Empathy. It's something that our world lacks. It's something that children need to understand at a very young age. Empathy
could would save the entire world. I was born an empath. I've always called it a blessing and a curse because it's almost as if I have no control over my own emotions. I've lived my life feeling like an outcast because of my empathy, being stigmatized as an emotional woman. Empathy is so much more than being emotional, though.
em·pa·thy (ĕm′pə-thē) n. 1. The ability to identify with or understand another's situation or feelings: Empathy is a distinctly human capability.
The Dictionary's definition really seems to downplay what empathy really is. I find it funny that a definition has to be written with logic because empathy is the furthest from logic. It's using your heart and not your mind. I would describe empathy as stepping into the heart and soul of another and feeling everything that they feel, thinking everything that they are thinking. Basically, don't ever tell an empath to put themselves into your shoes. They've been wearing them since the day they met you.
I've been an empath for as long as I remember. Sometimes, I think I've grown into an empath, but that just isn't true. Do I think that people can be taught empathy? Well, let's save that question for another time. When I think back to my childhood, I realize that I've always been an empath – I just didn't know it. When you've always felt a certain way, you think it's normal. I thought that everyone felt as strongly as I did. I thought that anyone who didn't feel like me was either hiding it or they were just plain heartless.
Now, as an empathetic woman, I understand it. In meeting other empaths, I've learned what it means to be an empath. I finally feel like I am not alone in this world. I now understand that they are people who are compassionate and sympathetic, but not necessarily empathic. It isn't a bad thing – not at all. I think that having compassion and sympathy for others is a beautiful trait to have. If you aren't empathetic, then you don't understand the extent of it. Let me explain to you, what I literally deal with on a daily basis. Just because you don't see an empath's emotions, doesn't mean they aren't feeling them and just because you feel bad for someone, it doesn't mean you're an empath.
Just because you don't see an empath's emotions, doesn't mean they aren't feeling them.
I can't watch movies.
Okay, I can literally watch them, but almost every movie makes me cry. If there's any sort of touching scene – I will cry. You may not know that I've cried, but I have shed tears that you did not see. Just know that it happened. It can something as simple as a hug and I'll cry. It can be inspirational music and I'll cry. It can be a football player returning to the field after an injury – and guess what? The tears are streaming.
Commercials make me cry.
Yep. Commercials. I can't even watch the animal commercials. I have to change the channel or mute it. I can't even look at the television because the tears will fall. Don't even get me started on the poor children in need. Seriously, just take my entire paycheck and take my entire life because I can't deal with the helplessness that exists in our world.
What's the news?
There are times when I can't turn on the tv, when I have to close down all social media because my empathetic soul can't handle it. I can't handle the hurt, the pain, the hate. I can't deal with the murders, the racism, the bigotry. It's easy to be against the hate. Most of us are against it and if we aren't, we are part of the problem. Other than the evil that exists in our world, it's the other things on the news that I can't deal with. Missing children. Car accidents. Floodings. Freak accidents. I can't bear to watch it. If you aren't an empath then you don't understand. I feel like my heart is breaking when I see these things. Currently, there's a man missing from my area. I don't know the man. I don't know his family or his story, but everytime I see his smiling face in the news, my eyes fill with tears. I just can't.
People in need… take my soul.
The most difficult thing in my life is to ride or walk by the homeless and keep it together. My heart aches for them. If you aren't an empath then you don't understand how it feels to look into the eyes of another and see everything beautiful that they hold, to see their years of pain and suffering. When I give to the homeless, I never think about what they are going to do with the money. I think about how maybe one act of kindness, one helping hand, could change their life forever. My empathy came from my grandmother. I remember one Thanksgiving when she went to McDonalds and bought 20 drinks, 20 burgers, and 20 fries for a group of homeless men who lived in the woods. I believe my empathy comes from her.
Stray animals… I need a farm.
Stray animals… gah. If I were rich, I'd have a farm. I want to rescue every single stray in the world. My boyfriend and I rescued 2 beautiful kittens about a week ago. I thought I was doing great. I thought, “I've got this! We will only have them for a day or two. I wont get attached.” After a nightmare of a day trying to find homes for these babies, we finally found a lovely woman with the ASPCA who picked them up. I cried that entire night. It wasn't that I wanted to keep them. It was that I wanted them to be okay. I was afraid for them. I knew that they had a long, scary road ahead of them. All I could think about is how afraid they were and how happy they finally became at my home. They got attached to us – falling on our feet and purring every time we walked into the room. If only I had a farm…
Your mood dictates mine.
