DECODING THE EMPATH
Experts explain why empathy is in demand and how excessive empathy can harm you
Every now and then, the Internet comes up with new words or phrases that take over the social media. The latest ‘it’ word that has made its way into the urban dictionary is ‘empath’. From Tinder profiles to Facebook statuses, everyone is now describing themselves as a self-proclaimed empath.
Who is an empath? According to Google, the word is derived from empathy and is defined as a person who has the ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual. The popularity of the term has grown to the extent that a character named Mantis in the film The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, has been referred to as an empath. The Guardian recently did an article on how people in Los Angeles, US, are hiring empaths for $200 (`12,946) an hour to help people deal with their own emotions. In a tetee-tete, experts Pulkit Sharma, psychologist, and Dr Manish Jain, psychiatrist, explain what an empath is, why is it a coveted quality and how excessive empathy can be harmful.
DEFINING AN EMPATH
According to experts, an empath is someone who is able to feel and absorb other people’s feelings and emotions. They are able to do that because they are highly sensitive. Empaths have a tendency to perceive the world through emotions and intuitions and usually have trouble intellectualising their feelings.
WHY EMPATHY IS IN DEMAND
Experts believe that the dominant social media culture has made people increasingly self-absorbed and narcissistic. Constant contact with phones has led to an information overload, resulting in people being perpetually occupied. Experts also state that communication skills have declined as individuals now focus only on their own point of view. Conversations have become one-sided with people not listening to others’ perspective. As a result, most people feel misunderstood. The Guardian reported that people are now looking to connect with individuals who can empathise with them and give a patient hearing to their issues. According to experts, without empathy, being happy, and maintaining healthy relationships with anyone is not possible. Empathy allows us to connect emotionally with each other. However, experts also advise caution against excessive empathy, as it can be detrimental.
French actor Pom Klementieff played the role of an empath in The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2