The Difference Between Empathy and Compassion


Raise your hand if you identify with being an "empath." Being an empath or identifying as empathic is pretty common in our modern day spiritual community, and it's typically spoken of as a gift. While there are most certainly gifts found in any quality we have, I want to share a more uncommon view of the empath. While I wouldn't say that being an empath is bad, I would say that this quality has the potential to drain our lifeforce energy and create complications in our lives. This is because, oftentimes, being empathic stems from past trauma that is still energetically stuck in the body. Empathy Through the Lens of the Chakras

Did you know that we have the ability to both open and dial down our chakras? When you identify as an empath, it may mean that one or more of your chakras are super open and you're taking on all the feelings and emotions of another person, group, or possibly even the collective consciousness. You are taking on all that exists in that entity's energetic field.

These emotions can be any feeling, both "good" or "bad," or a story in us that still needs to be healed. To sum it up, when you're an empath: "The emotions in me see and feel the emotions in you.” While that seems to be common knowledge about empaths, one thing you may not know is that this quality can actually be a reflection of your own emotional experiences, which is typically unconscious.

You may not view this as an issue, but here's the thing: when your emotions, especially deep seated sadness or anger, is being reflected back to you through someone else's pain, these two energetic pains get mixed up together. Your pain gets mixed in with theirs and vise versa. From this place, people tend to give advice from their personal history or unconscious (or sometimes conscious) stories and feelings, which is not helpful. This can also lead to a codependent type of dynamic.

How Compassion is Different The truth is, we all have our own answers inside of us. What we need when we are in emotional turmoil is to be seen. So, rather than give advice to others when your pain is being reflected back to you, practice holding space for that person, or even the collective consciousness. When we can hold space, rather than get our energy mixed up with another's, we are coming from a place of compassion. Energetically, if you are able to show and feel compassion, that means that you are able to dial down the chakras and you are able to hold space for someone's emotions rather than see them (consciously or unconsciously) as your own. When we can hold space without energetically taking on someone's emotions and feelings, we are able to show up, listen and become a pillar of strength. When I learned this myself, I started to move away from taking on others' emotions and practiced holding space for people instead. It was very freeing, and I started seeing through a completely different lens. I observed that people really just wanted to be listened to and seen; no one wanted my advice and no one needed me to feel bad for them or take on their emotions. The goal is to just sit and hold space for someone and not give advice; to just sit and listen. When we can show compassion and be that pillar of strength the other person actually feels more supported as well. When you hold space for people you, in turn, give them strength. Holding space for another allows the other person to feel safe enough to allow their own healing to come through on its own terms. The Compassion Challenge I invite you to tune in and start to notice when you are being empathic (taking on others' energetic stuff) versus living in a state of compassion. Start to notice how you feel when you are listening to others. Do strong emotions come up for you? Do you have the urge to give advice? If so, you are likely living in an empathic state. With this awareness, start to practice listening to others without taking on their emotions. Give yourself this challenge of just sitting and listening (holding space) for your friends and family for a full day. Make the commitment to not offer any advice. Set the intention to hold space and notice the difference in how you feel. After doing this for a day, maybe try a week, then a month! Notice how your own energy begins to shift the more you hold space for others rather than take on their energy. I'd love to hear your own personal experiences, if you care to share! Next Steps for Recovering Empaths Another important practice for those of you who identify as emaths is to stay grounded and strengthen your aura every single day. When you are full of your own self, your own lifeforce energy, the less space you will have to take on others' energy. Visualize a strong aura, your personal energy field, surrounding you every day and an energetic protection around you.

For more practices, and to learn how to open up or dial down your chakras, consider joining my Intuition 101 course, beginning February 7th. We will spend three weeks together learning to listen to the whispers of our Intuition and diving deep inside to experience our most authentic selves. This course is designed to: -Give you tools to gain deeper access to your Intuition, and align you with your True Self. -Guide you in the direction of Trusting your Intuition more. -Harmonize and heal the 7 chakras along your spine. -Inspire you to ignite your inner voice and inner creativity.


When this course is finished, you will begin to be more aligned with your Higher Purpose in this life, have more courage to live your Truth and start to move more fully in the direction of your life's purpose. Visit my Offerings page for more information here.

dn@deidrenorman.com  I  415.439.3483

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