Empathy


#1

:frowning:

Well this may seem not very important, but… I have been aware of this characteristic in myself since I was a child. It did not have a name then, but apparently it has one know.

I don’t know if others here know much about it but basically it is feeling what others feel.

It is not magic, not supernatural, but it is something that is at times hard to live with.

Why am I here?

I’m here because I am a Catholic above and beyond anything and all the self help groups in the net take this natural characteristic as a Paranormal thing. To the point where I find other Catholics sort of buying into it :shrug:

Well I don’t but I do need to talk about it sometimes. I don’t believe Jesus would saddle me with something that is not Natural, but it is something that makes life a little harder sometimes, like everything else it has an upside and a downside.

The upside is that by being more aware of other people’s feeling I can often help out, support etc… the down side is that you sometimes become a bit too aware of other people’s problems and anxieties…

I hope I’ve put this intelligibly enough

I’d really like to know how other Catholics or even the Church view this question.

Again I repeat I do not see, feel or think this is paranormal… It is natural we all have some amount empathy, but some of us have more…


#2

Ability to allow good(empathy in this case) to enter the world from God in accordance with His Will starts with an openess or actual desire to cooperate with good. Through grace good comes from God and manifests itself through your actions in the world.

 So to keep you humble, empathy is not your good characteristic.  It belongs to God and you cooperate with its application.  On the other hand, don't worry that God's good will overload you.

  He never gives us more than we can handle.

   God is not a drama queen.  The devil is.:)

#3

The above poster said it! Any good thing we think, do, feel, is from God. **Having empathy for another is not an unusual feeling at all (think of all those in caring professions, nursing for example, and the large amount of burn-out there - due, IMHO, to not praying to Him to help with this “load”). **Little children feel it constantly, some adults (unfortunately) feel it’s childish or unsophisticated so ignore those feelings until they quit noticing them (or one way of “hardening their hearts”.


#4

Agree! Very well said. And :rotfl: to the last part… which is so true!


#5

I think that if one can feel/share the pain of others one prays more effectively for them.


#6

Very strange… I reread my post and nowhere did I use the word MINE…

Well never mind…:shrug:


#7

There is nothing unnatural or paranormal about that. Its quite normal and common.


#8

You mean you are an Empath? That’s what you’re getting at, right?


#9

I do belive that you are hinting at being empath. this is basically the difference between empath and empathy. Empathy is an emotion that any one can share. like if some one came up to you and said that they lost their parent, if you to were in that situation or similar you share empathy on that subject. but for us empaths we have the abillity to sense "deep"emotions, especially when people wear masks, to hide what they are truley feeling. like when people feel sad, upset, or bitter towards God, but always come to church and have a smile on thier face. we can feel that there is more there and even have a natural ability to have people just pour out thier souls to us. we don’t even have to let distance be an issue we can sense people across town and just need to pray for them what ever they need. there is on case of an empath down in mexico he was a priest and he could list all your sins when you walk into the confessional.

Yes i understan that his can be a burden especially when you are faced with people that you can’t even imagine thier situations. all we can do is teach they way Jesus taught us. and some times this is the most difficult part is to leave our burdens at the foot of his cross. whether these burdens are of our own or if we carry the burdens of others because of who we are. in time God will reveal all to us some times he will reveal within the hour or with in our departure of this earth. we simply don’t know. i wish you the best of luck on your faith journey and know that i will be praying for you.

sincerly your brother in Christ
Jeremiah Acosta.

P.S. REMEBER… some of the most broken people you can meet are sitting on the pew next to you. and you have the gift to heal them.:wink:


#10

The above poster is correct. … I have the same ability. We are empaths, like the above poster said. What we have is a Spiritual Gift from God. A paranormal gift that is a much stronger than what other humans tend to feel naturally. I have it and even the priest who is my spiritual director has it too. We feel other people’s emotions, pains, and thoughts as our own, on top of our own and I find that the first encounters with people are the strongest episodes you will have.

I recently almost got into huge trouble because of this gift, but the Lord has granted me guidance (through my spiritual direction, others and life itself) to train myself in using my gift. Learning when to give out your heart and when to keep it at bay. When to be so close and when to watch from afar. It is not easy and its not going to get easier to deal with, as my spiritual director said. But it is okay. Life is never without its challenges and its a gift from God to use in His service.

My spiritual director told me that those that God give this gift to are people He usually uses as interessors, working and helping with people.

You are not alone. Do not be afraid. Just pray for guidance and see if you can find a spiritual director to help.

God Bless


#11

Great post! I believe I am what you call an "empath." I believe it is a gift from God and a sign of real union with the mystical body of Christ. I believe it is one form of "bearing one another's burdens."

