What is an Empath?

Nothing resonates more deeply with the empath than the saying “I am you. And you are me.”

For the empath, oneness is not just an out-there new age belief – it IS life. It is truth. There is a knowing that everything is intrinsically linked, that the collective unconscious is an ever interconnected web of life, ebbing and flowing. It is in all of us, in all things.

For whatever you feel, I can feel. That is basically what an empath is. A clairsentient.  

And in the physical, material world, the day-to-day of commuting to work, meeting deadlines, face-to-face interactions with friends, family, co-workers and strangers, in other words, living life – this can be a really tiring and tough sensory experience. Because while oneness is a spiritual, universal fact, well-being depends on having and maintaining healthy boundaries with those around us, including our loved ones. In this world, I am not you. You are not me.

“Why am I so easily swayed? Am I weak? Is it because I have no conviction? Why am I upset? Scared? Stressed? Anxious?” 

I’ve thought these things a million times in my life, and I used to be so hard on myself for it. I used fear and anger to keep these emotions at bay, because I thought that somehow I must have been weaker to get so ‘easily affected’ by the things that didn’t seem to affect others as much.

Are you an empath?

If you are here because you’ve been seeking for answers to the riddle you find yourself in, then I have this to say: Treat yourself gently, my love. There is nothing wrong with you. Just as how there used to be warriors, there were also healers and priests, counsels and shamans. And today, there’s us: descendants of these peaceful, powerful people. As much as we need fighters in this world, so too do we need healers. And I would say, there’s been no greater need for people like us than today.

This is what I’ve learnt about being an empath so far:

  • Being an empath is like naturally being more attuned to something – e.g. like how some people seem to hear and understand music innately, or have an eye for colour and design, or a nose for scents – empaths are attuned to the emotions of others, and can feel and experience these emotions deeply and powerfully in our bodies.
  • Just because you can’t see it happening, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Emotion is an energy, a powerful one that demands to be felt. Emotions will keep demanding to be felt no matter how much you try to ignore or repress them, and illness and depression could result if you keep denying their existence.
  • The most useful thing for me wasn’t learning about shielding or protection, which could sometimes put one in that victim or defensive stance, but in deeply understanding the issues behind why you feel like you tend to carry the emotions of others, or to feel like you have to absorb them or to take them on. Because remember, being an empath just means being attuned to something. Just like someone gifted in music doesn’t necessarily have to slavishly decode every piece of music she hears. She chooses when she wants to do so.
  • Unlocking the wounding behind those faulty beliefs of having to carry others’ emotions was the most important factor in healing my empath self. It also went a long way towards understanding what boundaries even meant and how to interact confidently in this world without fear of having to take on someone else’s stuff inadvertently.
  • There is no perfection on this journey (something I’m still learning, for sure), no ‘perfect’ stage to reach. Healing (like almost anything in life, really!) is not a linear path. We do the best we can, and every little step towards wellness and owning your empath abilities, is an important step towards empowerment. And if you have chosen empowerment, then I applaud you! It takes courage and determination, and that’s half the battle won.
  • A healthy empath can be a powerful healer, in whatever medium that calls to you. Knowing how others feel allows you to empathize deeply and to know that deep down inside, beneath money, status, skin colour, whatever – we are all the same, spiritual beings having a very human experience. And with this knowledge and acceptance, these qualities will shine out through whatever that calls to you: writing, music, movement, sciences, or even in your day to day interactions with people… Your ability for compassion and to feel deeply is a true gift, believe it or not! (I did not until recently (: )
  • That said, self-care is super important in your well-being as an empath.
  • The heart is wiser that you think it is – in all cases, follow what your heart is telling you. It communicates with you not only through emotions, but also with your body. There’s a reason for gut feelings – they’re your own internal GPS.
  • Above all, be kind to yourself, nothing but gentle loving kindness. This is probably the hardest for me to learn as a perfectionist, but giving yourself space, breathing room, time for rest, time to do nothing, to play and laugh – these have healed me more than anything else.
  • Here are the resources that have helped me greatly – perhaps you might find them useful too!

May you find everything you need and more on your journey. The Universe is rooting for you!