What does it really mean to be an Empath (Clairempathic)?  

Photo by Brooke Rosenblum Photography

Photo by Brooke Rosenblum Photography

Clairempathy comes from French clair meaning ‘clear’ and Greek pathos meaning ‘passion’ or ‘suffering’, coming together to translate directly into ‘clear feeling of passion and suffering’. Clairempathy is the psychic ability to feel other people’s, animal’s, places, worldly ongoings, or plant’s emotions or physical pain as though they are your own. The colloquial term that has been coined in the last several years to describe this is, ‘Empath’. 

It is important to distinguish the difference between being empathetic (feeling empathy) versus being empathic (an empath). When you are experiencing empathy towards someone or something, it means that you can understandwhat they are going through, and you hold great compassion towards them in such. When you are experiencing being clairempathic, you are actually feeling whatever the person or thing is experiencing.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you are talking to a friend. The friend is experiencing a lot of grief over losing their grandfather.

If you are empathetic, you would experience this as a moment where your friend is going through something. You can understand how they must be feeling. You can feel sorry for them or feel badly for them that they are going through this tough time. You might offer your condolences or a helping hand where necessary. 

If you are an empath, you would experience this moment as literally feeling the exact sadness that your friend is feeling. You might experience a gut wrenching feeling, or a deep ache in your heart. You may not even feel it right away, but maybe you go home after talking to your friend, and you begin to feel a deep sadness wash over you with no explanation for it. Or perhaps you are someone who experiences clairempathy precognitively (before the event happens… read more about this, here), and you might be feeling that bout of sadness before you talk to you friend, and when you talk to them you feel relief.

The main difference is that with being empathetic, you are trying to gain perspective because you are not actually experiencing it yourself, whereas if you are clairempathic, you are experiencing the exact physical or emotional occurrences as though they are your own.

It is also important to make the distinction between clairempathy and clairsentience. Some people mark the two abilities as the same thing- I am in complete disagreement with this. Clairsentience is the ability to perceive energy, where as clairempathy is the ability to take the energy on as your own exactly as it has manifested in the other person or thing. You can also, of course, be both.

To make matters more complicated, there are different types of clairempathy! You can be an:

Emotional Empath for Humans: You take on the emotions and energies of the people around you, or the people to whom you are energetically connected. Some empaths only take on negative emotions, some take on only positive emotions, and some take on all emotions.

Emotional Empath for Plants: You take on the emotions and energies of plants, trees, etc. Some empaths only take on negative emotions, some take on only positive emotions, and some take on all emotions.

Emotional Empath for Animals: You take on the emotions and energies of animals around you, or the animals to whom you are energetically connected. Some empaths only take on negative emotions, some take on only positive emotions, and some take on all emotions.

Physical Empath for Humans: You are able to feel physical things that are occurring in the people around you, or in people to whom you are energetically connected. This might manifest in ways such as your arm hurting and then you turn around and realise the person behind you has a cast on their arm; you feeling another person’s pleasure whilst having sex with them; your stomach gurgling and feeling hungry, even though you just ate, because someone around you hasn’t eaten recently, etc.

Physical Empath for Plants: You are able to feel physical things that are occurring in the plants around you. This might manifest as feeling thirsty when the plants/trees need water; feeling drained or cranky or malnourished when they are not getting enough sunlight; feeling sickly if they are being sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals, or if they are drinking dirtied ground-water, etc.

Physical Empath for Animals: You are able to feel physical things that are occurring in the animals around you, or in animals to whom you are energetically connected. This may manifest as feeling their hunger, their physical pains, bad digestion, whether their too warm or too cold, and if something is physically uncomfortable to them (i.e. feeling a discomfort in your hip if the animal is having hip discomfort), etc.

Empath for the Earth: You are able to feel the physical pain of the earth as people drill holes into it, spill chemicals into it, dump their waste into it, etc.; You are also able to feel the emotional pain of the earth as all of these occurrences take place.

Empath for the Collective: You are able to feel the energy of the human collective as your own. You may feel waves of sadness, fear, joy, freedom, etc. that are not tied to any singular person, including yourself. These feelings tend to come when there are major worldly events such as wars, elections, natural disasters, mass shootings, holiday celebrations, etc.

You can also exhibit multiple of these empathic abilities at once. More and more empaths seem to be surfacing, nowadays, and we seem to be more sensitive than ever before. I believe that this is because the world- both the earth and our human population- are ready for us; they are calling for us. No one wants to feel the pain of others or of the planet. But the more of us that come about, the more there is going to be an inherent want that eventually even turns into a need to end the suffering that is in our hands to end. 

More and more people are starting to come about who are doing their own ‘work’; that are ending generational discrepancies within their own bloodlines; that are helping to save the environment; that are helping others to grow further into their all-powered, beautiful, worthy Selves. And you don’t have to be clairempathic to do any of these things- it’s just that this wave of self-help seems to be riding in on the waves of all of the empaths who are rising from the depths to break on the shoreline.

Many people paint the idea of being an empath as though it is a curse. And the truth is, it absolutely can be- if you don’t know how to handle it.

Many people who come into my office who experience clairempathy have been diagnosed with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder, and more. I, myself, was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, and after discovering my own clairempathic abilities and spending the next consecutive years studying how that effected my episodes, I learned how to clear my energy field of others, and my diagnosis- just as it was professionally given- was professionally taken away. (Click here and scroll down to read the full story)

The other truth that most people don’t talk about, is that once the personal underpinnings of how being clairempathic manifests within your individual life begin to be understood, being an empath can be an incredible gift! You can use your abilities to be able to help people through becoming a mirror for them; by reflecting their feelings back to them; by reflecting their energies back to them. You can also learn how other people’s energies may be coming into your field in specific so that you can focus on healing a paralleled part of yourself. And, of course, if you feel called to being an ethical energy practitioner of any kind, you can use your clairempathic abilities to link into other peoples’ emotional, physical, and energetic ailments to help them find healing.

If you are an empath, here is the most important set of steps you need to know to keep yourself safe:

1) Ask yourself “Is this mine” when you are feeling intense emotion, energy, or pain

2) If you get a “Yes”, ask, “Is this only mine?”, because sometimes other energies can latch onto emotions that we are already feeling and magnify them.

3) If to either of those questions you get a “No”, it is time to ground and clear your energy field. There are tons of clearing practises out there, and it is important that you don’t just do the first thing Google says, but listen to you. To what you need. I have a YouTube video that is rather old but gives some examples that may work in your favour.

4) Know that if it’s not yours, it’s not your problem. It is not your job to take on all of the world’s problems. That will get both you and them nowhere, and will be a disservice to both of you. Your only job is to continue to work on and heal yourself, because that is eventually how you will be able to help others.

5) Know that you are loved, unconditionally.

If this article has inspired you or has sparked questions, please feel free to email them to me at doorwaytoself@gmail.com, and I will answer them during the next live Q and A on Facebook and Instagram on Sunday 9 June at 12pm EST.

Do you think that you or a loved one is an empath? Share this article with anyone who you think it might help! Tag @doorwaytoself on Facebook or Instagram with #psychiceducation

 About the Author

Rachel Leah Gerson is a Metaphysical Practitioner and Psychic Educator, and the creatrix of Doorway to Self, LLC. A graduate of the University of Michigan in English and Creative Writing and a current master’s student of Clinical Mental Health Counselling at Western Michigan University, Gerson is determined to help people understand the intersection of mental health and psychic abilities, because “If you’re human, you’re psychic”.


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