A Lesson on Empathy

My daughter is an empath.

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If there's such a thing as a hard-core empath, then that would be where Sophie would live. Her home in the empath community would be in the radical, true-blue, undeniable feeling ALL the FEELS category. It’s important that you’re aware of this upfront before I go any further with this 100% true account of something that happened today. If you’re not familiar with the empath personality, here’s the first definition Google delivered.

What does it mean to be an empath?
Empaths are highly sensitive individuals, who have a keen ability to sense what people around them are thinking and feeling. Psychologists may use the term empath to describe a person that experiences a great deal of empathy, often to the point of taking on the pain of others at their own expense.

Please note the last part...often to the point of taking on the pain of others at their own expense.

Describing my daughter this way is not an exaggeration so that I can put some sizzle in this story and make it a “bigger deal” than it is. Sophie is often incapacitated when she sees another person (or animal) suffering. Her strength is stripped from her and it takes a while for her recovery.

Now that I’ve explained my daughter’s empathy to you, you’ve probably formed one of two opinions of her personality. Either you can completely relate because you're an empath or know one, OR you’ve festered some judgment about me as a mother raising a child who is “too sensitive.”

Try and keep an open mind and read the rest of my story which is a typical day in the life of my almost 15-year-old. Below is the actual text message exchange between Sophie and me while she was at school today.

This is the worst day. I’ve been having the worst day.
I’m really, really sad.
And scared. I’m scared.

Why?

I had to watch a video in Wellness Class about a guy with a heroin addiction.

Ohhhh. That’s hard. I understand.

It’s rubbed me the wrong way. I can’t stop. I can’t. In my mind. I can’t

Yes, I know. I understand.

It made me soooo scared and afraid and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Yes, I’m sure it does make you feel that way but you know you have power over your thoughts. You are an empath. So it’s okay to feel for him, but you must tell your mind to STOP. You are in control of your thoughts.

I just can’t stop crying.

I know and I understand.

It has wrecked me. I can’t focus.

Feel it. Accept it. Then let it pass through you. Imagine the feeling coming into you then passing away through your fingertips.

Ok.

Accept the way you’re feeling. Feel it. Then let it pass through you. Allow it to move away. Let go.

Ok.

You can do this.

Ok. Thank you.

I love you.

I love you MOM.

God asked me to be Sophie’s mother. His request wasn’t a mistake. I believe deeply in my core that she was meant to be my daughter because of this moment and all the other moments we’ve shared before this one. Like Sophie, I have had a lifetime of struggle with feeling the feels deeply and if I can offer the mental and emotional tools I didn’t have when I was her age, then I have helped break the cycle and lessened the length of time she feels debilitated.

Empaths are a real thing. Don’t dismiss the power of love they carry. The empathy and compassion they have for others are beautiful gifts to the world.