Empathy is a beautiful thing. I have always embraced the fact that I am able somewhat understand another person must be feeling in situations that I may not have experience with myself. And even if I do have experience with something similar, I am able to realize that I cannot fully understand what they are going through, as everyone’s emotions and reactions to situations are unique. But with empathy, I am able to at least be able to put myself in their place enough to help them get to the root of the thing troubling them.
The downside to this quality, for me, is that I have also become an emotional sponge. What others feel, I begin to feel as well. I absorb emotional energy of all types. Whenever the person I am with is openly feeling blue, I become blue myself, but at least in that circumstance, I know that the source is external instead of internal.
Some people, however, have the ability to mask their feelings on the surface and portray themselves as being stronger, happier, braver, etc. than they really are. I am, of course, one of those people who will hold something in until it bursts. It is not intentional, but just a natural reaction within some people. Especially with an empathetic person who feels their problems will be a burden on others. But other people conceal their feelings, it somewhat jams my radar. Instead of absorbing their emotion and knowing its source, I feel it and take it on as my own.
It takes a bit of time, but eventually I am able to identify it as not coming from within myself, and then am able to hone on the source. Ultimately, my empathetic side is not satisfied until some form of good takes place, in the form of helping identify a problem and find ways towards a solution. It is this drive that makes me so sensitive to others’ feelings.