Truths & Myths About Empaths

Truth: The first and most important truth is that there is such a thing as an empath

When someone denies the existence of empathy, it’s because they lack the ability to feel and understand the emotions of others like an empath does. So, they can’t comprehend how it’s possible to perceive the world through this lens.

Empaths should not feel personally attacked when others try to discredit or dismiss the term “empath.” It’s because some people find it difficult to understand and perceive an empath’s unique abilities, which can sometimes appear mysterious or inexplicable. But this lack of understanding doesn’t negate the fact that empaths truly exist.

Empaths are individuals with a natural and intuitive ability to sense and read the emotions and energy of not just other people, but also everything around them. This heightened sensitivity to stimuli enables them to feel energy deeply within themselves and perceive things that others often cannot. Empaths have an uncanny ability to pick up on the emotional states of others, even if they are not explicitly expressed, as well as detect shifts in the energy of a space or environment.

Moreover, empaths often have a strong sense of intuition and can detect when something is not quite right or when someone is not being truthful. They may also have a deep connection with nature and be able to feel the energy of plants, animals, and even the earth itself.

People who belittle or mock the term “empath” may not believe in the power of energy to create seemingly magical things. However, this is most likely because they haven’t studied or experienced it fully themselves. To experience things that may seem impossible or magical, one needs to keep an open mind and actively seek out knowledge to understand how energy works. Ultimately, one needs to believe in the possibility that such things can happen.

The human tendency to fear the unknown and unfamiliar can restrict the mind’s capacity to comprehend that there is much more to everything than what can be perceived with the naked eye. People tend to cling to what they already know and are comfortable with, which can create a resistance to new or different ideas, perspectives, and experiences. This can ultimately hinder personal growth and limit one’s ability to expand their understanding of the world and the people within it.

Below are some truths and misconceptions regarding empaths.

Truth: Empaths may easily become drained due to spending time with other people.

The exhaustion resulting from their empathic abilities can often be difficult for both empaths and those around them to fully grasp and comprehend. Empaths are akin to sponges as they have a natural propensity to absorb the energy of everything they encounter. Even if they take every protective measure to guard their own energy, they will inevitably absorb the energy from people, animals, and even inanimate objects in their vicinity. This constant influx of stimuli can be incredibly exhausting, leading empaths to need a little time alone to recuperate and recharge their energy. Despite how it may appear to others, empaths are not being lazy during this downtime. They are merely taking essential steps to restore balance and equilibrium to their energy levels.

Truth: Empaths almost always see straight through bullsh*t.

While people may attempt to deceive or manipulate empaths through lying or twisting stories, empaths usually have an uncanny ability to discern the truth from falsehood. They possess an intuitive sense that allows them to see through the deception and understand what is really going on. The only time an empath may struggle in this regard is when intense emotions are involved. In these situations, their emotions can cloud their judgment, making it difficult for them to accurately assess the situation. However, once they have calmed down and regained emotional balance, the truth of the matter will become clear to them, often in a sudden and unexpected way.

Myth: All empaths are good people.

Merely possessing empathic abilities does not automatically make someone a good person, nor does it guarantee that they will embark on a more profound spiritual journey, or that they will always act with purity, virtue, or enlightenment in mind. Empaths are, at their core, simply human beings, subject to the same complexities and imperfections as everyone else. Depending on the circumstances of their lives, they can exhibit a wide range of behaviors and emotions, including both positive and negative qualities. Empaths are not angelic beings who radiate pure, positive energy at all times. Like anyone else, they have off days and don’t strive for a perfectly faultless existence. Despite this, empaths are fundamentally authentic individuals who rarely attempt to deceive or manipulate others through artificial personas or facades.

Myth: Empaths are always empathetic. 

Often people confuse the term “empath” with “empathetic.” While the two do correlate, they aren’t interchangeable. There are two parts to empathy: the first part is the ability to tune in to what someone else is experiencing, and the second part is to then be empathetic with the information their senses have offered.

Empaths possess the ability to accurately perceive the emotional climate of a situation, but they may also make a conscious or unconscious decision not to express empathy, depending on the circumstances. It is important to note that empathy is not always the healthiest option for both the giver and receiver of empathy. At times, empaths may choose to detach themselves from a situation if they believe that expressing empathy would not be beneficial. In such instances, empaths tend to show compassion instead.

Compassion and empathy differ in that while empathy involves feeling and understanding another person’s emotions, compassion entails a desire to help that person. Empaths may choose to show compassion instead of empathy when they feel that expressing empathy would not lead to a positive outcome for anyone involved.

There is a common misconception that being highly empathetic is the defining trait of an empath, and that they feel everything so intensely that it can be overwhelming and lead to shutdowns. In reality, this description is more fitting for highly sensitive individuals, and does not accurately capture the true nature of empaths

Empaths not only experience intense sensations, but they also possess the ability to comprehend and interpret the energetic information they receive. This allows them to consciously detach themselves from overwhelming stimuli, especially if they sense that empathizing would only intensify the emotions of the situation.

