Active Empathy

When the topic of empaths comes up in witchy circles, the conversation often revolves around the impact of being open to the energy of others and the importance of shielding. While this information is important to know, what’s missing is the active aspect of empathy.

In my experience, empathy is a two-way street. I compare it to wi-fi. When a device connects to wi-fi, it can access the internet. At the same time, the wi-fi network obtains identifying information from the device to determine if the device has the necessary permission to access the network. Sometimes, when someone comes into contact with an empath, they may subconsciously open themselves up, sensing that the empath will be able to help them.

I’ve been on vacation for the past week. Since I wasn’t following the normal schedule, I didn’t stick to my daily practice as often as I usually do. Since my daily practice includes shielding, I unknowingly attracted interactions I wasn’t expecting or was prepared for.

During one of these interactions, I was at my local bar having drinks with friends. We’re regulars there, so we know most of the people. Michael, another regular, approached me. Usually, Michael is your typical frat boy. He drinks way too much, makes inappropriate comments, but usually means no harm. In fact, other than the perfunctory “hellos” when we walk in the bar, we rarely interact with Michael. This night, he walked over and asked if he could talk to me. I then spent the next 30 minutes listening to him explain that someone in his life was hospitalized with a poor prognosis. He explained that he felt guilty that he had not spent time with his friend and may not get the chance to say goodbye. I let him vent and withheld any advice. After he was finished, he went back to his friends.

Michael and I have never had a conversation of this magnitude before. I attribute this conversation to be the result of my empathetic ability synching up with his needs in the moment. Luckily, I was at a point in the evening that I was willing and able to participate in the conversation. I shudder to think of how many other times in my life I’d neglected my daily practice and then lost my patience with someone who needed me in the moment.

I hope this experience will serve as a lesson to me to continue my daily practice regardless of what else is happening in my life. Failing that, I hope that the experience will help me to remain grounded, calm, and helpful for those who seek me out as a sounding board.

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