In French, being empathic means the faculty to put oneself in the other’s place. To walk in his shoes, so to speak. To be comprehensive: an identification.
Whereas in English, being empathic can mean much more: the gift to feel the other person’s emotion. In a mediumistic kind of way: a perception.
I prefer the French definition that empowers every good person with this particular emotion and fixes a clear border between good and bad people: the possibility you have or not to escape the gravity of your navel and see the other’s perspective.
A lack of empathy is also the definition of evil these psychologists gave, who were sent to Nuremberg to understand how such barbaric excesses were possible.
But whichever the definition, I’m a very empathic person. I’ve always been blessed with the capacity to think about the other persons’ perspective and feel compassion. And I also have a lot of intuition.
With a slight problem: I couldn’t believe in evil. I was one of those people convinced that where there was a human, there was a divine spark, a soul, an everlasting chance of redemption.
And I was not able, thus, to understand how there could be so much meanness, in news or history. How was it possible?
Always the springing Bambi in the sunset.
I also suffered, often, of this capacity to feel the others’ pain. Of this psychic perception that made me emotionally vulnerable. Sad for others, angry for the violated rights of my human brothers and sisters.
I now know who negative people are and I know why they are totally bereft of empathy: because of fear, anger, ego or a cocktail of the above, they have cut themselves of any positive emotions. And of some negative emotions, I guess, like despair. Because, to me, you are only capable of despair if you have a heart.
One can easily see the impact negative people have on this world, making it in their image, inhumane, cold and superficial.
And I think about my fellow empathic friends.
I feel they must be fighting with sadness and angst, the first ones to succomb to suicide, alcohool and drugs.
There is this saying in French : “the best ones are also the ones to depart first”. And I now understand its meaning.
My kids are good people. Empathic in everyway.
And to help them affront today’s world, I teach them to be “empaths with teeth”.
To continue being good persons but also to be strong. To be able to identify negative people and to be ready to fight, if necessary.
Because the world must change.
We can’t abandon the turf to negative people, who manipulate others and destroy the planet.
The world will need empathic warriors.