Are You an Empath?

Jordan Jackson, Staff Writer

Have you ever been told that you are highly sensitive, a good listener, or able to understand the perspective of others? Then you should probably look more into the subject of empathy. Which is an essential ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and understand their viewpoint.

What is an Empath?

An empath is a person highly attuned to the feelings or emotions around them. They experience a tremendous amount of empathy and can sense the emotional burdens of other people with ease. Empaths are individuals who tend to be great friends, partners, and listeners. They are generous and reliable and are often called “sponges” because they take in the emotions of others at their own expense. However, the work that empaths do is important because it helps maintain relationships and dictate success. 

 You’re probably asking yourself; well how do I know I’m an empath? Here are some common characteristics to help you figure that out. First, empaths tend to be introverts. Meaning they benefit from spending time alone to charge. They can be antisocial and will gladly block any negative energy from their lives. However, they can also be the complete opposite of this. Empaths can be very humbled and shy away from compliments because they would rather praise others, and they also open up to any person willing to listen.

Next, empaths are emotionally intelligent and intuitive. Many of them have strong gut feelings that turn into physical manifestations of burden or emotion. For example, daily aches, pain, and chronic tiredness are all manifestations of the energy they absorb. Lastly, they are great friends that show up in a time of need. Naturally supportive with big hearts, empaths take on feelings that aren’t their own. Sometimes they are unable to differentiate between their own feelings and someone else’s. 

           According to Judy Dyer, author of “Empath: A Complete Guide for Developing Your Gift and Finding Your Sense of Self,” she explains, “An empath is not something that is learned, you are either born this way or you’re not.” This is why many empaths believe they should use their ability to their advantage because it was a specific gift assigned to them.

Using the Gift

Many empaths are involved in helping professions like counseling, nursing, therapy, or training according to an article called “Do Empaths Really Exist” by Jhon Moore, Ph.D.

To further understand this ideology, I asked one of Edison High’s very own counselors Dr. Chang a significant question. Do you see yourself as an empath, and how? Her response was “I think I would have to fall into being an empath.” She further explained “as a counselor, we do so much more than just creating students’ schedules and monitoring their progress towards graduation. Sometimes, we have to listen to them and understand their perspectives. Sometimes, we have to troubleshoot with them as to what their problems are and come up with a plan for that challenge.”

Counselors, like Dr. Chang, build empathetic alliances with their students as “(s)ometimes, we have to cry with them. Sometimes, we also have to be firm and say it how it is. In order for us to do a good job at being a counselor, we wear multiple hats; hence, when people think of counselors, they also associate the phrase that we are a “Jack of All Trades”. We have to feel, see, hear, know, act, and grow all at the same time to fully serve others as a whole.”

Dr. Chang’s response embodies what an empath truly is, a talented individual who can mirror the emotions of whoever they are meant to help. Embracing your empathetic ability will empower you to communicate your ideas more effectively and help us all understand what each other feels.  

To conclude, if we all decided to accept our empathetic qualities, it could create change and shift the energy of the world. Tapping into your empathetic powers will allow you more control over your life and make you a great problem solver.

Learning to be more empathetic has helped me feel free of emotional incarceration and I can already tell that I am becoming a better person. So, I encourage everyone reading this story to research more about their natural ability to feel, not just with their hands but with their minds, bodies, and souls.