I’m an empath. I pick up on energy and can actually feel what someone else is feeling, especially in times of stress or brokenness. But ever since I can remember I’ve used the infamous saying, “it’s a gift and a curse” when someone’s asked me how I feel about having this trait. As of lately I’ve decided it is 100% a gift.
I consider myself pretty normal except for the fact that I’m hypersensitive to my surroundings. I feel deeply – whether happy or sad. I laugh effortlessly. I cry easily. Seriously. Do you know how many times people have asked me if I’m okay because they see me crying at work and it’s just because I’m listening to the Inception film score? Too many to count. Do you know how many times I’ve been told by an ex boyfriend to stop crying? It should have been one had I decided to break up with him on the spot as I rightfully should have done, but I digress.
See, the thing is… I think having a heart like mine in 2017 is vital. Notice my word choice here. The word vital literally means “necessary to the existence, continuance, or well-being of something“. There have been studies that show that over the last twenty years we actually care considerably less about other people. This has a lot to do with the information overload we receive on a daily basis because of technology as a whole, but that’s another blog post for another day. I’m bringing this up to serve as proof that the world needs change. It needs compassion. Without softhearted people, society will only become more cruel and desensitized.
It’s really interesting getting advice from friends on specific topics because I’ve noticed that they never seem to be as forgiving as me. I thought I was crazy for a really long time because of that. Am I too soft? Why am I so quick to forgive? Why do I give second chances so easily when the world is yelling at me through an LED screen telling me to toughen up and cut people out of my life? Every time I scroll down my timeline I’m reminded how normal jealousy, envy and quick tempers are becoming. Memes have kind of taken over. There’s no need to fix my destructive behavior if thousands of people agree and think it’s funny, right?
And then I remember Jesus. I like to believe that He was an empath when He walked this earth. In the book of John, Jesus comforts Mary when her brother had died. When He saw her crying, He wept. Jesus, the man who made the blind see & healed the lame chose to cry alongside a mourning sister despite Him knowing the miracle He would perform. He was near to the brokenhearted. He understood their grievances.
Living in a place like New York City can be rough for an empath. My heart breaks every single time I pass someone in need that I’m not able to help. I remember two years ago specifically praying that God would break my heart for what broke His, and I’m finally understanding that through this answered prayer, I was called to move to this city. Although this journey has only just begun, I’m continuously praying that I remain soft. That this city does not make me hard.
My hope in you reading this post is that you would gain one of two things from it:
If you identify with anything I’ve written above and you find yourself as an empath feeling crushed by the horrors of this world, I pray you realize that God gave you this heart for a reason, and He will shape the back that bears the burden placed upon it. Go out and do the world good by showing kindness – it will always be worth it regardless of you seeing the fruits of your labor. Forgive others. (Seventy times seven, remember?)
If you don’t identify with anything I’ve written above and you can’t seem to understand what it’s like feeling anything I’ve described, I pray you find the ability to be patient with the ones in your life that do. Please do not ask us to “man up” or to stop crying. Our gift is vital. I hope one day you’ll find the beauty in that.