Empath is a person that capable to perceive, to feel, and to be affected by other people’s emotions. Even though the empath doesn’t go through the same event or condition. This power often accompanied by a spiritual experience. Nowadays, empath is becoming one of the trending topics among social media and the internet. Here is why =
As you can see, the term “empath” are searched 4x more than it was 5 years ago. And if we search the term on youtube. It gives us about 143,000 videos that are related to the keyword “empath”.
I actually already know empath for quite a while, but never really interested in it. But after I watched the documentary that Vice made, I become more curious and interested with empath. So I decided on a quest to find out how empath works.
First, I personally believed that we could actually feel other people feelings and emotions, and there are actually many researchers that prove that. But I strongly disagree, when the power of perceiving or experience other people’s emotion is accompanied or caused by a spiritual power.
Many empaths believe that their power is coming from the heaven, the energy that people had, the mother nature, the spirit, etc. For me, this is a complete nonsense. So today, I want to share with you a couple of concepts and my own opinion that helpfully explains how empath work & why it become so popular.
So first, I just want to point it out that EVERYTHING PSYCHOLOGICAL IS SIMULTANEOUSLY BIOLOGICAL. Emotions are not projected through energy or even spirits, but emotions are caused by hormones. When you are feeling stressed out, then your cortisol level is high. If you are in love, then your level of oxytocin is high. So there is no such thing as a mystical or a spiritual bond, It just hormones that release to your brain.
Then how empath works? Empathy is functioned like our defensive mechanism. A mother doesn’t need to be an empath (if there is such thing as an empath) to feel her daughter’s emotion. When her daughter is sad, she quickly comforts and cheers her up.
When my friend cut his own finger accidentally with his knife, I can actually felt the pain on my finger, sometimes I even felt more pain than the person who really experiences the accident. Well, we experience this all the time, and this is normal. This phenomenon is called sympathy pain. Just like a husband that feel sympathy for his pregnant wife that he could experience labor pain that physically impossible. When other people are sad we felt empathy for them. It’s nothing special.
But what makes empath special and impressive for many people, is their ability to tells other people emotion. Many empaths actually charge people for money, just to tell them their emotions. Almost all of the participants actually surprised and said that the prediction is very accurate.
The name of the concept is forer effect. Which is our tendency to rate other people description of our personality/trait as highly accurate and precise, even though the description could be applied to everyone. One of the most popular uses of this phenomenon is horoscope.
So those are a couple of concepts that explain empaths. But there is a very important element that influences the popularity of empath. It is the feeling of superiority and exclusivity. To prove it, here are the screen capture I took when I search “what is empath”
“Is it rare to be an empath?”, “What are the signs of an empath”. Those sentences really convey our need for superiority and exclusivity. The more rare empath is, the more we wanted to be an empath. This needs also shown in almost all youtube videos about empath. Many empaths tell that this ability is a superpower.
So, the power of empath is nothing special, all of us (normal human being) have it. But when ordinary power framed as a superpower, we felt superior. Then, many people that felt that he/she is an empath, excited and interested in empath. So that’s why empath becomes so popular.
Thank you for reading this post, if you disagree with me, don’t hesitate to share your idea in the comment below!
REFERENCES AND SUPPORTING ARTICLES
Barnum effect. (2017, December 02). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnum_effect
Couvade syndrome. (2017, November 12). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Couvade_syndrome
Explore search interest for empath by time, location and popularity on Google Trends. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today 5-y&q=empath
Forer effect. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://skepdic.com/forer.html
Hacking Into Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, & Oxytocin. (2016, July 26). Retrieved from http://theutopianlife.com/2014/10/14/hacking-into-your-happy-chemicals-dopamine-serotonin-endorphins-oxytocin/
Phantom pain. (2017, November 30). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_pain