Updated: Apr 15

All humans have the ability to show empathy. (Unless they are soulless humans - which is not what is being discussed here.) So in a way to say you are an Empath could be stating the obvious.

But here when referring to Empath’s, we are focussing on the individual who has begun to identify with the term 'Empath' as a title. Perhaps as a profession, role, person- set apart, special or gifted; Someone who shares with others the fact that they have extra sensitivity to show or feel empathy. So much so, that they put themselves in the role of adviser and guide and through this, is experiencing a state of imbalance.

Just for clarity, Let’s first understand the terms that are used in this article.

Empathy: The ability to share and understand the feelings of another.

Empath: A term derived by the New Age Movement for someone who possesses extra abilities to show or feel empathy on a higher level than others.

Spiritual Bypassing: A "tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks". To use spirituality to avoid, suppress, or escape from uncomfortable issues unresolved or even recognised in your life.

Boundaries: A line which marks the limit of an area; a dividing line.

Empathy is a by-product of our earthly condition and experience. How much you decide to feel depends entirely on you. It’s all well and good, caring and instinctual to show empathy but what we must be aware of is when this empathy or this care becomes unbalanced and unhealthy.

What does unbalanced & unhealthy empathy look like?

Usually some of the first signs from someone who identifies as an Empath and is experiencing difficulties, is exhaustion. A sense of being overwhelmed, unappreciated & depressed, and his is due mainly to ego. Ok hear me out. I hear all the Empaths out there screaming at me.

I have observed many people who Identify themselves as “Empaths”, and yet are unable to bear the weight and perceived pressure of this self-imposed (egoic )title, when they don't have to. It sometimes reminds me of the religious discipline of flagellation priests would inflict on themselves.

Most struggle with this self ordained burden of being an Empath, showing signs of being perpetually sick, negative, frustrated, anxious & exhausted from the illusory responsibility. By declaring the words “I am an Empath” with a capital e, one is literally allowing and speaking out to the universe, to spirit (our life force) that you are desiring to take on, that, which is not yours. That which belongs to someone else.

Remember all emotion that is experienced in one's life is directly related to cause and effect. To Karma - the necessary balancing. Therefore allowing and almost desiring to want and to accept another’s emotional cargo is a brave soul indeed.

To be clear. When you take on the aspects and the definitions of something i.e. The Empath, unless you have specifically and internally defined where that role begins and ends for you, through your own intimate processing, then you are, by the very use of the word, stepping into and telling spirit and universe that the aspects of what an Empath is & does, is what you want for your life. And all that comes with it. Usually these aspects are decided by society, culture or conditioning. Not you.

The declaration of the statement "I am an empath. I take on & feel at an extraordinary level the emotions of others” is huge.

Is it any wonder that "Empaths" struggle under the weight & strain of what they have asked for. They are expressing their free will. It is not the work for Spirit or Higher Self to decide for you what is right or wrong or what parts you want or don't want. Spirit responds to what is asked. HS responds to what is requested. So either way it’s on you.

In addition, you are declaring you have a pretty heavy title to carry. Your authentic self (identity) is being challenged and is now aligning with and taking on the rules of the empath game.

Even titles and roles are their own entity and game, that come with their own set of rules.

When you state that you are an empath you have created an entity that is now alive and has a right to life, as you have created it. A thought becomes a thought-form. A thought-form becomes a life-form, that has a right to life. Every thought becomes its own dimension in time.

Why would we do this? This is where the truth of it comes in.

Either from a sense of ‘specialness’ or from a wounded inner child, the ego will convince you of your extra unique abilities to be an Empath, believing that it sets you apart from others with a sense of superiority. This can be a symptom of Spiritual Bypassing.

To many people, spirituality becomes a sort of crutch used as a way of standing back up again in the face of life’s turmoil – and sometimes this is necessary. We all need support at some time or another in our lives. But the problem comes when spirituality is used as a drug for which we become dependent on in order to bypass the darker elements of our lives. by Aletheia Luna

In actuality the term “Empath” really need not exist.

Every person if so desired could have the ability to show extraordinary amounts of empathy.

To claim to have super-human levels of empathy, to the point of it crushing a person and their ability to move in their lives, is unhealthy.

The act of anything that is producing this much effect needs to be looked at. A balanced ability to show and express empathy that keeps us happy and at peace is ideal. Rather than take a title that in itself adds expectation, being kind and present is often enough.

In the active and integral form of showing empathy, a person will be able to walk beside someone, support, show kindness and genuine care, yet understand the difference between showing support and where the boundary is for taking on (sometimes willingly from unconscious need for control or affirmation) what is not theirs to take on.

One of the most integral examples of showing empathy is to allow another to discover for themselves what it is to have empathy for oneself and to love oneself and enter into authentic self work, owning their traumas, losses, behaviours, triggers, responses and projections, in order for them to evolve. It is empowering to own ones decisions and internally created realities.

Whether you are supporting as a friend, family member, partner or especially in a facilitator or professional role, remember it is not our place to make decisions or impress our opinions on others or clients. (side note: if a client is demanding that we give them answers this is indeed a good place to start the questioning.)

What one believes is right, based on their own internal referencing, behaviours, systems of belief, unhealed wounds (that trigger their responses) and stage of healing and awakening has nothing to do with the way that another may see it.

Each person will have unique solutions that will mirror their unique questions.

When we get closer to healing the big wounds, clearing traumas and becoming less at the mercy of them and their subconscious reactions, we ultimately become closer to Zero Point. Non reactional. Balanced, without judgement, healed and in flow. See diagram below.

As we begin to surrender and let go of the Matrix constructs, we see that other people’s lives, choices, emotions, hurts, relationships etc, are not ours and slowly we find that we have released ourselves from one of societies' biggest traps. As a consequence, it will not even occur to us to impress ourselves upon another or take on what’s not ours.

The need for titles or boundaries will not even come into it. The whole act of caring will be heart centred and healthy for all parties involved, where each knows what is theirs to be responsible for.

However, it’s a journey for all humans and the ability and desire to witness and awaken to ones own reality is the first step.

Try to witness yourself. Take a look deeply into the way you manage your actions and responses.

Ask yourself. Why do you need to take on others trials? Does it make you feel helpful? Does it make you feel in control? If you find yourself saying. “I don’t ask for it, it just happens” then ask yourself “why does it keep happening?” Because we are not here to take on the work of others. Only our own. One can sit with another in love, respect and care, without taking on another's stuff.

So, this is the real work. Understanding yourself and truly discovering the difficult things, the hurt parts of you, the anger, the loss of control, the traumas, the coping mechanisms that you have constructed and carry within you, from this lifetime and others.

Ask yourself do I need them? Why do I need them? How are they helping me?

For those that really do have a healthy knowing that their path is to support others or to create space for others to heal in, do your own investigations first.

Learn what you can about yourself, do the courageous, layer by layer work. The kind of work that leaves you crumpled in a ball on the floor. The work that requires the stripping away of guilt, shame, grief, loss, trauma, patterns and belief systems. So that when you sit in this privileged role, no matter what capacity; you are balanced, non-judgemental, real and grounded.

It is from your own deep work that you can let go of any spiritual or societal titles and just be there, providing a moment with them in a safe place and love in your heart, knowing that the person sitting in front of you can do it for themselves too.

by Nicki May

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