This is the first of two articles about psychic empathy. Here I’ll define what is empathy in general and what does empathy mean when referring to it as a psychic ability, what it’s like and how I live with it. I’ll also explain why I consider empathy a wonderful psychic gift and not a curse, as I’m sure some people blessed with this ability would probably prefer to call it!
I decided to start out my new website by talking about psychic empathy because it’s “my” natural ability, so to speak, as opposed to other abilities such as clairaudience (which I also feel very fortunate to be blessed with) and clairvoyance (something I don't have naturally – but have indeed been able to develop, as anyone who is interested can also do).
In fact, however, I had never heard of this term before and I had no idea such a thing existed, until I received a reading a while back from a psychic who talked to me about the possibility of doing psychic readings myself.
Her little “introductory trailer” into the concept of intuitive empathy left me intrigued. I wanted to ask her for more information, and talk about this idea in greater detail, but unfortunately she didn’t have a lot to tell me. She herself wasn’t an empath, therefore she had never paid too much attention to this particular characteristic.
So, like any modern, computer-savvy girl of today, I set off to investigate for myself on the internet. There was a lot written out there about this subject from a psychological point of view, such as understanding empathy and methods for developing emotional empathy. But not too many people were writing about this quality from a psychic perspective.
So, in case you happen to be like me and you have also never encountered this idea before, but like me you also find it intriguing, I’ll begin with a short definition of empathy in general, as opposed to the psychic form of this quality.
And then I’ll describe what it feels like to actually be an empath all your life!
Definition of Empathy and Psychic Empathy
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “empathy” as: “the action of understanding, being sensitive to and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another without having these feelings, thoughts, and experience communicated in an explicit manner; also : the capacity for this.”
Some disdainful individuals out there, however, prefer to define the lucky people who possess psychic empathy as simply “hypersensitive”, “cry-babies”, or “temperamental”. This sort of behaviour only serves to point out to the rest of us, nonetheless, just to what extent these particular individuals suffer from a lack of empathy themselves.
Since we’re all human beings, we all have the capacity to imagine what it must feel like to experience different emotions and sensations that others are going through, even though we ourselves may not be experiencing these feelings at the moment (some people obviously more than others, as can be evidenced by the tremendous amount of cruelty and cruel acts which are carried out in the world, but that’s a different subject altogether……).
However, the difference between ordinary empathy and psychic empathy resides in the fact that, apparently, people who possess psychic empathy can just know what it is that another person is feeling or thinking even if the other person isn’t letting on at all.
We can all feel empathy and imagine the pain when we observe someone receiving a shot (ouch!). But it seems that not everyone can become aware of the pain of another if the other one isn’t showing his pain in an obvious fashion, for example by grimacing or screeching!
So, I guess a good way to summarize the meaning of psychic empathy, as opposed to the ordinary kind, could be to say that the psychic empath has the capacity to just simply know, or feel, the emotions, sensations and thoughts of another person even though the other person isn’t giving any indication as to what he is really thinking or feeling. The other person might even try to pretend by expressing the opposite emotion, for example by laughing when he really feels like crying. But even so, the psychic empath just knows that the other person is feigning.
Living With Psychic Empathy
So now, what does it feel like to be an empath every day? What is life like for these people?
Well, for me, it’s like being able to read people’s minds all the time.
It’s like walking into a job interview and just knowing already, even before the first word is uttered, that the interviewer likes you and would like to give you a chance to prove yourself in the interview. Or, on the contrary, that the interviewer already feels a “bone to gnaw” with you and is planning on throwing you out the very first minute he can find a justifiable excuse for doing so.
There’s no reason for him to feel this way about you, by the way, it’s just chemistry I guess. He just doesn’t like your guts.
It’s also like talking with a nice girl (or with a nice guy, but as a girl I tend to socialize more with other girls rather than guys) – let’s call her Mary – who is smiling and friendly towards you all the time, but you just know somehow that deep down inside she doesn’t like you. That for some reason you can’t fathom, she got a bad impression of you and she can’t wait to slip away from you.
If you mention this to other people they might just shrug it off and tell you it’s your imagination, or that you’re being too self-conscious. Maybe they’ll diagnose you as having “low self-esteem”. They might even think you’re getting paranoid!
But one day, as you’re hanging around with a bunch of friends and Mary is among them, one by one all the rest of your friends drift away and now you’re there all alone with Mary, who hates your guts, but she’s never told you so before. So what happens?
First of all, she stops smiling at you. Then she starts acting mean, she starts snapping at you. She gets mad at you for no reason.