I purposely surround myself with positive people. I grew up in a bad environment. There was always a lot of yelling, screaming, and negativity. It's something that has always made me uncomfortable and given me anxiety. I realize now that it makes me uncomfortable because it dictates my mood. If you're angry – I am too. If you're sad, you best believe that I'm moping around as well. I can't control it. It makes me feel weak at times. I've literally cut off all contact with people who complain all the time. I can't deal with it. With that said, being an empath also gives me the power to sense something wrong with someone. I can walk into a room and know if someone is down, without ever meeting them. It's kinda my super power.
Anyone… I mean ANYONE crying.
Anyone, I don't care if I know them or not. It doesn't matter if they are on a movie or across the room, if they cry – I cry. I can't help it. I cry as if it's my job. I can't stand to see someone in pain. It hurts my heart. I told a friend recently that I don't know which is more difficult – having a broken heart or watching someone I love get their heart broken. I hate being ina position of not being capable of fixing everything. It sounds childish to say that, but it's true. I don't like feeling like I can't heal someone – that doesn't mean that I wont try.
I never stop feeling or thinking… ever.
And finally, there's this. I don't stop feeling or thinking, ever. I probably sleep restfully 4-7 nights a month. My life is filled with nights of hour long prayers, empathetic tears, stressing, worrying, and wondering. I'm not complaining. I would never ask to not feel empathy. It's crazy, wild, and wonderful. The way I feel is who I am. I feel like I have a sixth sense. We all have gifts in this life and being an empath is mine.
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Great article. You have what it takes to be a nurse lol. You cant teach empathy either you have it or you do not.
Joyce Duboise says
Aww thanks for reading <3 I think I'd cry even more if I were a nurse lol
Joyce Duboise says
& you’re right! You can’t teach empathy, but you can teach love and compassion, which a lot of people lack in our country, sadly.
Ginae B. McDonald says
Ye-ah. You’ve pretty much nailed it! As I age, I stop hiding the tears. I mean, why AREN’T others crying when they experience new life? 🙂
Joyce Duboise says
Thanks for reading! I find it amazing to watch other talk about things like, losing a loved one or about the struggles in our world, without crying. Like, how do you do that? lol
Jess Benoit says
I really love this post because you nailed it down as to what it’s like being an empath. I have always been that way and made many great friends in school because of it. We would befriend the new kids, the outsiders, etc. because I couldn’t stand watching them try to find their place and felt the need to have to help them out.
I do not watch the news…at all, because I hate hearing all of the bad stuff. I get enough of that from social media anyway. And don’t get me started on commercials – animals, Publix, BUDWEISER…especially around the holidays. I wouldn’t call myself a crier but I do tear up much more than I would like to admit LOL
Joyce Duboise says
Hey Jess! Thanks so much for reading. I just love knowing that there are so many other empaths out there that can relate. It’s like we are all in a club that nobody understands but us.
I never really thought of empathy in that way. I’ve always cherished my friendships and now I realize it’s because of the love that we share with one another. No superficial friendships for this girl! I also remember befriending the outcasts! Funny story actually, for my upcoming class reunion, which is being run by the “popular girls” just like in school, a group of the outcasts and I started planning an anti-reunion for the uncool kids. haha. I think it’s so awesome that you helped so many out. I want to cry now lol.
Yes! I agree about social media. There are days when it’s just too unbearable.
& the commercials – haha. Yes! The holiday ones are the worst (or the best, I cant decide lol).
Lovely post. I liked how you express thoughts and feelings. I cant stand literally the animal and people commercials and many things. I normally dont hang on social media, because of the non stop barrage . It all becomes too much.
Personally, I am not a crier, I grew up in a crappy home too, and crying would have very negative consequences. I am glad you can cry, I cant or rarely do.
Joyce Duboise says
Aww that makes me sad. I sometimes do feel like I can’t cry when I want to and it’s very unhealthy!