The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
`Who are YOU?' said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, `I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'
`What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. `Explain yourself!'
`I can't explain MYSELF, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, `because I'm not myself, you see.'
`I don't see,' said the Caterpillar.
`I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly,' Alice replied very politely, `for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.'
`It isn't,' said the Caterpillar.
`Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet,' said Alice; `but when you have to turn into a chrysalis--you will some day, you know--and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?'
`Not a bit,' said the Caterpillar.
`Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,' said Alice; `all I know is, it would feel very queer to ME.'
`You!' said the Caterpillar contemptuously. `Who are YOU?'
~~ Excerpted from Alice In Wonderland
Who are you? It's the ultimate question, isn't it? We look around all of our lives for the answer. And sometimes we find bits and pieces of who we think we are here and there. And we have moments of "Ahh...that fits who I am perfectly!!".
Sometimes, though, we end up trying to mold ourselves to fit into a set of criteria laid out for us by someone else, be it a religion, a political party, a family, a community, a work place, or any other social strata that we wish to belong to or affiliate ourselves with. So we adopt a set of beliefs, ideals, morals, and so on to become part of that chosen 'group'.
More often than not when this occurs, it tends to have a domino effect. That is to say, one set of social beliefs begets another. One example would be that of being raised in a very religious home with more conservative views on the world. There is nothing wrong with this, mind you, so don't take offense to the example. But as a person grows older, after being raised in such a home, they will tend to orient themselves toward the things within their comfort zone. That would include people and social arenas that share similar beliefs and ideals.
Others might rebel against such an upbringing and choose to orient themselves around a different set of beliefs and ideals. Thus, in effect, choosing something closer to their own comfort zone which may differ from those they grew up with.
Neither of these situations is bad, in particular, and its common enough. The point here, though, isn't really about where you stand on beliefs, morals, or ideals. It's the fact that this is how we tend to define ourselves. That is to say, we choose out of numerous selections of various types to decide and define who we are. And then, somewhere within that blending, who we really are gets lost or covered over.
Why does it get covered over? Why does its very existence get denied? And does this really happen when people are SO sure they know exactly who they are? Interesting questions...let's look at them.
The reasons for covering over or denying who one truly is are to innumerable to account for. But if you break those reasons down, simplify them, what you come up with is this. People, when they compare who they really are with what is expected of them by those chosen social arenas, tend to find themselves lacking in some way, shape or form. So instead of dealing with those feelings, they bury those feelings and transform themselves into who they think they should be or who they think they are expected to be. Effectively, this is like putting on a mask to wear for the world.
It's all about belonging, you see. It's all about staving off the imagined loneliness that would accompany not belonging anywhere if who you were was truly discovered. And it's about being left in that loneliness, by yourself, to face all of the things about yourself that you hate. Because when you're among other people, you can wear the mask you have adorned so beautifully and not worry about or focus on anything that might dwell beneath it, such as the question of who you really are.
So in saying all of this, what is the point? How does this help answer the question of who we are? It doesn't really, because that's not a question I can really answer for you. But that wasn't even the point of this discussion anyway. The main point here is to perhaps point you in the right direction to discover it yourself, if you are so inclined to do it.
Titles, you've seen them and probably claimed them for yourself a few times. I am _______ (insert religion). I am ________ (insert political party). I am _________ (insert title). Generally a title is some kind of description of who you are, what you do, what position you hold, or something akin to those things. For the purposes of this discussion, we are going to focus on one particular title, though: Empath.
Let me show you how to define what an Empath is. First you look at a general definition and description:
Then you look at what are considered Empath traits:
Marked by an acute sensitivity to the feeling of others, Empaths can
actually feel another's pain and can heal it in some way. Since
Empaths pick up on the feelings of others, there is a great
understanding and ability to really "see" the other person. Others
tune into the Empaths energy and tend to gravitate towards them
knowing they are "safe" with this empathetic person.
Empaths can have a very expressive personality, are great listeners
and often seen counseling and not just in the professional area, they
will always find themselves helping others out and putting their own
needs aside to do so. Very often there can be a swing to the opposite
end of the spectrum being quiet with a need to withdraw from the
outside world to be alone and daydream. Empaths are passionate
towards nature, beauty, animals and children. Animals are especially
dear to the heart. There is often an attraction to a special kind of
animal but empathy towards all animals is a common characteristic.
