This is a subject that tends to come up a lot when talking about metaphysical info and things of that nature. And calling oneself an empath seems to be a rising fad. There are many of us, especially in what I like to refer to as : "The Age of Spiritual Awakening".
By this, I mean, I have walked my path my entire life. I have studied and learned and continue to do so. Even though we are still heavily judged, even today, there are 100 times more people exploring their own minds and natural religious belief systems than there were even 3 years ago. And we in general are more accepted than we have been.
But, back to the subject at hand, there are some major misconceptions and confusion being spread around regarding these 2 terms: empath and empathy. So let's try to clear the air here, yes?
What is the difference?
In short, empathy is extending thoughts, feelings and consideration of others, while empaths actually experience of the emotional states of others. But I feel like this needs to be explained more in depth.
Having empathy means being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes, and be understanding of their situation or issues. It is being respectful of the situation of others, be it good or bad. A lot of times having empathy for someone means that we in general are more prone to work with an issue in their situation. We try harder because we see them struggling and want to assist. We think "What if that was my family member?" or "I have been there in my life, I know what they are going through". Having empathy can be for good and bad situations, but we tend to discuss the harder parts more in general. Just because, I think, the good parts are easier. For example, it's easier to rejoice with someone who was stressed and just passed their final exam in college than to sit and cry with someone because they failed.
Empathy is an amazing thing, and it is truly where our sense of helping others comes into play. It is a basis for compassion and personal morals, being kind and understanding, especially when the person practicing empathy has no personal motivation or interest in it.
But, there is a big difference between having empathy and being an empath, and, more often than not, I see these being confused daily. I do understand why, because a lot of empathy does come into play when a person is an empath. But having empathy does not necessarily make you an empath. Do you see the confusion?
Being an empath means that a person literally feels what another person is feeling to the extreme that they feel like it comes from within themselves. It is a complete absorption of feelings from another person, to the point that it can be hard to distinguish where the source is. Is it internal? Is it me? Am I suffering from depression and anxiety? Or is it someone around me?
Being an empath is an amazing thing, but it can be an all consuming issue. Feeling emotions from outside sources can make us question our own mental health. It can be SO HARD to distinguish if these emotions are coming from within or not.
Often, empaths are judged. Because we feel everything around us, we are often told that we are too emotional, too sensitive. We are also drawn in easily to help ease someone's pain or suffering in whatever way we can. Not being understood is difficult. Loneliness can set in, and quite a few empaths have been known to become antisocial, to avoid the strong emotions that come to them when they are around others. It is so important to use the tools that we can access quickly to know our limitations and know ourselves better.
Some people believe empaths are born the way they are, and many of us are. But as spiritual growth awakens the mind and senses to the energy that flows around us, it can also awaken sensitivity to emotions and make one an empath.
There are ways to safeguard against picking up and taking on all of the emotions and energies that we deal with as empaths:
1. My highly recommended option is to "Bubble". To surround yourself with a protective bubble that blocks out what you want it to, when you want it to.
I will definitely be explaining the bubble in another post in the next few days.
2. Meditation. Such a key practice in ritual work, spell work, and honestly in every day life.
3. Grounding and Centering yourself. This is just what it sounds like and another subject that I will be writing about shortly.
4. Know your boundaries. Accept your limitations and gently push past them as you are comfortable doing so.
I really hope I helped dispel some of the confusion between these terms and titles, empathy and empath.
Hail and Blessings,