Empathy…

…And what it means to be human.

In recent weeks, several of my friends have posted a meme about how empathic they are. One of the *proofs* in said meme is “I know your feelings better than you do.”

As someone who is a “Highly Sensitive Person”, who you could call ’empathic’, I take offense at that.

If you’ve ever noticed my vernacular, I take great pains to not say things like “I know EXACTLY what you are feeling“, why? Because even if we have every experience the same and we go through the same circumstance, no two people will ever feel the same about it or have the same perception. Why? Because no two of us are *exactly* alike – and even the few who genetically are, aren’t even.

I will never know exactly what you feel. I can RELATE and I can empathize, but it will never be exact. Ergo, I can NEVER know what you are feeling better than you do… to say so is presumptuous and arrogant.

Fact is, to be empathic is something I HOPE all of us are: it just means the ability to show empathy, and that’s sorta a condition of being defined as HUMAN.

However, some people assume that word somehow means psychic… but it occurs to me that if you have to TELL me you have a trait, you probably don’t have that trait.

Empatic in that sense is me as a 4-yr-old child being able to see how a person hurt themselves or know where they suffered pain.
It isn’t fun. It isn’t cool or pleasant.
It is actually physically painful… because to be empathic on that level means, in order to know it, you have to.. well, you have to know it so you feel it.
It is actually something that was quite strong in me, and I worked for a long time to block.

Perhaps that’s why I am good with (other, non-human) animals, because I know how to listen with senses other than my ears.
It seems to me those who are so busy talking and telling, don’t know how to quiet enough to have that happen.

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