Animals and young children are especially attracted and drawn to the
Empath's qualities. There tends to be an immediate connection of
Empaths make great friends or lovers for life but are literally
crushed if the friendship or relationship is abused. They will
through many experiences and heartaches become more selective. Though
Empaths may have a large circle of friends, they generally only have
a few trusted ones. Oftentimes Empaths attract jealousy in others
because of their many talents, loving nature and natural ability to
get along with and network with so many people. The jealousy will
hurt an Empath as they really cannot comprehend this behavior, or
lack of compassionate understanding.
Empaths usually achieve in quiet and not one to brag about their
talents and interests. They will often promote the talents of others
before their own. Accepting compliments are not always easy. Empaths
are usually facially expressive as well expressive with their
emotions and feelings. Talking openly and honestly on all topics is
characteristic of an Empath. Because Empaths are frequently the
recipient of listening to others problems they often retreat into the
quiet of their minds eye. Oftentimes, the need to block out others is
great so that the energy balance is restored.
Empaths tend to be peacemakers, are non aggressive and non violent.
In fact, there is an acute sensitivity to violence of any kind on TV,
in films and especially in "real life" situations. Any infliction of
pain or violence to others, especially animals and children will
cause the Empath to feel physically ill and retreat. Oftentimes the
memories of those images will replay.
16 Common Traits Of An EmpathAnd then you decide (choose) if you fit the criteria given above, to bear the mantle of the title Empath or not. It's up to you and your perception of yourself really. Someone else might say "This is what you are", but until you accept it as your own, its just another opinion in the wind.
1. Empaths are quiet achievers but expressive in area's of emotional connection. They find that talking about emotional issues is a great outlet that aids in undertanding themselves and others.
2. Some empaths can be the opposite of what an empath 'should' be because they are overwhelmed or unable to handle emotion and what they feel in the world around them so they block their feelings.
3. They can be focused outward, toward what others feel, rather than themselves. This is a common trait to many people who have not gone through a process of self development.
4. They avoid disharmony caused by emotionally turbulent situations. This type of situation can easily create an uncomfortable feeling because an empath feels this emotion.
5. Empaths are emotionally sensitive to violence and general chaos.
6. Empaths are sensitive to loud noise and television. In particular, television programs that depict emotional drama like the news and police shows.
7. They struggle to comprehend acts of cruelty and crime that involves hurting others.
8. They struggle to comprehend suffering in the world and are often idealists who theorise about fixing the worlds problems.
9. Are often found working as volunteers, with people, animals or the environment.
10. They are expressive so they can often be found in areas of music or the arts.
11. They often have the ability to draw others to them. This includes children and animals as they have a warmth and compassion that is beyond normal You may find that strangers always talk to you if you are an empath.
12. They can be good listeners as they generally have an interest in other people.
13. Empaths can be moody or have large mood swings due to overwhelming thoughts, feelings and emotion.
14. They are likely to have had, other paranormal experiences in their life. This could be astral projection, psychic ability or a variety of other experiences.
15. Empaths are daydreamers that have difficulty keeping focused. This is common with people who deal more IN emotion and neglect other area's of their mind.
16. Like many people on a spiritual path Empaths frequently experience déjà vu and synchronicities. This is something that occurs to everyone however empaths are often more aware and therefore 'look out' for it.
Now here is the reason for introducing you to this. The point isn't whether you are or aren't an Empath. It's fine to be that, just as it's fine to be anything else. Being an Empath is a beautiful thing and can be a wonderful experience.
The real question is, is this all you are when you define yourself as an Empath? Or are you limiting yourself and your potential by saying "I am this and nothing more"? And these questions apply not just to the title of Empath, but to any title.
The question of "is this all you are" pervades all of the choices we make about ourselves when we choose where to belong, who to associate with, what titles to adorn ourselves with, what truths we claim as our own, how we shape our very personalities, and who we will choose to mold ourselves into in the future.
Is this, whatever it is, all that you are? Or are you something more? Think about it.
“The whole is more than the sum of its parts."