In the end, she confesses to you that she’s always thought you were stupid and useless. That she’s always regarded you as some sort of good-for-nothing idiot with an ugly face.
Why? Even she doesn’t know. It’s just the impression you’ve always given her. And she’s not about to change her mind about you now. You know, that good ole important first impression of you, right?
So, for me, that is what it feels like to be empathic.
Advantages of Being an Empath (or why I consider psychic empathy a gift)
So what’s the good news? Well, if you have psychic empathy, contrary to what you might have suspected all your life, it’s actually a really great thing. After all, wouldn’t everyone like to be able to read minds?
You will always know what people are really up to. What their ulterior motives are. If they’re being honest with you or not. (A totally different affair altogether is, if you know someone is being dishonest with you, trying to scam you or just telling you tall tales, but you still put up with it anyways, like I was always doing, for whatever reason.)
If you’re empathic it’s also great news because psychic empathy is in reality a gift which can be controlled and developed.
My Personal Experience With Trying to Control Psychic Empathy
There are many techniques out there for learning how to control driving-you-crazy psychic empathy and the overwhelming feelings of others (usually negative emotions like sorrow, despair, etc.).
In my personal case, I never actually had to learn anything. Getting a “Soul Realignment” psychic reading and healing session (more about that in a future section) was enough for me to acquire the necessary skills in a most natural way, without me having to actually do anything.
After receiving the session, I actually seemed to have lost my empathic ability for a while! I was truly horrified! Because I so very much enjoyed being able to just know what other people were thinking and feeling all the time (especially about me, let’s admit it, most of us are still self-centred in spite of our careful education to try and teach us more “civilized” behaviours and attitudes).
When I looked at people I was no longer able to make even a wild guess as to what they could possibly be feeling, or what they thought of me, anymore!
I felt so lost and consternated. That was so disconcerting.
Fortunately, this “side effect” of receiving a “Soul Realignment” session was merely temporary. Apparently, I was just incorporating new energies as a result of the healing session. After a few months had passed, I found I was able to “feel” other people again, along with the pleasant and most agreeable discovery that now I was able to control how much other people’s feelings could affect or overwhelm me. I could “turn them off”, so to speak, temporarily and at will.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve become completely and totally inured to everything. Very strong emotions still have a way of inundating me and throwing me all out of sorts. Things like speaking with friends who find themselves in dire, hopeless situations, or watching programs about the people of Chernobyl (yeah, I know, a bit far-fetched, but if you’ve ever seen those images you’d probably know what I mean).
Different Kinds of Psychic Empathy
Apparently, from what I’ve read, there are actually several different forms of psychic empathy. It's like having many different little talents all combined together.
A person can have intellectual empathy, which means that they can understand how another person learns and where the other person encounters difficulties when studying. This is an especially useful skill for teachers, as it can help them to quickly identify where their students are having problems, and why.
You can possess emotional empathy which appears to be, in my experience, the most common form. Which only makes sense because, after all, the word “empathy” itself actually refers mostly to feelings, as it is.
Then, apparently, there are people who are blessed with physical empathy. They would make fantastic doctors, nurses and other types of healers, because they just naturally, instinctively, psychically know, where it is that another person is hurting, what physical symptoms are bothering that person. If that person, for example, feels dizzy, or wants to vomit, or suffers from a sensation of hardness or blockage somewhere.
After that, many other, lesser-known (but just as wonderful and magical) forms also exist. You could have animal empathy, that is, an empathic connection to, for example, other animals or pets. (Think of The Horse Whisperer, or successful dog trainers.)
Some people just seem to naturally possess a “green thumb”. In fact these particular individuals might actually be enjoying a form of psychic empathy or connection with plants. They can just feel if a plant needs more water, or is suffering in some way.
Developing Psychic Empathy
I’ve read that psychic empathy is a gift which can’t be developed and you’re either born with it or you’re not. That teaching empathy is something which just can't be done.
Well, I can’t vouch as to the truthfulness of such an affirmation. In fact, I find that quite a dark, doomsday sort of prediction, personally speaking. I believe first and foremost that what you actually choose, and what you make efforts to accomplish, are more important than any sort of so-called inborn talent, or genius.
So clearly, I also feel that being empathic is simply, to a great extent, a matter of you really, really wanting to be so. Of having enough interest in the matter to truly make the effort to develop such a talent.
I think you must become sensitive, if you aren’t already, and you must want to become sensitive. If you scorn sensitive people, or think that sensitives are crazies with bats in their heads, you would probably be better off focusing your energies on other, alternative endeavours, would be my advice to you.
