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Am I am Empath?

Updated: Jun 25

And who IS an Empath... and does it even really matter?



OK, so - are you an Empath?


I hope you will not be disappointed to find there is no quiz here to see if you should be using the label of "Empath" to describe yourself or to identify with! I know, quizzes ARE fun, but I can tell you right now, off the bat, what an empath is... and what it is not.


The term empath is flung around these days, and it has become popular to describe someone who is extra emotionally sensitive, or one who empathises easily with others.


I'll be honest when I say that I also get a little "grrrr" when I hear someone say "but we're all empaths!".


No. No we are not.


In general, everyone has the ability to empathise. We all have the ability to feel empathy - it is what makes tribes, friends, communities, work together. Empathy is the ability to understand, feel and reflect someone else's feeling or situation on an emotional level. It's a beautiful thing, and we need more of it.


Empaths, on the other hand, are extra-sensory in this area. Almost like an emotional intuition. Often, without even knowing it, empaths can feel the emotions of someone who may be in the same house but in a completely different room. An empath can feel the emotions of someone without even seeing, or hearing them.


It is almost like a natural state of emotional hyper-awareness.


It is NOT TO BE CONFUSED with someone who has poor emotional boundaries. I want to make this point clear, because often we can be off-handedly accused of this. You can't shut-off being an empath by strengthening your boundaries.


You can, however, learn to discern what is yours, what is someone else's, and move through it without taking it on as your own.


Some would call this a boundary, but it's more about having a solid seat inside of Self. Of personal sovereignty.


It may be true that Empaths in general have weaker and more fluid boundaries (sometimes NO boundaries!) and this is because their boundaries, or sense of self, needs to be much stronger than the defined normal, because they are hyper-aware and hyper-sensitive to emotional energies (this in turn can increase awareness of spiritual energies as well).


Empathy is considered a learned trait, however more recent studies show that empathy is actually also determined by genetic factors. You can "learn" to be an empath, AND you can be born an empath.


Unfortunately, and it is my experience, studies show that many empaths were made due to traumatic events or living in unsafe conditions. The survival response was to develop incredible hyper-awareness of their emotional environment in order to anticipate what was coming and to stay safe.


I am always wary of labels, so be aware of clinging to the identity and the label "Empath". Clinging to any kind of definition can put you in a box that may not allow you to grow, heal or be anything else (this is why I don't call myself an Empath).


I'm not a psychological or neurological expert on empaths. There are others working that field! My interest is, whether you label yourself as an empath or not, is working with people who experience high emotional sensitivity to others to liberate themselves from being emotional dumping grounds. To master themselves and their emotions, to recognise what is not theirs, and to work with their extraordinary empathy to their benefit, and gain leadership within their own lives or their community.


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 I acknowledge and pay my respect to the traditional custodians of this land, past, present, and future. I work on Jali land in the Bundjalung Nation and

acknowledge this land was never ceded. I acknowledge all lineage as custodians of this planet, for those who have forgotten and those who remember. 

© 2020 Melanie Tongmar  |