I have a childhood friend who is a beautiful empath. Everyone, especially you, has many delightful gifts, some of them yet to be discovered. My childhood friend’s gift of empathy translated into her brilliant leadership style. Her style involves knowing what matters to her staff so that she can provide support, love, and encouragement.
If we walked in everyone else’s shoes, we’d only feel love and compassion for those souls, as we are all trying to do our best with what we know. But, in my view, our end destination is eventually pure love (God). From that sense, every person is a gift to this world. We all experience love, pain, heartache, triumphs, struggles, and joy. We all are deeply flawed yet incredibly gifted. And we all have infinite potential, no matter our present circumstances. Empathy helps us not just identify with others but also allows us to enjoy them more fully.
If you, like me, would love to adopt greater empathy, this article is our opportunity. With that said, here are various traits and behaviors of deeply empathic people. The introductory quotation with bold font are from The Positive Trait Thesaurus.
“Experiencing another’s emotion as if it was one’s own.” Never judging another’s emotions is a strength. Moreover, any heightened sensory ability is a gift. I cannot read emotions, partly because my vision is poor. But if I took on others’ emotions, I would want to convert those emotions, good or bad, into feelings of love. Doing so would make me feel less overwhelmed by emotions if I were an empath.
“Being genuine; showing an interest in others.” A loved one of mine is genuinely and affectionately curious about other people. If heaven hosts books of every soul’s journey, updated in real-time, I’d bet my loved one would end up the custodian of those books. I’d love to read the book that hosts your life story, read with nothing but feelings of love, compassion, and joy. Everybody’s story is profoundly beautiful, even during their darker moments. And empathy means we see every soul as a being on an infinitely beautiful journey.
“Finding it difficult to put one’s needs first.” In other words, empaths tend to be selfless. Selflessness is the cornerstone of happy relationships. For example, I recently gave up an online shopping addiction and instead spent gifts on loved ones. If I had continued down the online shopping addiction path, I would have missed out on giving a two-year-old relative a mini drum and piano gift for his birthday. My niece took a video of the little guy squealing in delight as he banged on his drums. I almost missed out on that opportunity! So, I applaud the empath’s tendency toward selflessness. Selflessness, to me, is an ideal. It benefits so many others. We all can tap into our most selfless state. And the rewards of doing so are profoundly eternal.
“Wanting to help others or fix their problems.” I learned a valuable lesson from The Marriage Foundation (which is unaccredited by the psychological community but leads to better results, from my experience). Namely, we should support and “be there” for people but not give unsolicited advice. That’s because others may need to learn how to operationalize that advice. Or they may not be willing to change, and we can only truly change ourselves, not others. Or their optimal life path may have detours that we may not recognize as beneficial but genuinely are. Nevertheless, wanting to help others and fix their problems is a beautiful intention.
Those are a few of the beautiful traits of highly empathic people. If you could meet my extroverted, empathic childhood friend, you’d see she bears a lovely smile for everyone. And if she and I could flip the pages of your life story, it would be a delight. With that said, are you empathic, or would you like to cultivate more empathy? Whatever you choose, everyone’s story, especially yours, is worthy of celebrating!