Ask an Empath: Music and Emotions
Question: I have figured out that I am an empath. I don’t know much about it and I am still learning. But songs seem to have a really deep effect on me. Does anyone else have problems with emotions and music, or is it just me?
I assure you it’s not just you.
Music has always been near and dear to my heart. I don’t have the amazing talent that many of my friends do, musically, but both creating music and listening to music can draw emotions out of me that nothing else can, both willingly and unwillingly.
From the tone of your question, I’m assuming you’re having trouble with sad songs. I have the same problem. It’s not always songs that are sad–in and of themselves–that will make me tear up, although many will. But sometimes songs that remind me of a particular time and place can take me immediately back to that spot. I cannot listen to Fisher’s “I Will Love You” without feeling distraught because of where and when I heard the song last–even though it was a very good moment at the time. Hearing it now takes me back to that place and the sadness of no longer having that particular friendship. There are other songs like “Say Something, I’m Giving Up on You” that I associate with a particularly emotional, in a bad way, time in my life. And I can’t listen to it even now without going back to that spot.
On a somewhat lighter note, I cannot listen to Wall of Voodoo’s “I’m on a Mexican Radio” without feeling nauseated because I was sick at a friend’s house the first time I heard it. I haven’t had a Sloe Gin Fizz since!
Sometimes, it’s not even the song itself, but the singer and the timbre of his or her voice that reaches out to me. The singer pours his emotions into the lyrics and it’s very easy for me to tap into, whether I mean to or not.
Music seems to have this ability, to some degree, on all people–empathic or not. It’s not just something to play in the background. It is, indeed, a mood shifter. I’ve seen beautiful, but depressing songs turn perfectly pleasant women into sad, see-no-positive-in-anything people. I’ve seen perfectly pleasant men turn irritated and downright hateful listening to music that I will only describe here as “angry.”
I watched this happen before my eyes: two happy, positive people who immersed themselves in certain types of music so that they could wallow in the emotions that were evoked. In both types of music, the songs, in moderation, had little effect on them. In those two cases, both people used music to put themselves into a certain mood. Ones that they could not drag themselves out of.
The fact that music can shift your mood so quickly is both good news and bad news. We’ve already covered the bad news.
Here’s how music can best benefit you as an empath: in cases where you have connected with someone who is sad, angry, suicidal–whatever–and you need to help break that connection, create a special playlist of songs to break the spell.
Bad day at work? On the way home, start up your playlist of songs you can belt out in the car. Fire up your old time rock ‘n roll, your silly songs, your classical music, your whatever it is that makes you feel empowered. Keep that playlist available as a secret weapon and let the music work its magic on your mood.