We might be able to feel other people’s emotions but if we call ourselves empaths when what we do is call difficult folks narcissistic, toxic and unredeemable while running away from their pain — there is no empathy in such behavior. (That is just one example — we can consider any sort of “negative” personality traits or emotions here) There is nothing wrong with self-preservation but then we need to understand what we are doing when we are unable to stand our feelings vis-a-vis another person. The feelings are, when in our body, our feelings too. We feel these feelings because they are part of what being a human being is.
All human beings have the capacity for all feelings. The only way we can actually develop empathy and earn the right to use the word empath is to dare to deeply feel these feelings and in so doing TRANSMUTE them. It is only then that empathy develops. And at that point we can tolerate what was previously intolerable and we can in fact reach those people, love them and heal them and ourselves simultaneously. ( I generally do not use the term empath for myself and hesitate to use it in general…in large part for this reason…I certainly do feel everything. The whole universe, in fact…we all do…we need only become aware and that is what the healing process, ultimately, is all about)
and, to emphasize the below:
I talk about self-protection as legitimate because it absolutely is. What I’m trying to underscore is that when we self-protect we also understand the situation of the other — that nobody is toxic but there are only forms of woundedness that interplay with our particular karmic inheritance. We are sometimes the one that harms (even if only unintentionally) and other times we are the ones that are harmed but it’s all an interplay of woundedness and when we start to understand this we can move through more gently and with love and forgiveness even for those who have perhaps harmed us (whether intentionally or unintentionally). And, then, also for ourselves when we have harmed others or failed in what we would ideally like to be able to do we can forgive ourselves. When we carry this into the present it allows us to more easily discern exactly where we should be and thus be more effective in our communications and interactions with everybody.
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