21 Apr 2016

Empathy: The definitive guide

No one is born an empath. We learn Empathy through personal experiences.

We can see this in children. A child whose ice cream melted and fell on the ground will empathise with another child who has the same experience. A child who received an unwanted gift at Christmas, will empathise with someone else in a similar situation. A child who has been bullied, will be able to empathise with a child who is going through the same experience.

In fact, we do recognise that children are not naturally empathic, and good mentors will always assist the child in learning one or more lessons from each experience, so that they can empathise with others when appropriate. For example, if the child plays a competitive game, and their team loses the match and their friend on the opposing team taunts them, an attentive advisor (whether parent, family, family friend, teacher, or whatever else) will not only make the child feel better by way of encouragement, but will also help the child reflect on their feelings, so that s/he will be more “empathic” when the roles are reversed. So for example one would say “Aw, it doesn’t feel good that he’s taunting you, does it? But you played a good game even if you lost. So, now you know what your friend feels like when you win and then taunt him. Maybe next time you can say something to make your friend feel better …” or something of the sort.

We can easily see how Empathy is not innate, but it is learnt. There are therefore degrees of Empathy. The greater the personal experience, the higher the degree of Empathy and the capability to learn an important positive lesson. Let’s spend a few words on the general details. Let us divide them into two categories: Basic, and Advanced, and then we will look at Empathy over multiple life-times. This while making the assumption that there varying depths and degrees to each.

 

Basic Empathy:

The basic of emotions are those related to physical symptoms, and what we actually feel. They will tend to be raw, even primordial, and the subtle differences between the various nuances of specific emotions will not be evident.

This is usually one of the first signs that we are empaths.

This is the scary period. We only have a small bank of emotional information through personal experience, and yet our Soul’s journey impels us to start using our limited knowledge to spread the Love that only comes through Understanding.

First of all, the good news. At this stage we don’t pick up all emotions, only the ones we can relate to.

However, the aspiring Empath, will still be able to pick up many NEW emotions. And this is what causes issues to most. The new emotions are confusing, and not very accurate, and need to be interpreted. Fear and Excitement, for example, have very similar physical symptoms, but are intrinsically very different. Similarly, there are diferent degrees of emotions, such as love with a lower case l and LOVE in upper case letters. And even XXX Love, and many other kids.

This stage is when it’s easiest to block off other people’s emotion. It is possible for the aspiring Empath to put themselves in a bubble, and shield away from any potential disruptive emotion. Sometimes this is done spiritually, i.e. by grounding, placing ourselves in a bubble of light, etc. Sometimes this is done physically, i.e. by shutting ourselves away, using drugs and drink to dull the sense, or any other “trick” we may use to create that invisible protection that we feel we need.

The inevitable consequence of this turmoil is that because we do go through this experience, we grow into being better Empaths as our wealth of experience is earning interest!

Once aspiring Empaths overcome this issue, and embrace their Divine Gift of Empathy, it is possible move on to the next stage.

Advanced Empathy

Let us take a child that falls in the mud. On an occasion the child finds it fun, ends up rolling in the mud and laughing. When the child has the same experience with a friend, the child will behave expecting the same kind of experience, and their friend is likely to absorb this energy and expectations. Now let us say that this same child slips on some mud, while having fun rolling in it, falls and is hurt. This will put the whole thing into a new perspective. Our experience is added to the overall emotional library of our life so far.

Now let’s take it a step further. Let us say that the child’s friend quite insensitively makes fun of the child for getting hurt. Again, this is added to our experience. And at the next iteration, when the friend is hurt, the child will have the opportunity to either make fun of them, or be kind like he would have liked to have been treated.

It is therefore possible to conclude that the more of these experiences we go through, the more fine-tuned our understanding of each emotional state, and we will be the better equipped to help those who go through similar experiences.

Although this in-depth learning is a good factor in our Empathic development, what really makes it advanced is not for the faint of heart.

To be an advanced Empath, one must be willing to embrace any emotions, new or old, and to learn from them and further advance their knowledge.

There is no protection at this stage This is, at least Spiritually speaking, the point of no return.

Empathy through multiple lives

On the long road to eternity trekked by our Souls, a lifetime is the equivalent of an amusing county fayre, a welcoming B&B, or a holiday resort. So, there is no reason why our Souls might not have been, or will not be, another being. We could have been an Inca, or an African leader, or a Chinese Merchant, an Italian painter, or a Pirate. We could have been Angels. We could have been ancient gods. Or even aliens.

It must be remembered, though, that even those who have seen their past lives either through Life Regression, or through Epiphany, only see those lives that are understandable to them at a specific stage in their human life.

This has two important implications. The first is that we are only given what we can understand, or what is going to trigger us into remembering important lessons we have learnt on other lives. The second is that our development is limited by our own human reality.

We are born with little memory of our Souls. For us, in our present form, to be able to use the experiences of our Souls, we must be able to understand them. And our ability to understand is limited by the learning during the current lifetime.

The older the Soul, the more the experiences, the more difficult it is to catch up with all the knowledge.

To facilitate this catching up process, our Souls can give us knowledge as long as we can understand it. So, sometimes experiences trigger this exchange of information where we end up knowing things we don’t have any reason to know.

In this manner, the advanced Empath, will eventually gain knowledge of emotions for which there are no experiences in the current lifetime to justify this knowledge.

The one thing to bear in mind, is that empathic people are usually old Souls, and Empathy is a symptom of all the lessons that our Soul has learnt on its spiritual journey. The greater the level of empathy, the older the Soul.

Shutting ourselves off is counterproductive, as it makes us deny who we are and the essence of our Soul and personality. Denying or shutting down our Empathy ends up having the same effects as overprotective parents have on their children, and it skews our perspective on life.

We have an amazing gift that can help us make the world a better place, and we should embrace it with all our heart and passion. 

On a positive note, advanced Empathy also enables us to share the good feelings that people have. Regrettably, when we are buried under the weight of huge amounts of negative emotions this escapes our attention

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In the next article, the 6 habits of a Happy Empath, we will look at how we can use the knowledge gained so far to accept the It is the role of the empath to give Empathy and Love to those who need it; to fulfill the duty of the Empath to learn and educate others, and to be a Happy Empath.