I Am an Empath

I Am An Empath

The Thoughts WarriorRandom Thoughts

I am an Empath. For people who don’t know, an Empath is someone who is highly aware of the emotions of those around them, to the point of feeling these emotions themselves. Empaths see the world differently than other people; they’re keenly aware of others, their pain points, and what they need emotionally.

So what exactly does his mean?

I am still learning. I never knew there was a name for it. This is much deeper than being oversensitive or crying at commercials or song lyrics. Although I still get upset that the horse never had a name and Wildfire was lost in the storm. However, I digress.

As a child, I spent much of my time surrounded by older people, my grandparent’s generation. Many of my earliest memories were visiting my grandfather in the nursing home after his stroke. I was 5 when he had a stroke, he died 16 months later. Then my great-grandmother. There was always a funeral, always lots of emotions flying. Most of that generation (there were 22 great aunts and uncles just with my mother’s dad) was in a healing profession. I always assumed that I was a natural caregiver because of the experiences and role models I had. However, I knew I could never be a nurse, the thought of blood or someone in pain did not make me squeamish, but physically hurt myself.

Any dead or injured animal would bring me to tears.

I could not watch horror movies or war movies. When I was 7 my family was the first with HBO and my parents had a bunch of relatives over to watch the movie. When Scarlett shot the soldier in the face, I grabbed my own and started crying. It hurt. Of course, I got the normal, “it’s not real, just a movie, and they are only actors”. I couldn’t understand what they meant, I felt it. To this day, almost 50 years later, I have never watched the movie again.

When I was 22, I started working with developmentally disabled adults. One of the first staff members I met was a woman my mom’s age. She took me under her wing, practically adopted me, in a-way. Over the years she helped me discover the truth about myself and why I am the way I am. She also taught me to use my gift as a strength and a blessing. Sometimes, quite honestly, this gift and blessing can feel like a curse. When this pandemic started I had a hard time sorting my feelings out from those around me. I would find myself driven to tears at night many times. 2 particular times stand out.

One night I stopped at Dollar General.

A young man was working, a little younger than my boys, and he was a wreck. His mom was a nurse, and he hadn’t seen her for a few days. He was telling me that he bought a case of her favorite soda and some snacks for her. He was near tears and said he just wanted to hug her and didn’t feel it was enough. I told him, she was a very lucky mother to have such a thoughtful son. She knew what the gesture meant and he would be able to hug his mom again. I really just wanted to hug him and take his pain away, but I could tell that my words sunk it. The pain he felt brought out my own pain of not being able to hug my own boys.

A second time I walked into a convenience store with a mask on. The man behind the counter thanked me. He was fearful of working every day and people coming in without a mask when he had an infant at home. I felt his fear. I feel the pain of those dying alone. One should never die alone.

Why am I talking about this?

To understand me, even for me to understand myself, one must realize how I see the world. I don’t see black and white, I feel one’s heart. Don’t get me wrong, I have been fooled and I have been hurt, but for the most part, I am usually in tune with others. I said to a friend one night when I was particularly overwhelmed, that sometimes I feel as if being an Empath is a curse. He said, no it is a gift. You need a glass of wine, some music, and a bubble bath to recharge yourself. He is right it is a gift I was given and a gift I will continue to use. From when I finally depart this world I can go with an open heart.

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