What Is The Difference Between Having Empathy and Being An Empath
Updated: Apr 26, 2021
Many of us understand what it is to have empathy for others. Yet many have no idea what it is like to be an empath, some have never heard the term empath. Empathy is not Empathic.
What is empathy?
The majority of us have the natural capacity to be empathetic to others.We can relate to those
around us who are in need or are hurting. We can hypothetically place ourselves in their shoes.
This sense of understanding or relating to another who is struggling generally comes to us as a result of our own life experiences. For example most of us can relate to someone being overwhelmed with stress or understand when one is moving through grieving the death of a loved one because we have most likely experienced the same thing. Just as we are all very unique and have different strengths, some of us are able to identify more easily with those around us than others are. We can empathize with the needs of another person.
So what is an Empath?
An empath is one who has the involuntary ability to entrain to the energy of others.
I say entrain because often what an empath picks up on often becomes them. I say involuntary because it is not a conscious decision or even a known ability to most who have it. When becoming aware of another persons energy an empaths emotions sway and often there is a physical response that occurs as well. Some physical responses have been described as nausea, anxiety or dizziness to name a few. An empath can often read or sense what someone is experiencing emotionally and or physically. Some empaths are able to sense more details than other empaths.
Empaths often describe themselves as highly sensitive people. A majority of empaths go throughout life not understanding their abilities, not understanding that not everyone experiences what and how they do. Many empaths battle with depression and anxiety as they struggle to find their way.
Imagine walking down the street, you are feeling good, content and at peace. Then for no reason, like a swinging pendulum, you are upset, afraid and tired. Like it came out of nowhere. Imagine this happening time and time again. You would begin to question, “what is wrong with me?”
Now imagine what it would be like going into a mall, school or hospital where there are crowds of people. To the unaware empath this is often disabling. This would be similar perhaps to having a set of headphones on and someone turning up the volume to the maximum setting. It would be somewhat crippling – and for many it is. Even more interesting is empaths do not need to be out in public to entrain to other energies. Watching the news or even reading the newspaper can affect empaths. This is the reality for many empaths that do not have a clear understanding of their gifts and/or the tools to support themselves. So what does one do? Empaths can’t hide from the world or from their lives.
I spent a vast majority of my life struggling with my awareness’s, having always sensed that I was different. Yet I did not understand what that difference was nor did I understand how it affected me. I battled with depression, anxiety and chronic pain for over 30 years. I grasped to understand how I could be feeling happy and light in one moment then sad or in fear with the weight of the world on my shoulders the next. My journey with this double edged sword and learning how to not wound myself with this gift has educated me to help and serve others.
I am confident in saying that over 90% of my clients are empaths. Empath’s that are overloaded and burdened with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Not something they consciously decided to start packing around…it just happened. A majority of my clients arrive broken and exhausted from the swinging ball effect that they feel they have no control of. Going through life not understanding what is happening to them or aware of the tools available so they can heal and support themselves. Self-care is crucial for all of us but it is critical for empaths!
I believe some come into this life experience with that empathy dial turned up more than others. I believe for some the dial is turned on when faced with a traumatic experience and for others will never turn it on.
I am not sure if we will ever truly understand the why or the how…but I do know that as with everything there is a reason for it. I believe bringing awareness to it creates understanding. Understanding creates the space for learning, learning how to mould and shape this ability into a gift rather than looking at it as a curse.
It opens up communication with loved ones that we see struggling. It creates hope and validation that one is not alone on this journey as an empath.
I create a safe and nurturing space for all my clients to release, reconnect and reclaim their lives. All of my clients are taught applicable tools to support themselves outside of my office.