You can learn a great deal about other people and what they are thinking and feeling by developing the art of observation. Of learning to really observe people, Sherlock Holmes style.
Of looking into their eyes, watching how they move their hands, their posture, their fleeting expressions.
I don’t need to look at any of these tell-tale details to know what other people are thinking. I know what is going on inside them because I feel what they feel. That is just simply the way it is for people with psychic empathy.
I’m sort of like one of those excentric individuals about whom you would typically say, oh that person’s so touchy, she’s got bats in the belfry! Other people’s emotions are like waves around me that I can touch.
And sometimes they’re like knives, too.
But if I weren’t this way, and I very much desired to be able to do these things, I bet I would hone my observation skills to their keenest.
Cal Lightman, an Adept Who Developed the Skill of People Reading
A good example of a character, albeit a fictional one, who successfully accomplished this feat would be Cal Lightman of the TV series “Lie To Me”. When I first discovered this show, I thought that Lightman was like me. That he could simply look at a person and just know what that person was feeling, what his ulterior motives were.
But as I followed Lightman and his adventures, I soon became aware of the fact that, in fact, Lightman’s ability was an acquired one. Through long and arduous years of study in many foreign lands, Lightman was able to develop the ability to “read” people unequivocally.
Fortunately, even in the show, it wasn’t necessary for other people to go through the long process that Lightman went through in order to acquire this skill. All they had to do was get Lightman to take them under his wing and within a few short episodes he could teach them everything he knew.
Can I Learn to Do What Cal Lightman Does?
Well, you may not personally know Cal Lightman and even if you had the good fortune to do so, it wouldn’t be necessary for you to convince him to take you under his wing.
All you would need to do, at least as a way to start off, would be to learn to deeply and attentively observe people and the way they move, their small gestures, the flitting of their eyes.
Try imitating their movements and gestures, and see what sorts of emotions or sensations these actions inspire within you. If you look at the ground, how does that make you feel?
What about if you crossed your arms? And if you stared straight into someone’s face?
These are only suggestions which have occurred to me. In fact, I’ve never taught anyone how to be more empathic, nor has anyone ever asked me to do so. People who are empathic because they were born that way, obviously don’t need anyone to teach them this talent. And people who were not born with psychic empathy (or, for that matter, any kind of empathy at all), well, apparently, they don’t tend to even know about the existence of such an ability, or feel any desire to cultivate it at all, to begin with.
In the next chapter on psychic empathy (which you can access right here) I'd like to talk about ways to control psychic empathy, and why I consider establishing firm boundaries to be the most important aspect of empathy development.
If you happen to be someone who desires to develop empathy within yourself, and you have found methods which are helpful to you and are bringing you success, I would sure be pleased and grateful if you would like to share your experiences with me.
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Nick Jude said on February 26, 2014:
Truthfully, I've always known I was an empath but until recently never really knew there was a term for it. I've also found that it has provided me with far more pain than pleasure in regards to others. I like your tip above and will try to view the world through my eyes and NOT others'... Thanks for the insight.
The Seas Of Mintaka said on March 8, 2014:
Well, I don't know about it providing pain so much as, for me, it gives me...... CONFUSION lol! You just can never figure out if you are feeling something because it is what you really are feeling, or whether it's because there was someone else around feeling that way! Thank you for your comment, Nick.
Lynne said on January 21, 2014:
Great articles just what I needed to know thank you.
The Seas Of Mintaka said on February 17, 2014:
Thank you, I'm glad they were of help to you!
Tammy Long said on January 11, 2014:
I have just found out I am not crazy at 55 years old.
My first experience with my Very High Empathy was at 3 years old and I am so relieved to be working on control of this gift and get off the medications the Doctors have me on. Amen, it is a gift. Thank you for having this on the internet.
The Seas Of Mintaka said on February 17, 2014:
Yes it certainly is a gift! And it is there to help you and, if you choose, you can use it to help other people. Or keep it to yourself and just use it to make your life better. You can tell if someone is lying, and thus not be deceived by people or scammed. You can tell if something is happening to your loved ones.
It can be disconcerting to have this ability. People might not believe you (for example when you tell someone, So-and-so was upset by something that I did, then people might laugh at you and say, So-and-so seemed perfectly happy to me! But you know better......). Or they might be angry at you because you knew the truth about them. But that is okay, people in this world spend (waste!) a great deal of energy trying to hide from the truth. I'm glad you could get off your meds. I've read that up to 70% of our illnesses are actually caused by our thoughts, and by feeling bad.