The first time I heard the word "empath" I was 32 years of age.
How old where you when you discovered the word? There is a very, very good chance the word is brand new for you as well.
Employing some basic logic, we could derive the meaning of "empath" from from "empathy". You are both completely correct and completely incorrect. The basic definition - "someone who feels great empathy" - fails to capture the complexity and magic of what it means to be an empath or know an empath. Not even close. Ever since I started reading about empaths and identifying it in friends, my mind has been blown. Not all of them even aware they have this trait, or what it means. It's meaning goes far beyond "sensitive to the emotions of others"... empaths are often sensitive to the entire planet. Every human sense we know (sight, sound, touch) can be elevated, and empaths often have a complex inner life and feeling of connection and spirituality most of us will never understand. To be an empath is a huge gift, but it can also feel like a huge burden in modern society. I've met so many empaths lately, I thought it was time to write a couple of little articles to help provide a base level of education, and inspire you to learn more about something which you very likely have (if I've sent you to this page) or at least know a few close people in your life who will relate.
I hope these articles resonates with you in some way:
- Empath - Empath Tests - A couple of fun test to see if you might be an empath.
- Empath - My First Conscious Encounter with an Empath - My own account in learning about empaths.
- Are You Highly Sensitive? - The test from the Highly Sensitive Person book by Elaine Aron
- 30 traits of an Empath (How to know if you're an Empath) - Great little article!
- Empath-Sociopath, The Dance (zen-ful.net) - I can't decide how I feel about this article, it's one persons blog/experience generalized into a pattern, but I can't deny I generalize based on a few stories as well and this is... well.. thought provoking. I love dance, so I needed to include this article.
- Traits of an Empath
- Being Empathic versus Being an Empath: Crucial Differences
- Traits of an Empath (elephantjournal) - My friend is a huge fan of elepantjournal. Some of the articles are fun, and lots are on the topic of empaths.