Recently, a friend of mine who is a psychologist shared with me during a conversation about career counseling that she has the ability to sense the emotions of others.
At first, I thought she was talking about the construct of empathy, an ability most helping professionals seem to (or at least should) possess.
As our conversation continued however, it became clear to me that she was talking about something completely different. Specifically, she identified herself as an empath.
I had always thought of this particular label as the stuff of science fiction you know what I am talking about characters like Counselor Troy on Star Trek from the planet Betazoid or magical fairies from True Blood.
When I shared with her my skepticism in jest and asked her if she was wearing her mood right (I was giving her crap) she smiled at me and laughingly said, You can joke all you want mister but I suggest you do your homework.
Being the curious Scorpio man that I am (hey, I had to go there) I decided to do some checking.
To my surprise, I found out that there are many people involved in the helping professions who claim to have some level of empathic ability.
Here, I am talking about folks like counselors, nurses, Reiki healers, massage therapists and even animal trainers.
Sure, there are those who dabble in astrology and the supernatural that claim to be empaths but what struck me were the number of mainstream professionals who seem to possess this chip.
It seems they are able to use these skills in a way that allows them to sense the feelings and emotions of other living things. Yep, I am talking about animals too. They also seem to be able to feel the intensity of emotions involved with events involving mass grief and public traumas.
Apparently, you can gauge your own empath abilities, based on 8 different types of traits or characteristics. I am including a link to the empath self-assessment for the purposes of fun.
And so at the risk of sounding a bit out there I would like to ask readers of this blog the following: Do you think empaths really exist?
Have you ever encountered one? If you do, what have been your observations? For example, do these folks gravitate towards the helping professions?
Finally, do you consider yourself an empath? I would really like to know and I have a feeling others reading this blog would as well.
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Photo credits: Pixabay