Word of the Month: Empath

Dave Zapatka

Born in fiction novels and movies, this month’s word of the month, “empath,” has found its way into the field of psychology and common vernacular. Derived from the Greek “em” (in) and “pathos” (feeling), the term empath means one who is able to feel into others’ thoughts and feelings.

Empaths are highly sensitive, finely-tuned individuals when it comes to thoughts and emotions. They possess the ability to sense others on many different levels. Empaths perceive physical sensitivities and emotions, pick up on others’ thoughts and sense others’ spiritual urges, motivations and intentions. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world.

Empaths are often quiet achievers. They may take a while to internalize a compliment and are more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes. They make strong emotional connections and are willing to speak openly and frankly.

Talking things out is an important emotional release for empaths. They develop a depth of understanding of others and strive to create peace in situational relationships.

Empaths are sensitive to violence and emotional drama. They may easily be brought to tears or feel physically sick. As an empath becomes more attuned, this effect heightens, which may cause the empath to eventually stop watching TV and reading newspapers.

Empaths may be excellent storytellers due to an acute imagination, inquisitive mind and ever-expanding knowledge. They may be gentle romantics at heart.

They have a broad interest in music to suit their many expressive temperaments. Others ask how empaths can listen to one style of music and within minutes change to something entirely different. Empaths can become lost in music to the point of being in a trance-like state. They may describe this feeling as an out-of-body experience where everything else becomes visceral.

Empaths may project an incredible amount of energy. People of all walks of life and animals are attracted to their energy, warmth and genuine compassion. Whether people are aware of someone being empathic or not, they are drawn to them with magnetic resonance.

Empaths are excellent listeners. They may be outgoing, enthusiastic, a joy to be in the presence of and humorous in unusual moments. Complete strangers find it easy to talk to empaths about very personal issues and may in short order pour out their hearts and souls. On a subconscious level that person knows instinctively that the empath will listen with compassionate understanding.

Empaths are often problem solvers, contemplative thinkers and students of many disciplines. Empaths frequently think where there’s a problem, there’s an answer. They may search until they find a solution even if it’s only for their own peace of mind. This proves beneficial for others in their relationships.

Look for Empath Part II in next month’s WOTM column.

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