I know how you feel about it being challenging. It can be hard sometimes to know what is yours and what is theirs. It can be hard to continue with your responsibilities when you are burdened with someone else's agony. I am starting to look at the times as a "kiss from Jesus." I find it an honor that He trusts me with His beloved one's hearts. In reality though, it is Jesus Himself who's burden I am carrying. It's a labor of love and a by product of deep intimacy.

The only thing I wish is that I wasn't so resistant to it. I wish I didn't find it often annoying and a nuisance. It is a special way of loving Jesus.


#12

I have not thought of that way. Its a nice way of thinking about it. My problem is that I am so open to it I have almost no control over it. Once I sense a burdened heart my heart immediately leaves me and goes to them and its hard to get it back once it’s given. That is what I recently learned and luckily my spiritual director is there to help me.

God Bless


#13

I stumbled across the empathy post and just joined this group because of it. I am so glad there are others like me on this site. I have only met one priest who was like me and unfortunately he is gone. I am 61 years old and have been aware of being "different" since I was five. I did not know the term for it until a few years ago. At times, this has been a beautiful gift but mostly it has been a lifelong struggle and I saw it as a curse instead of a gift. My husband is like me as well. We now know this is indeed a gift but for me it is still a challenge i.e. being overwhelmed by a loved ones experiencing a panic attack (I get the same symptoms at the same time) even though I live far away. Or when my son's fiancées mother died I starting sobbing in grief with out knowing why until I found out about her passing. I hope to find out how to learn how to not be so completely pulled into this so I may use this for God's purpose. It's ben difficult to find any books or internet sites that deal with the subject from a Catholic perspective. Thanks!


#14

When I’ve been in movie theatres and there is a sad scene, the women just bawl. I guess that must be a part of this.


#15

Hi MargaretMae! Your gift is somewhat different from mine - I don’t know things before I actually hear about them as you seem to do. But maybe a few tools I have learned, will help you.

One is to visualize. Close your eyes, steady your breathing, and imagine yourself embracing the other person, loving the other person, then gently lifting their burden of pain from their shoulders, and carrying it to Jesus. Leave it with Jesus. Embrace Him. Return to the other person as often as you need to, to help carry their burden and take it to Jesus. But be deliberate about leaving it with Jesus - that is very important!

Another thing I do, is to pray the chaplet of divine mercy. (The rosary would work well, too.) Sitting down with Jesus and praying like that calms me; the repetition settles me down and helps me to focus on the other person, their pain, their needs, and helps me to pray for them. If you use the Divine Mercy prayers, I will often insert an individual’s name … "For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on Mike and on all of the word … For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on Nancy and on all of the world … " You can do the same thing at the end of the Hail Mary prayer … "Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for Margaret, now and at the hour of her death … "

I hope those help! You might enjoy this article. It isn’t about this gift specifically, but I think the way that she prayed for others is a lesson for us. They can be far away, they can be people we don’t know - but when we purposefully pray for others we can help them in a very real way. I think our gift just makes us easier for us to know “who” needs our focus and our prayers!


#16

Thank you. I loved the article. It was one I have not seen. I also appreciate your suggestions. I love the Divine Mercy Chaplet & have felt drawn back to that many times. I am doing much better at sorting out what’s mine & what is other peoples & trying to discern who the other person is. I started using a simple prayer I heard about when I am suddenly feeling extreme anxiety or anger for no reason. I simply ask that what is not from me be removed and a blessing be sent to that person. Once I am able to detach from the emotion instead of being consumed/overwhelmed by it, not only am I back to being calm & happy but I am able to focus on where is it coming from & praying for that person. I still have a long way to go in deciding what God wants me to do with this but I go one day at a time & know that the answers will come as I am ready to hear them. One note, I had been away from church for a few years. I went back after my post & after receiving communion was completely free of the vague free floating anxiety that always surrounds me. The peace I have found in simply attending Mass is amazing. I did this as a child & it helped me then as well. I will never leave the beauty of the mass again. Thank you again for taking the time to post. I truly appreciate it.


#17

You're good at reading people and making associations. Empathy is something everybody has.


#18

How wonderful!


#19

Yes but some of us have it at a supernatural strength. Its part of Spiritual Gift given at Baptism, its part of the gift of Discerning of Spirits.


#20

That IS wonderful! Like so many things, I think there is a balance to be found with the help of the Holy Spirit - how to manage it for your own sake so you aren’t overwhelmed … and how to use it to help others. What I found for myself (so far) is that there isn’t one “big thing” I’m supposed to do with it, but it’s more a part of who I am within His body and I use the gift for others as He brings them to me. It’s the journey, I guess :slight_smile:

I’m SO GLAD you have returned to Mass. The sacraments are an enormous help to me, especially the Eucharist and confession. Does your church offer regular Adoration? Being in the quiet before the LORD regularly has also helped me maintain my peace.

Thank you for taking time to update - you are starting on a wonderful journey and I will pray for you this morning during Adoration!


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