When I initially set out to learn about how my empathy played such a pivotal role in everything I did and all of my relationships, my writings would become structured around a spiritual experience as quite frankly my empathic world did not resonate with that of the sciences which had huge gaping meaningless holes in it. My experiences went right back to my toddler days of recall! I was not taught; therefore innate empathy would make absolute sense to me, as it does to hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have read my writings and/or stumbled upon it elsewhere. Where did innate empathy VS learned empathy come into play?
Over the years of intently researching empathy from my personal accounts and the many thousands of people I’ve been privileged to learn, share and work with and from my observations and putting to test what is empathy over what it isn’t I would come to appreciate empathy’s divinely intricate workings and have found several distinct groups where empathy on varying levels exist:
- Those born with innate empathy who are somewhat aware of being highly sensitive though don’t connect this to being empathic, and although their empathy is quite evident they do not have a full let alone partial understanding of the mechanics at play. There life will be consistently overwhelming and they will experience varying degrees of depression and illnesses. They experience a minimum 50% of the 30 Traits of An Empath.
- Those born with innate empathy who have had a challenging upbringing, are highly sensitive and do not have a full understanding of the mechanics at play and more often than not feel overwhelmed with many of their life experiences. Growing up they will be the target of bullying. They will experience varying bouts of depression, repetitive destructive relationships where often the partner has narcissistic traits and begin to feel as though they have little to no control over their life, have low self-esteem and draw on addictive tendencies as a means to cope. They wish they could turn off their sensitive side and may attempt or contemplate suicide, whereas others will succeed as they feel a great sense of hopelessness and disconnect from all that matters, regardless if their family and closest friends are supportive and loving in return. They experience a minimum 65% of the 30 Traits of An Empath.
- Those born with innate empathy who have had a nurturing upbringing yet have rather challenging life experiences whose curiosity is such that they will be seekers in unravelling why they feel the way they do and eventually lead them to uncovering the term empath or empathy which will resonate with them on a great and meaningful level. They will be the child/adult that protects others who are victims of bullying and/or assaults and nurture empathy in all their relationships and have innate respect towards the Laws of the Universe. To appreciate the power of their empathy they will become proactive and commit to learning all they can (about empathy) so that it flows effortlessly as it was and is intended. It is inevitable that empathy will become a major factor in what drives them forward and they will endeavour to, “Do what they love and love what they do!’ and understand the depth in this statement leads them to a meaningful and purposeful life. They experience a minimum 90% of the 30 Traits of An Empath on a regular basis.
- Those who are completely unaware of the mechanics of innate empathy, however due to circumstance, i.e. pursuing a career as a salesperson, Doctor, Nurse, Health Specialist, Teacher, Social Worker, Scientist etc., will come across empathy as a skill to enhance and benefit their position (i.e. in sales or as a Doctor) and will set about learning how to apply this. Although they may attempt to understand what the innate aspects of empathy are they are more methodical and practical in their approach and will struggle to connect to the intuitive and natural aspects of empathy. They will rely on obvious cues; visual, spoken and body language etc. that are pertinent to the 5 senses in order to respond from a point of learned empathy though won’t fully be able to connect to another person’s depth/truth. They can generally switch off with very little effort required and not feel a deeper connection due to the practical application over and above the natural flow of empathy. The difference between innate empathy and learned empathy is distinct. They experience a minimum 30% of the 30 Traits of An Empath
No 4. Note: The career that one pursues (i.e. Scientist, Doctor, Health Specialist etc.) doesn’t mean that the person does not have empathy, quite the contrary, many people pursue a career due to their empathy driving them directly towards it from a relatively young age, however through many years of theory and practical studies their empathy can be severely diminished. In recent times this lack of empathy has been acknowledged in varying fields of expertise where it is actually crucial to have and maintain and is gradually being incorporated as a vital learning component.
Just because we can learn empathy later in life and become adept to it does not necessarily mean we are in a true and natural state of empathy but it can however be nurtured towards such. Nor does having innate empathy determine ones understanding as there are varying levels of empathy based purely upon how one flows and grow with it throughout their lifetime. It would be rare as hen’s teeth to find anyone walking this planet that has absolute empathy, as it is to find someone who lives in a state of absolute love.
While both have their place and achieve specific outcomes, empathy is not meant to be theoretical or methodical in the way it is received and/or delivered, that is but a partial experience of empathy that substantially diminishes its natural state.
To the innate empath, scientific studies linking empathy as occurring only from a mental, psychological or cognitive state brings a partial response. Scientific data that is tested, measured, analysed and scrutinized to the ninth degree then laid out in a logical somewhat orderly fashion that outlines why it occurs and be used in structuring teaching principals of, ‘how to empathize with others’, but fails miserably to connect to the spiritual, intuitive and natural flowing state of empathy which cannot be measured so therefore doesn’t count as valid. This response is also anticipated from those in the scientific disciplines in its view towards the innate spiritual empath, perhaps tinged with discord from both ends of the spectrum.
Is one more significant than the other? Does it matter? No, not really. It all matters. Scientific delivery that is practical and methodical vs spiritual, intuitive and innate empathy, whatever the understanding and however it is applied, we are at a critical time in the evolution of humanity which means we must move forward and somehow millions have come to a standstill in the growth of their empathy growth. Empathy is a driving force in how we evolve and it has many opposing factors against it, technology being one, media and political intentions are others to name but a few that are playing a notable role in numbing the empathy within.
Although they appear to be polar opposites, it is only a matter of time before they meet in the middle and appreciate both are of relevance to the other and work in unison with a collective goal for the betterment and longevity of humanity, which just so happens to be one of my objectives, to establish the balance between them that is both respected and understood and as time would have it, I have come to appreciate the relevance and direct correlation of both for empathy continually proves that it has no bias, bar that of one’s own perception.
Written by Christel Broederlow