Column: Showing empathy produces power

As+he+gives+design+advice%2C+senior+photojournalist+Michael+Ramirez+helps+fellow+staff+member+and+sophomore+Christian+Alfano.+Both+are+a+part+of+the+The+Game+Room+podcast%2C+alongside+reporters+senior+Aiden+Ulmer+and+freshman+Jake+Radcliffe.+I+have+always+felt+better+helping+others%2C+Ramirez+said.+It+gives+me+better+feeling+knowing+that+I+was+able+to+pass+on+my+knowledge+to+someone+else.

Sofia Ayala

As he gives design advice, senior photojournalist Michael Ramirez helps fellow staff member and sophomore Christian Alfano. Both are a part of the ‘The Game Room’ podcast, alongside reporters senior Aiden Ulmer and freshman Jake Radcliffe. “I have always felt better helping others,” Ramirez said. “It gives me better feeling knowing that I was able to pass on my knowledge to someone else.”

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I believe every empath is born with the ability to feel everything around them in a more defined way, with a hypersensitivity to emotions around them – including their own. Some articles have said that our empathy is our greatest weakness. In a world where people are aggressive to each other, empathy is not reigning.

However, I believe that empathy is not a weakness, but a strength. It allows us to have better intuition and awareness of our surroundings, and form strong bonds with others.

Being an empath is difficult. The challenges are heavy. For example, overstimulation can be overwhelming – and even paralyzing.  However, with every obstacle comes some good. Being an empath allows a person to be able to feel the emotions in a room or the area that surrounds them.

Giving empathy provides those who possess this gift the ability to remove themselves from the situation before anything harmful happens to them or someone they care about. Even in my own life, from time to time, I have been able to sense if someone is having a bad time. Empathy also allows me to be ready to help another student. I often end up caring more about them and learning from their struggles. Then, we both grow, and are ready to help others find the solutions that they need.

Empathy also can control – with power, not weakness – how we form friendships. As empaths, we naturally take in the energy of each interaction. This allows us to connect with people faster, and it gives those we meet the feeling of being understood.

In my own life, making friends came with challenges at the beginning of every relationship. But, with each conversation, relating became easier. Being an empath has allowed me to create strong-as-steel friendships with people who I will never forget – even if life separates us. But, the memories, moments and feelings we shared will remain.

Yes, empathy has power.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated March 18 to add the infographic.