Empath vs Highly Sensitive
So we’ve looked at both the Empath and the Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP as most have come to call them. We’ve discovered that the Empath is someone who feels emotions and sometimes physical sensations in three different ways.
1. Sensing but not taking on the emotion or physical sensation.
2. Feeling – You feel the emotion and/or physical sensation but you know it is not of you.
3. Taking on the exact emotion and/or physical sensation as if it is your own.
Those are the three “levels” (couldn’t come up with a better descriptor) that I have discovered from doing this research. Some people believe that when you experience the first level only, you are not an Empath but only an HSP and then there are others who say that you are still just an HSP if you experience both levels one and two. The only way you can be an Empath, in their eyes, is if you are experiencing level 3. Well, I disagree… of course that is my opinion. So let’s do a comparison. Let’s see how different or similar the two are. To do this, I want to take the examples I used in Part 1 so that we can explore these abilities more fully.
In each example we come across a myriad of emotions and physical sensations. Instead of going through each one separately, I will lump them together drawing out each difference.
- Sensing the emotion/physical sensation.
- Visually we can see each situation which is examined by using our regular vision. We can see the girl’s excitement by the smile on her face and her gleaming with joy. The homeless person we can see a myriad of emotions as not every homeless person exhibits the same thing. We can see the sadness from the child from the frown and possible tears. We take that information in and while some people see it… they don’t always react to it or feel it. The visual does not go any further than this step although seeing someone visual emotions can cause a reaction… even in those who do not have either ability.
- As an HSP, you see the visual but you also can sense or see the energy the person is emitting. Some can even sense and see the aura change color or brighten. It’s almost like a force field that you can touch.
- As an Empath, you see the visual but you also sense the emotion and it sends sensations within your body. Almost as if you are going to experience the emotion or physical sensation.
- Feeling the emotion/physicalness.
- As an HSP, you feel the energy of each person. You can extend your energy to meet theirs. Each situation can cause a different energetic reaction. Excitement can actually send you a boost of energy, sadness can sometimes draw energy from you or push you away depending on the circumstances, and anger can make you feel pushed away or even evade your energy field. These sensations are not felt strongly in this level but you definitely know they are there and close.
- As an Empath, you begin to feel their emotion within you but you know it is not your own.
- Taking on the emotion/physicalness.
- As an HSP in this level, you are so open to the energy that different circumstances can actually cause you harm because their energy is invading yours. In the case of the excited woman you can become excited or even agitated depending on how strong the energy is and how well you can handle it. There are many things that can happen with the homeless person all depending on what they are experiencing within themselves. In the case of the sad boy, the energy can literally pull from your energy field or push away, of course depending on the situation.
- As an Empath, you literally take on their emotion and physical sensations as if they are your own. There doesn’t seem to be a line where yours stops and theirs begins. There are some Empaths that are at this “level” that do not take on the physical sensation but most definitely take on the emotion.
As I sit here typing this I have begun to see a pattern. Much like the chakras and how our sensations change with them being balanced or un-balanced but we can still be wide open energy wise and still control our sensations. Of course a lot of protection is required. The energies of others can do harm, intentional or unintentional of course, so it is very important to keep yourself protected at all times.
You can see the similarities and begin to see the differences of the two abilities. I had come to believe that being an Empath means you are naturally going to be an HSP but I don’t believe that is true anymore. HSPs seem to be more in tuned with energy but does that mean that an Empath is? Maybe not. Some Empaths do not sense or feel the energy of another person… but isn’t emotion and physical sensations merely energy? I believe so but not all people see, sense and feel the energy part of it. They simply see, sense and feel the emotion or physical sensation. I hope that makes sense to you because that small little part was huge for me and made my perspective open up to other possibilities.
I’ve been thinking and reading and experimenting with these ideas for a few years now and I have only barely scratched the surface. Our minds and abilities are so diverse just as every human is. Not one person is going to experience the same as another. There are similarities but never exactly the same. We are creatures of the Divine, of God, of the Universe and we were not created to be exactly the same. We all learn and grow at different paces for a reason. That reason is to help each other learn and grow.
So, do I think and Empath is the same as an HSP? No. Do I think one is better or more advanced than the other? No. As I stated before… we are all different… even down to the smallest of small details. Embrace your differences… embrace each other for their differences. We are different for a reason.
Some have been struggling with being “labeled” and I agree with them and their feelings about it. Some, however, need labels. Those who need or want a label are no better or less than the rest of us. It’s just how they choose to be. And that’s ok.
So… after reading these articles… what do you think? Do you think you fall into one or both of these categories? Do you feel you are in a totally different category altogether?
I would love to hear from you!
So, until next time… be kind to each other… and yourself.
In Love & Light Always
Carol ~ Mama Owl