how empaths sense things. It’s something they just know and feel, even if there is no evidence to back it up. Often times an empath will feel what a friend or loved one is feeling and going through without even being around them. For instance, if someone close to them has been injured in an accident, they may wake up in the middle of the night at the time of the accident and know and feel something about the person that was injured. The best field of practice for empaths are not around negative emotions and suffering, such as hospitals for example. But rather, to use the ability mostly to help others that are suffering. Perhaps one-on-one personal work will be beneficial for them so they can dedicate their focus to one specific person and set of emotions and energy at a time.

    As a bit of personal background, I am highly sensitive to emotions. So much so that before I was able to let go of other’s negativity I had negative views of myself due to taking on the traits of others that were negative and abusive towards me. But in addition to that, I would always have a difficult time handling my own emotions since I would feel as though they were not mine, but someone else’s that I took on. And another interesting thing is that the people I am close to, when I am around them, I feel I become them to a degree. Even just being around them for a short period of time makes me incorporate their behavior, mannerisms, and ways of thinking as my own. The first time I realized it was when I video chatting with a friend and several times after getting off the video chat I realized I was behaving like her. I had some of the same mannerisms and even would talk like her and have her way of speaking and accent as my own. It was weird at first until I realized that I was taking on her personality as my own. Whenever I do take on people’s emotions for an extended period of time, it begins to wear me out. Which is why I need time to myself to clear all that energy that I have gathered from other people.


    Conclusion

    While we will never truly understand what it’s like for another individual, the ability to empathize with them and share what they are dealing with can help us better understand what they are going through so we aren’t so quick to jump to conclusions and judge them. Being highly sensitive to other’s emotions, such as an empath, certainly allows one to understand to a much greater degree what another person is going through, but it certainly can hinder the individual as they can take on the emotions, and even traits, of others. So, they have to be able to clear that. I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!

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    Notes

    Empathy is important to have since it allows one to understand what it’s like for another person. It’s a feeling of being the other person, living as them, and going through what they have to each day. Someone will never know what it’s like for another person, but having empathy certainly does make it relatable. I personally have always been rather empathetic, that is with people I don’t know. People that are close to me I tend to not be as empathetic, but complete strangers I do. I seem to understand people I do not know better than I do the actual people in my life. But regardless, empathy allows me to better understand their own struggles. I am also someone that takes on other people’s personality traits as my own. I’ve always done this but never payed attention to it until one day I realized I was behaving like a friend. Interesting to say the least, but also quite tiresome as it can happen with negative emotions and feelings of others.