Have you noticed a dramatic increase in the last five or so years of people calling themselves empaths? Me too! It’s got me thinking, “What exactly is an empath, and where did they all come from?”
What were they up to before? Are people just now waking up to their emotional experiences and really relating to what it’s like to feel things deeply? My little paramedic brain finds this trend fascinating and wonders why is it just now that everyone seems to be coming out as an empath.
As far as I can tell, more and more people are opening to their emotional experiences, and being empathic gives people a sense of community and belonging. It is a safe haven for people who feel and sense things very deeply in this harsh and relentless world.
Isn’t it wonderfully refreshing to find a sense of belonging in life!? So, great! But, um… What exactly is an empath? I Googled the word and a zillion explanations and quizzes popped up. They all said a version of the same thing: a person who feels very deeply, is nurturing, caring, and deeply sensitive, etc.
Cool. But WHY are we like this? And why is everyone suddenly claiming to be one?
FUN FACT: DID YOU KNOW THAT THE WORD EMPATHY IS DEFINED AS ‘THE INTELLECTUAL IDENTIFICATION WITH, OR VICARIOUS EXPERIENCING, THE FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, OR ATTITUDES OF ANOTHER’?
Empathy actually is a very common neurological process that creates social cohesion, and it arises through mirror neurons. Mirror neurons enable you to stay emotionally and behaviorally on the same page with others by sensing and evaluating subtle interpersonal cues.
In his book Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman writes, “Mirror neurons make emotions contagious, letting the feelings we witness flow through us, helping us get in sync and follow what’s going on. We ‘feel’ the other in the broadest sense of the word: sensing their sentiments, their movements, their sensations, their emotions as they act inside of us.”
Great! But why should we care? Well… it shows that the human body is actually wired and designed to have empathic qualities. When we understand that our little brain synapses are working hard to allow us to interpret our environment, we can better understand that being empathic is part of the human condition. It’s not a metaphysical superpower as much as it is part of the normal biological human experience.
But – “I feel things so much more deeply than others! How do you explain that?” you gasp! To that, I’d like to offer that I recognize and honor your deep feelings and perceptions. I understand 100% what it’s like to feel bombarded by everyone else’s emotions and to not know how to tell what’s yours and what belongs to other people. This can be a very real (and very sucky/overwhelming) experience. The only person who knows what its like to be you – is you. And I totally get how challenging it can be to feel things so deeply. While it’s true that some people are more sensitive than others, there are tools that you can use to learn to witness the stimulus without taking it on. Believe it or not – you can master your own experience and become an energetic ninja who doesn’t get bogged down with other people’s ick. Talk about L-I-B-E-R-A-T-I-O-N!
So why are there so many people coming out as empaths right now? I think it’s because more and more people are sick and tired of the same old BS and are thirsting for a deeper soul connection. They are willing to finally acknowledge all of their sensitivities ~ and discovering other people who relate also feeling deeply is nourishing.
This whole process of self-discovery takes guts, and I salute you, sensitive soul, for the courage in opening to your abilities. It’s wonderful that so many people are becoming so willing to feel – and that in doing so an entirely new spiritual culture has been birthed.
Lastly, I’d like to leave you with is this: I’ve personally found that the more I understood the pathophysiology and ‘why’ behind many of my sensitivities, the more understanding I have. With that understanding has come power. I’ve gone from feeling victimized by my deep feelings to understanding how to navigate and work with them. I no longer become overwhelmed by stimulus because I have become strong within myself. I’m happy to share how I did that in upcoming video series!
Stay tuned… You are so very incredible! I see you, beautiful, sensitive soul! SHINE ON!!!!