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What Is An Empath?

Updated on July 28, 2011

Empaths Vs. Energetically Sensitivie People

It is still a common thought that an empath is any person who is sensitive to the energies of the world. This is a common misconception that is born mostly through misunderstandings. Many people are born to be naturally sensitive to energies and emotions, which is a common trait of an empath, though they are not truly empaths, they are ESP's (energetically sensitive persons).

To an empath, these ESP's are often thought of as "seedlings", as they still have a ways to go before truly becoming empaths. Seedlings can and often are any person, as all humans have the seed inside them to become an empath, regardless of whether or not they ever show the ability. It can start at birth or come on strangely in adulthood, but there are no genetic predispositions to the empathic path.

An ESP has the traits of a clairsentient, which means "clear feeling". They can feel and often directly experience the emotions and physical pains of anyone around them or often those who are far away that they have a strong connection with. They usually have a decent gift of intuition as well, giving them various psychic traits. These are usually the qualifications of the misinformation spread - that if you have these abilities you are an empath.

An empath however, has learned to control their abilities as opposed to being controlled by their abilities. This is often where a person starts to view their abilities as gifts instead of curses.

What an Empath Really Is

What is an Empath really? Here are some definitions I would give to what an empath really is:

1. A person who has made the choice to become an Empath and follow the path

2. A person who embraces their empathic path and continues to study, practice and learn

3. A person who seeks to keep the balance of the energies of the universe

4. A person who guides others to heal themselves and the world around them (as opposed to a person who uses their own abilities to directly heal people).

I feel that these traits really make the difference between an ESP and an Empath. An ESP or Seedling. Someone who is an ESP, is usually very sensitive to the emotions and energies around other people and it often causes chaotic and uncontrolled events. An ESP does not usually see the reason behind helping others heal themselves vs. simply healing others. An ESP is also susceptible to vampyrism and often find themselves misusing their gifts and abilities through inexperience, convenience or the allure of power.

Many ESP's never become Empaths. They often find themselves drifting almost aimlessly through the world, even if they consider themselves to be empaths because of some misinformation they read, that led them to believe that being sensitive to energies or being able to heal - meant that they already were empaths.

How does one become an empath?

Often an ESP will feel the call to follow the empathic path, but it is important to remember that no empath is forced to follow the path. It is voluntary, where being sensitive to energies is often a built in ability. So the way to become an empath, is to first choose to be an empath. This is important because it means that you no longer deny that you have gifts and abilities, and it means that you accept the path in front of you and that you are beginning to fully embrace that path.

The hard part, is that an empath must accept the role of being a neutral party. We are neither fully good nor fully bad. Just as the world is made up of a balance of negative and positive energies, so are we. This is where many get confused on their path. They often feel that simply calling themselves empaths is the choice and that by using their abilities they have embraced the empathic path.

To truly accept your path, to truly CHOOSE that path, you must choose the path of balance - the Path of an Empath. Yes we are healers. Yes we are energetically sensitive. Yes we can do some amazing things. But a true empath takes into account the consequences of the healing they do. They practice being aware of all energies and respectful of where they take energies from. They are vigilant not to get out of balance, either on the side of good or bad.

Make the choice to be a being of balance in this world and you make the choice to be an empath. It's not an easy path to embrace, but it can bring you the ultimate serenity in your world.


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    • BizGenGirl profile image

      Bema Self 6 years ago from Seattle

      You all rock for the wonderful comments! I can't say thank you enough. Is there anything further on the subject on Empath's that I can cover? Any requests?

    • BizGenGirl profile image

      Bema Self 6 years ago from Seattle

      Thank you CreativeButterly! It's nice to meet more professional/experienced Empath's here on hubpages, and to know that I clearly defined the role and traits well. I've had the pleasure of meeting and helping to train/develop a lot of Empath's in my life, and I felt it was time for a more thorough piece that didn't just describe an empath as a "sensitive" person. =)

    • BizGenGirl profile image

      Bema Self 6 years ago from Seattle

      The funny thing is, both "empath" and "empathy" mean "in-suffering" when you break down the latin roots. The rough translation is "feeling the suffering"

    • BizGenGirl profile image

      Bema Self 6 years ago from Seattle

      Thanks Love to Read! I'm glad it make sense from an outside perspective, that kind of feedback is so useful =)

    • creativebutterfly profile image

      creativebutterfly 6 years ago from Florida USA

      Good Hub, I have been a practicing empath most of my life and you have done a good job bringing this out.

    • Terri Meredith profile image

      Terri Meredith 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Good job with your explanation of an empath. All human beings are born with psychic abilities and the many variations associated. I spend most of my time trying to explain to others that these "gifts" are not just for "special" people. We all have them. Embracing them and determining to use them for the right purposes is the challenge. With acknowledgment of these abilities comes great responsibility to self and our fellow human beings. Very well done!

    • haikutwinkle profile image

      haikutwinkle 6 years ago

      I really like this hubpage ;) well done!

    • profile image

      Ying-Yang 6 years ago

      Thank-you so much. This is the exact information I have been looking for. My journey to becoming an empath has begun. I finally have a feeling of peace and joy... little bit of fear too! As I embrace my gifts to help others.

    • Loves To Read profile image

      Loves To Read 6 years ago

      BizGengirl, thank you for your answer. I will look forward to your next hub.

      On the subject of women and pain. Your answer is certainly in line with my way of thinking. In matters of internal pain we are definitely the stronger sex. However in external matters where there is some injury to show, men handle that better. I think it is a look at me, thing.he he he

      God Bless

    • BizGenGirl profile image

      Bema Self 6 years ago from Seattle

      Thank you for the wonderful comments you two!

      @Loves to Read, you ask a very good question! Though the answer is both simple and complex and I think I'll write another hub about it, so I can get a bit more in depth than the comments section will allow.

      @SubRon, it sounds like your ESP gifts are definitely active. As for men and women with pain, women definitely do have a higher pain tolerance, which is given to them because of the child-birthing process. This is probably why you sensed more pain from your brother-in-law then your sister, as it has a lot to do with how intensely the person in question is feeling the pain. Your sister probably was not as bothered by her pain as your brother in law was, so it didn't bother you as much with her. Though it could just be the mentality as you suggested.. I never discount a possible answer =)

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 6 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      The word Empath seems to come from empathy. Recently my brother-in-law had double knee surgery. When I went to visit him I could almost "feel" his pain, and I felt so sorry for him. My sister said "You didn't feel sorry for me when I had it done." True, it was different, but I believe women can take pain better and more easily than men.

    • Loves To Read profile image

      Loves To Read 6 years ago

      I have never heard of an Empath before but you have done a good job of explaining it.

      Although many people are gifted in different ways and are truly great at what they do, like healing or guiding others. I do have to ask where these people think their gifts came from.

      God Bless