Empaths have the ability to provide understanding and support to someone without absorbing the intense emotions that the other person is experiencing. For instance, if someone is deeply depressed, it is not helpful for the empath to also feel depressed as it will not benefit either party. Instead, it is more beneficial for the empath to maintain their energy balance and clarity to fully comprehend the emotional state of the person they are interacting with. This allows them to not only gain insight into the other person’s feelings, but also to transmute any negative energy and elevate the vibration to a higher frequency.

Myth: Empaths are attracted to narcissists in the hopes that they can heal them.

intuitively rephrase Usually, one of the main things that attracts empaths to narcissists is that, at first, the empath believes they have met another empath—for an empath, the initial attraction is not based on soothing wounds. Empaths are natural healers, however, when they first meet a narcissist, ironically, it is usually the narcissist who focuses the spotlight on the empaths unhealed wounds—not the other way around.

At first, narcissists may come across as extremely empathetic, and while empaths are typically very perceptive and can quickly gauge people’s intentions, emotions can trigger chemical responses in the brain that can throw them off balance. As a result, rather than seeing things clearly, empaths can be easily swayed into thinking that the narcissist is sincere and caring, and before they know it, they’re trapped in the narcissist’s web of deceit.

Myth: Empaths can also be narcissists.

Empaths are fundamentally different from narcissists who fully meet the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Empaths are inherently selfless, while narcissists are inherently selfish. Although there may be times when empaths act in ways that are self-serving and insensitive to others, this does not mean that they are narcissists.

It is important to note that anyone can behave in harmful ways. However, what sets empaths apart from narcissists is how they take responsibility for their actions, feel remorse, and strive to make amends. Empaths prioritize others, engage in self-reflection, and focus inwardly, while narcissists prioritize themselves (except at the beginning of a relationship), shirk responsibility, project their shortcomings onto others, and focus outwardly.

Myth: Empaths are all introverts.

Some empaths may be introverted, others may be ambiverts, and some may even be extroverted. While it is true that a significant proportion of empaths tend to be introverted, this does not necessarily mean that all empaths are introverted or that introversion is a necessary characteristic for being an empath.

Myth: You can stop being an empath.

Empaths possess a highly sensitive nervous system that detects energy, whether visible or invisible. Despite their best efforts, empaths cannot simply turn off their ability to sense energy. If they try to ignore or deny the influx of energies, it can build up in their energy field and cause them even more pain and suffering. Instead, the most beneficial thing that empaths can do is to learn how to differentiate their own emotions from those of others, so that they can avoid absorbing and internalizing emotional energy that is not their own.

It is important for empaths to embrace their gifts and awaken to their full potential. Empaths have the unique ability to process and transmute negative energies, which can be incredibly valuable in helping others to heal and grow. By recognizing and embracing their gifts, empaths can allow their own energy to flow freely and help others to do the same. Therefore, it is crucial for empaths to learn to manage their abilities and to maintain healthy boundaries, so that they can avoid becoming overwhelmed and burnt out.

Myth: Empaths are all traumatized victims that hide beneath a protective shell.

There is a widespread misconception that empaths are weak, powerless, and co-dependent on others, and that they live in a state of victimhood due to their fear of the world. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although many empaths have faced significant challenges and trauma in their lives, they often bounce back with even greater resilience.

Empaths do not wallow in their pain for long; they take ownership of their part in any dynamic and extract lessons from their experiences. Despite being deeply sensitive, empaths refuse to let their emotions overwhelm them. They muster the strength to move forward fearlessly, even when they feel, sense, and experience every aspect of life intensely and vividly.

In my view, empaths are the strongest individuals precisely because of their sensitivity and resilience. They possess the ability to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and continue to move forward with courage and grace, even in the face of adversity.

Misconceptions and rejection are inevitable aspects of human nature, especially when it comes to things that people do not understand. Fear of the unknown can cause some to downplay the existence of individuals who possess unique qualities or abilities, such as empaths. The presence of someone who appears to be outside the norm can challenge established beliefs and may be perceived as a threat by those who prefer to maintain the status quo.

Many empaths have experienced a lifetime of being wary about how their abilities are perceived by others, and this can lead to a defensive mindset that prevents them from expressing their full selves for fear of judgment, rejection, or isolation. These defense mechanisms act as a protective shield that prevents empaths from revealing certain aspects of their being that may be seen as unconventional or outside of the norm.

Explaining or rationalizing the various aspects of being an empath can be difficult because our society largely values logic, mathematics, and scientific evidence. Despite this, they immediately and deeply connect with the traits and qualities associated with their nature.

While it may be challenging to scientifically understand their energetic experiences and how they intersect and relate with the universe, empaths navigate the world by sensing and feeling rather than relying on external justifications or explanations from experts. They inherently understand and trust their own natural existence.

Alex Myles

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Main Image Pixabay

Authors note: The myths and truths are my perceptions, not universal truths.

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