How an Empath Feels
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Tilt.
One of TomÂ Pettyâ€™s Â songs Â that Iâ€™ve always Â liked is â€œYou Donâ€™t Know How It Feelsâ€ (to be me). Most people do feel alone or lonely or angry or depressed, and they think theyâ€™re all alone in their feelings. Some people wonder how other people feel.
Letâ€™s go deeper than that. Not how does someone feel about you personally, but how do they feel. Whatâ€™s it like toÂ experience Â life Â in Â theirÂ skin, Â with Â their Â funky Â brain chemicals and their dire circumstances and their baggage. You can imagine how they feel or how you would handle an Â emotional Â catalyst in their situation, Â but itâ€™s still not them and itâ€™s insulting to them when you think you could do Â oh-so-much-better.Â Â Right Â down Â to Â the Â way Â theyâ€™re wired, they feel things differently from how you feel them or how I feel them. Itâ€™s the nature of being human…this sense Â of Â coming, Â leaving, Â and Â being Â in Â this Â world Â all alone, no matter how many people are around us.
As humans, we tend to be trapped in our own bodies, our own feelings, our own isolation surrounded Â by walls of our own flesh. Thatâ€™s another reason Iâ€™m so fascinated with this gift of empathyâ€”it Â allows me to connect with other people (intended or not) in a way that crosses these physical barriers. Sometimes it gives me a rather frighteningly Â clear Â understanding Â of Â other Â people, Â to Â a Â point where I can just let them be who they are becauseÂ I do understand, really understand, what they never show any- one else. Empathy goes a long way toward unconditional acceptanceÂ of another human being whoâ€™s simply being human.
Iâ€™ve only recently, Â since Â being Â introduced Â to energy healings and Bio-Genesis, come to understand what being an empath is. I realize now that Iâ€™ve probably always been empathic, and that probably attributed to my codependence. Most of the time, my Â sympathy Â and compassion made it way too easy to see someone Â elseâ€™s Â view- point or realize how much theyâ€™d be hurt if I did what _I_ wanted to do versus what they wanted me to do, and so I spent a lot of years surrendering to their needs.
Thatâ€™s why I could not really focus on my own healing process and Â divorce grief until my ex physically left the house, because his own Â energy Â was so dark at the time and it was too easy to worry about his Â feelings and his healing instead of my own.
Fortunately for me, this gift is shifting from indirect to direct. With that shift, Iâ€™ve left behind more codependent tendencies than I ever dreamed I could. Now instead of taking on the outer waves of their feelings and getting sucked Â in, Â I Â can Â plunge Â directly Â into Â the Â source Â and feel…literally…what someone else feels.
Ever wonderedÂ if other people see colors the same way you do? Itâ€™s like that.
I donâ€™t do it often. I rarely do it intentionally and then onlyÂ if theyâ€™ve given Â me Â permission to share those feelings. I have Â to â€œshieldâ€ Â to Â keep Â most Â people Â from dragging me into their undertow.
But what is it like to feel another personâ€™s emotions? Very different from feeling my own. With some, theyâ€™re very even in their feelings. No peaks or valleys and, to me, a little dull and way too detached. Other people have the same level of intensity that I do, yes, but it feels different.
Iâ€™m an emotional person. Iâ€™m openly emotional. I let it spill out Â everywhere. I live in my emotions and need to express them openly and not apologize for feeling either love or anger. Itâ€™s detrimental to my health when I hold it in.
Iâ€™ve felt different levels of emotional empathy. Itâ€™s one thing to feel a huge weight on my shoulders when some- oneâ€™s too stressed emotionally Â or to feel a heaviness in the Â Â Â Â Â chest Â Â when Â Â they Â Â Â Â haveÂ Â Â heart Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â problems. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Thatâ€™s like…petting a small animal and soothing Â it. But experiencing the emotion from the inside of the animal, from how that person experiences it, is both disturbing and fascinating to me. And always enlightening.
So how does it feel? Usually I relate it back to some- thing in my Â own emotional Â frame Â of reference. Â Yes, Â I know the physical Â feelingÂ of Â pain after open-heart Â surgery. I felt it with my dad and it stunned me. Â Just one pang was quite enough. And when he was near death, my extremities and then my arms and legs started to throb from the cold as his body started to shut down and serve only Â his Â vital Â organs. Â But Â even Â as Â frightening Â as Â that wasâ€”and Â no Â one Â to Â talk Â to Â about Â itâ€”those Â were Â his physical aches and not his emotional aches.
The emotional is far worse.
Before I realized I was an empath, I connected with someone Â during a healing serviceâ€”and Â it literally drove me to my knees to feel his emotions. I recognized Â them from my own broken-heartedness Â of Â two years before. But it was the intensity that forced me to sit down and clutch my chest because I could barely breathe.
Iâ€™ve felt other things, too, from peopleâ€”things that I could relate to…anxiety, dread, total fear. Those emotionsÂ made me understand them so well. Theyâ€™d seemed aloof, distant, arrogant.
That was Â how Â they Â wore Â their Â fear. Â And Â Iâ€™ve Â felt waves of love that just canâ€™t be put into words but to my knowledge that emotion has never been shown. And Iâ€™ve been able to accept Â and let go of Â disappointments Â be- cause of what I knew to be true even though it Â wasnâ€™t physically evident. From the inside out, I discovered the depth of their feelings.
I recently connectedÂ with someone Â whose emotions were so Â discordant, Â I have yet to name the emotion. Â I donâ€™t Â recognize Â it,Â but Â itâ€™s intriguing. Â A mix Â of Â strong yearning, frustration, a little anger, a little Â depression, Â a glimmer of love, determination. A nervous jangle of everything at once. And noisy. So noisy and jarring. Iâ€™d never experienced Â anything Â quite like it and I had to wonder how this man could function with all this discordance underneath.
And it was a complete surprise!
Itâ€™s a backward analogy, but something about the experience Â reminded me of submerging myself in a swimming pool and looking up through the water, the barrier muffling the shouts of children and splashing around and noise Â above Â the Â water, Â seeing Â him Â smile Â and Â his Â lips move, but I donâ€™t hear whatâ€™s really said. This is how it is whenever I talk to him and it seems peaceful. Submerging into his emotions is like bursting upward through the water and suddenly hearing all the noiseâ€”and itâ€™s no longer muffled and itâ€™s very clear and sharp.
Sometimes too jagged.
And itâ€™s the real him.
The real Â personâ€”complete Â with Â all Â the Â painâ€”that only he can feel…or only an empath could know.