When I was 15, I discovered I was an Empath. There were no teachers to guide me. There were no books that spoke on this subject, at any length, even from a psychological stand point. All I had was a random definition I found in a book and bits and pieces of information I had pieced together from other books, which considered Empathy and Empaths to be at the bottom of the totem pole of psychic gifts. One even suggested it was the developmentally challenged form of telepathy.
At the time I had alot going on in my life; from school to a change of religions to abusive boyfriends to depression and self hatred. So I set the idea of being an Empath aside, save for the random search through book stores every once in a while, which always left me empty handed. But it was always there in the back of my mind, all the same.
When I was finally able to get online I did alot of research on many topics from religions to history to psychology. And then one day I decided to look it up again.....that word Empath. There still, at that point, wasn't alot to be had. So over another few years of random searching, at odd times, more and more started cropping up about this subject. There were metaphysical descriptions of it. There were psychological descriptions of it. There were human descriptions of it. Point is, all of them were amazing.
Through one of those searches I came upon a new budding website called Empath Community where I stopped in the hopes of learning. And it wasn't long before I found others like myself and I had some really deep friendships.
At the time there were very few teachers there, ones willing to offer information to help me along my path. There was Elise and a few other kindred spirits, but the learning process itself was left for me to do. So I went back to all of those perspectives I had found at random, and began reading them in earnest, in order to better understand what kind of gift Empathy truly is, not just for an Empath, but for anyone.
And what I discovered was that there are two types of people beneath the term Empath. There are those that are hypersensitive to the emotions of others. And then there are those that carry that one step further, by offering empathy and compassion to others.
For either type its a struggle, because hypersensitivity doesn't just mean that you are sensitive to others, it means you are sensitive emotionally. It means you are prone to heightened emotions yourself, which consequently can be hard on those around that person, as much as it is on them.
I learned that people like this are often times prone to being shunned, ignored, bullied, abused, and just generally treated like crap. And I also learned that people like this are also prone to have a low opinion of themselves, as well. (Just to mention, this fits me from head to toe)
There are the commonalities and then there are the unique and beautiful differences that each one of these people bring to any place they enter into. Because, while its true Empaths or Highly Sensitive people, aren't necessarily enlightened beings, they do tend to be compassionate and understanding souls who genuinely care for others.
My life has generally been a downward spiral into hell or a brutal climb up, to which I am still climbing. But no matter where I am, who I'm with, or what I'm doing, I know I'm not alone in this world.
There are more of us out there than even the awakened Empaths are probably aware of. A vast array of global Empaths, from every walk of life, living, loving and sharing with those around them, and yes, sometimes struggling as well.
So whether your one, by yourself, or you have a network of people supporting you, never doubt that you are not alone. We're all in this together. All you have to do is want to see it, for it to become clear. ^_^