The Curse and Blessing of Being an Empath
by Emily Fultz
I feel. I fEeL. I FEEEEEEEL. I also know. I know from dreams, premonitions, and gut instinct. I say what I feel and what I know, and risk ostracism in doing so. If I lived in a different time, I probably would’ve been burned at the stake for being a witch. Luckily enough, I’m alive right now in the United States and can openly talk about being an empath with only the risk of being called “crazy” or “New Agey” or “Emily.”
Sooooo, what is an empath? Well, like dreams, the universe, the soul, and most of the brain; it can’t exactly be scientifically explained. Even the Oxford Dictionary defines it as: “(chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.” Here’s a link to an article that more fully describes it. In a nutshell, an empath absorbs the emotions of others, can read people and animals well, is often sought out as a listener, and has a keen intuition.
Sounds awesome, right? It’s like Snow White and her crew of woodland creatures! Or being able to hang out with Bruce Willis when no one else can! It can be a gift, but it is one of the most draining types of human to be, especially if you have no idea you are one. Once you figure it out though, it’s like waking up in the Matrix and all of the sudden everything in your life becomes clear. You’ll now understand why you can’t watch Tosh.0 and witness people laughing at other peoples’ pain. You’ll understand why you cry for other people when they can’t cry for themselves. Your understanding of your place in life will fall into place.
Knowing yourself really helps you cope with the negative effects of being empathic. Empaths have a tendency toward fatigue and substance abuse because sometimes being alive and absorbing everything from everyone becomes too much. It also creates a lot of doubt since it is not exactly a widely-accepted way-of-being. When you tell people something will happen, and it does, people tend to want an explanation. If you call someone out on their bullshit and you can’t exactly tell them how you know, it can be frustrating. It’s hard when you feel so deeply and are engulfed in your own certain truth but the majority of other peoples’ truths don’t contain the same elements as yours. It’s also easier as an empath to help other people and not exactly know how to help yourself.
On the bright side, the best artists, writers, musicians, social workers, counselors, and teachers are empaths. This seems logical. People who do well with communicating and helping the human condition as their life’s work tend to have a deeper feel for what it means to be alive.
Life hurts everyone at times. If you think you feel it differently than most, there may be a “crazy”, “new-agey” reason why. Whatever helps.