What is a born Empath?
A born Empath is one who is born hypersensitive to the emotions and emotional states of others. Thus, it is a very natural thing for them to understand how others feel and to share in their experiences vicariously by placing themselves in the other person's shoes imaginatively.
What is a conditioned Empath?
A conditioned Empath is one who has been conditioned to be empathetic/empathic toward others. Often, but not always, this occurs when severe abuse or trauma is incurred by a person. The person who is being conditioned learns to be sensitive toward the one who is abusing them, in order not to anger that person ~ to stay in the shadows, as it were. Often, but again not always, this occurs in the formative years of life, when a child is extremely young and incapable of coping with what is happening to them appropriately, so the psyche warps (not in a bad way necessarily) to make it malleable in any situation as a survival mechanism. Thus the person becomes empathetic toward first their abuser, and then later in life to almost anyone and everyone.
In saying that it does not always occur this way, conditioning can happen at many different levels and to just about any age range and gender. Simply being compared to others and found lacking all the time, can condition one in such a way. Being abused or suffering trauma as an adolescent and/or adult can also condition one toward this.
The point isn't really the how, at least for this particular discussion (because it is relevant to you). More to the point, it is the fact that the person in question has gone through pain and suffering which brings them to a point of being sensitive toward other people's pain and suffering. Sometimes this is more obvious when experiences share many commonalities, but the empathy still exists even when there are more differences than commonalities.
Is it better to be one or the other?
In reality, it doesn't really matter how you get to the point of acknowledging you are an Empath. There is no stigma attached to one and a higher degree of esteem to another. They simply are what they are, based on our biology and life experiences. So one should not necessarily focus on whether one is born or conditioned, and instead focus on simply being what they are...an Empath.
Do born Empaths suffer less than conditioned Empaths?
Hypersensitivity is the keyword here. It means that one is sensitive toward being around people and are easily affected by the emotions and emotional states of others, because one shares in them. This can have a very strong effect on the psyche of either type.
As well, being born hypersensitive does not necessarily preclude one from suffering. It also doesn't mean that they have suffered to the extend of conditioning either. But being hypersensitive also means that even the littlest issues can be contributing factors to conditioning. So despite being born an Empath who is hypersensitive, this can still lead to suffering and pain which become conditioning factors on top of biology.
When one is born an Empath or is conditioned as an Empath, does this automatically mean they will empathize with others and show empathic concern for others?
Neither of these things, biology and environmental issues, necessarily mean one will willingly open themselves up to empathizing with others and offering them a helping hand. What it does say, is that the potential exists, within that person, to do this, but it does not mean they will.
Showing empathy, as opposed to being an Empath, is a conscious choice one must make for themselves to show concern for others and care for them. That understanding emotional concern, much less the willingness to put themselves aside for a moment to reach out to others, doesn't come from biology and/or environmental issues. That comes from a willingness to open their heart to others, understand them and their suffering, and to offer love unconditionally. And that is a tall order for any human being, even an Empath (despite the origin of the hypersensitive nature).
And it should be noted that there is no shame in either choice, because it is all based on what you, as a person, are capable of handling at any given moment. And despite the refusal to do this in one moment, more chances will always rise up for you to do this at other times, when you are ready. But it is equally okay to choose not to do it at all. It's quite literally up to you. And you should feel no guilt for choosing one path over another, because this is about being true to who you are, first and foremost.
What is Empathic Concern and how does it differ from Empathizing with someone?
The answer to both of these questions is taken directly from here.
Human beings are strongly motivated to be connected to others. In humans and other higher mammals, an impulse to care for offspring is almost certainly genetically hard-wired, although modifiable by circumstance.Where can I learn about the traits of being an Empath?
Empathic concern refers to other-oriented emotions elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of someone in need. These other-oriented emotions include feelings of tenderness, sympathy, compassion, soft-heartedness, and the like. Empathic concern is often and wrongly confused with empathy.
To empathize is to respond to another's perceived emotional state by experiencing feeling of a similar sort. Empathic concern or sympathy not only include empathizing, but also entails having a positive regard or a non-fleeting concern for the other person.
Beyond the numerous times they have been listed here on Empathic Perspectives, I'd like to offer you a list of websites that have traits and characteristics of Empaths. The more lists and descriptions you read, the more you begin to understand what an Empath is. So this list is important, for your own personal understanding. Please note that all of these sites offer excellent information to help you decide if you are an Empath or not.
- About Empathy & Empaths
- 16 Traits Of An Empath
- Identifying As An Empath
- What Is An Empath? Who Is An Empath?
- Traits Of An Empath
- The Real Traits Of An Empath
- What Is An Empath?
There are some websites and quizzes which help define different types of Empaths. Here is a list of them.
- Levels Of Empathy: Different Types Of Empaths
- Empath Type Definitions ~ this one is based off of Jad Alexander's work about Empathy called The Book Of Storms and is based off the quiz which follows.
- What Kind Of Empath Are You? Quiz
- The Empath Quiz: What Empathic Type Are You? ~ this is a quiz that Elise Lebeau and I put together.
- Cognitive Empath vs. The Emotional Empath ~ to read about a comparison of the Cognitive Empath and the Emotional Empath