Empathy is being able to understand and share the feelings of another. The ability to empathize is being able to put yourself in the shoes of someone else. For example, if that thing that happened to someone else had happened to me then I would feel the same way. So I understand the emotion and can sympathize. This is "normal" and healthy.
An Empath does more than sympathize with others. They don't just imagine what it would feel like. They actually feel the emotion as if it was their own. There's no separation between themselves and another person or even a large group of people like when a major world event happens.
Empaths are highly sensitive people. What do I mean by that?
Typically when people hear the phrase "highly sensitive" they think of someone who is overly emotional or thin skinned. There are those that are highly emotionally sensitive because of the ego, trauma, and self-esteem issues. Those areas of sensitivity stem from the person.
An Empath's sensitivity affects them from things outside of themselves. It's like a spidey sense. We perceive the energy emanating around us from both the seen and the unseen. Empaths are very energetically open and therefore more taped into the field of consciousness.
Being Empathic seems to be increasingly more common these days as more people are "waking up". By that I mean becoming aware of the systems; the boxes; your social conditioning; or the Matrix. Your sensitivity can also strengthen the more present you are.
Being Empathic is one of an Indigo/Crystal/or Starseed's strongest traits and one of the most challenging to deal with because absolutely everything emanates energy.
"Every human being emanates an energy field that corresponds to his or her inner state, and most people can sense it, although they may feel someone else’s energy emanation only subliminally. That is to say, they don’t know that they sense it, yet it determines to a large extent how they feel about and react to that person. Some people are most clearly aware of it when they first meet someone, even before any words are exchanged." - Eckhart Tolle
Empaths are very aware of how someone else is feeling without the other person needing to speak a word. They may not know why someone is feeling a certain way and will persist in finding out what's wrong.
They can feel the energy of a person or even the energy of a room or place. They know immediately if there are "bad vibes" and may want to leave or change seats without being able to explain why.
Now can't most people sense the emotions of others or read the energy of a room? Yes, but usually only when it's extreme or obvious. Empaths can pick up on even the slightest of nuances that most people are oblivious to.
Empaths can pick up on the smallest cues. For example, truth has a frequency. So does a lie. An Empath can detect that distinction. They can feel the truth or lack of truth behind other peoples words. They're human lie detectors!
"Empathy is not a state that is accessible to those that are afraid to feel negative emotion." - Teal Swan
The reason this ability is not active in most people is because they are not present. They live in their minds, they are perpetually distracted, numbed out, or too narcissistic to notice anyone exists outside of themselves.
Also, many normal humans seem to be detached, disconnected, or disassociated from their own emotions as a coping mechanism from previous trauma or painful events. They have an aversion to feeling their own emotions, let alone anyone else's.
I cannot emphasize enough how important emotions are in the grand scheme of things. Not only do emotions affect our physical and spiritual well being, they're the creative force of the Universe. Emotions are our inner compass. It is so important to get in touch with your emotions and master them! Thoughts are what generate emotion. If you can shift the way you feel you can create whatever you want. I take you down this rabbit hole on Manifestation.
We can sense when something is bothering someone and instead of letting someone suffer in silence, we will often push them into expressing or dealing with what they are feeling. We understand the necessity of releasing and processing emotion, so much so that we try to do it for others. The more honest you are about pain, the more it starts to diminish.
Pain is one one of the most powerful tools that we have as humans for transformation.
Sadness is an emotion most people try to escape from. Empaths will let it consume them. If you want relief, the only way out is through. Emotions are not meant to be suppressed. They are meant to be felt and understood and to move through them. That is the purpose of being human on Earth - to feel these expressions.
In order to heal it, you must feel it.
Empaths are sensitive and caring. They have trouble functioning when there is any kind of disharmony between people, cultures, or countries.
We stress easily. We don't feel OK being around people who are unhappy. When we detect something is wrong we feel it is our job to fix it because we can't relax until we do.
If you find yourself being pestered by an Empath trying to get you to talk about what's wrong, it's best to just lay your cards on the table and don't bother lying because we'll know!
Empaths struggle being in crowds as it can become sensory overload. Simple tasks like grocery shopping or sitting in a classroom can cause anxiety or leave us feeling energetically drained.
Empaths need a lot of time away from people so they can recharge and shake off other people's energy.
Read more: Self-Help for Empaths