Empathy: Gift or Curse?

Empathy: Gift or Curse?

Empaths often grow up being extremely perceptive of the emotions of others, but tend to pretend like they are not so others do not become uncomfortable. However, once people start to realize you understand without them having to explain emotions, it is often a relief. Others often see an empath as someone who understands more than anyone else. This can help us connect with others on deeper emotional levels. It can lead us to do great things like root for the underdog and help others who are hurting, but at times, the empathy can feel like a curse.

Empathy and Intuition

Empathy is the ability to feel the emotions of others like they belong to you. Intuition is the ability to understand something without reason. If you have these two abilities then it is almost like a sixth sense of processing the emotions of others with little or no conversation. For example, you may be able to walk into a situation and know something is off only later to find out the leader was highly stressed and panicking. Though you may not know the direct cause of the feeling, you still feel panic and stress within yourself, as if it is your own.

Although empathy and intuition are not the same, when combined, they create an almost constant emotional turmoil state for the person who is surrounded by people who are emotionally needy or unhealthy. In today’s world, empathy then feels like a curse. There is so much sadness, anger, and even hate in the world and taking on that feeling is difficult. The good news is that empathy is an emotion and responses to emotions can be controlled within ourselves.

Controlling Empathy

The most obvious solution is to not allow yourself to be emotionally drained by staying out of places that drain you. Most empathetic people avoid the news, conflict ridden conversations, and spending extended time with emotionally draining people, but it is not fair to be so limiting just because feelings are hard to deal with. It is not healthy for an empath to suppress uncomfortable feelings, even if it is easier. Instead, we must control our responses to empathy like we do other emotions.

For an empath, being around someone who is sad makes you sad, but once you practice being around sad people enough, you learn to deal with the emotion indirectly. You learn to separate empathetic feelings from personal feelings. This takes patience and practice and facing the outside world. Another way to control the response is by having a direct conversation with others whose feelings are affecting you. While it may be tempting to simply ignore the situation, this leads to resentment. Instead, talk to the person to help resolve the feeling.

Empathy as a Gift

Though empathy often feels like a curse, it should be appreciated as a gift. It pushes us to live outside our comfort zone and grow. We may be afraid, but can move forward in that fear and overcome. Empathy should be embraced to help those around. We have the choice.