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Podcast Episode 02 - Empath Unplugged with Esther Bertram

Should We Call Ourselves Empaths?

If you’re like most people, you probably think of empaths as people who are highly sensitive to the emotions of others. And while that’s certainly true, there’s much more to being an empath than just being sensitive.

Empaths are people who are able to feel the emotions of others as if they were their own. They’re able to sense the energy of those around them and often know what someone is feeling before they even know it themselves.

Empaths are often drawn to helping professions such as teaching, social work, and counselling. They’re natural healers and often find themselves in the role of caretaker. But being an empath isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.

Because they’re so attuned to the emotions of others, empaths can often absorb the negative energy of those around them. This can lead to empaths feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and even depressed.

So should we call ourselves empaths?

That’s a question that only you can answer. But for a fresh perspective on the topic, listen to this episode to hear Esther’s views about the subject she explore the pros and cons of labelling ourselves as empaths, and whether or not it’s something we should do or not.

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Full Transcription

00:01
Esther Bertram
Welcome to empath unplugged. A frequent release podcast of RAW and philosophical reflections on wellbeing, love and the meaning of life brought to you by your host, Esther Bertram, founder of the Inzel, a rejuvenation island and community. For empaths, expect topics such as philosophy, psychology, art, culture, spirit, science, holistic health and the occasional beach fire song to be part of your wonder ride to your Oceanside escape.
00:31
Esther Bertram
It's time to breathe in the salty air and bask in the soothing, warm sun to relax, reflect and vibe along with a fellow empath to rejuvenate. Hello everybody, welcome to podcast number two. Today's topic is should we label ourselves as empaths so this topic is a bit of a double edged sword. In my mind there are pros and cons of both, so I'm just going to give you my opinion about this topic of labelling ourselves as empaths.
01:08
Esther Bertram
So most of my empath friends and I all like to understand our gifts and our setbacks more because we are all on a self development process trying to improve ourselves and the world and sometimes giving ourselves the label of empath helps us to be able to communicate and understand our weaknesses and strengths. I've only recently actually in the last couple of years. Fully identified as being an empath, I have been an empath all my life, but.
01:44
Esther Bertram
Actually giving it that term and maybe coming out as an empath has only been really a recent. A recent development, and I think there's been a lot of benefits to that. I like the fact that it kind of validates my experience as an empath because I've often felt very marginalized and like an alien, often in various situations, feeling very different from other people. And a lot of that comes down to my sensitivities and different mental construct of the world. How I experience and also my set of values to be honest and that a lot of that can be umbrellaed under this term of empath and the ability to tune into subtle energies.
02:36
Esther Bertram
But ultimately I think calling ourselves empaths helps us belong somewhere. I know that me forming a community recently at the Inzel and finding fellow empaths around the world has been such a beautiful experience and. Being able to connect very quickly and very deeply with people because we have a similar way of viewing the world and feeling world and experiencing the world. You already can take leaps and bounds in your friendship and really go to some beautiful deep soul exploration situations. And had I not labeled myself an empath and went out into the world to find fellow empaths that wouldn't be possible. So ultimately, I do say it's a great thing to do, but it comes with a few caveats and that's what I want to explore in today's podcast so.
03:36
Esther Bertram
The trouble I find in life generally is the minute we start labelling anything we it initiates a few cause and effect results such as judgment from others. People will have sometimes positive experiences with looking at you and seeing you as an empath. Others will have a negative and think, oh, she thinks she's an empath and whatever. Or there might be some neutral whenever you position yourself with any. Stance I'd say, and a label and a decision of. That's what you identify with. You are going to get judgment from other people externally. But to me now that I'm in my forties and I care less and less about external opinions of others because I've worked on myself to try to build my own self esteem and.
04:34
Esther Bertram
Not mind what happens externally, as much as I did, potentially in my twenties. What I care more about now is internally, how does that feel? What does, what do we feel like when we? Title ourselves as an empath and. For me it feels like a belonging like I've. Found a way to adequately describe. My a whole sense the whole my whole self in a lot of ways. In one simple word, there are so many definitions of what an empath is, and it does vary between people.
05:15
Esther Bertram
But the core thing for me is purely having this ability to tune into subtle energies outside of the normal spectrum, and that can bring positive and negative experiences and a lot of setbacks, but also a lot of superpowers if you know how to work with those energies and I think a lot of empaths are on that journey of Discovery trying to work out. What these skills are or what these setbacks are and how to optimize? I know that's what it's been like for me and from talking to a lot of my empath, friends and people in the community, it seems we all share that as part of our personal heroes quest.
05:59
Esther Bertram
Is understanding our powers and coming into our. Full and empowered empathic selves and. But not and, but one concern I have with labels. Is the minute we call ourselves an empath or anything really? It's the minute we define it as a label. I find we risk becoming. To our own and others detriment a bit to us and them like we are separate. I come from background and viewpoint that I like to try to be holistic in everything and seeing all of humans and experience as consciousness itself.
06:50
Esther Bertram
Having an experience and the minute we put a label on something. It's almost like making a division, putting in it in a little category over there and. It's by doing that you instantly create reference points of the opposites and. New mental constructs form that are not who you identify with. So if I'm an empath and I could look over there and if they're not called an empath, they're over there. I'm over here, you're over there and that is not a good thing in my mind, so. Yeah it is.
07:32
Esther Bertram
It's a nuanced thing and I think, there are pros and cons and different scenarios when to. Label ourselves as that and it can be positive in some situations, but it can be negative in others, and I think it's good to look at these things because then we can make a better decision about what's more appropriate for the best outcome of all the people involved so. One thing this topic reminded me of was when I was in year seven, I had a short period where I used to go and hang out in the library with these really nerdy guys. They were in your 10.
08:14
Esther Bertram
And they would play dungeons and Dragons and they would let me join in sometimes. And I loved it because it's I don't know if anyone knows about this game, not only even know if young people play it anymore to be honest, but it happened for me and basically you are all different characters and I used to play the High Priestess and. All different cards and different characters have different powers, and when you're on the quest, certain powers can win in certain situations.
08:48
Esther Bertram
That's how I see empaths, in a way I see us as. Just having a certain set of parameters that we have more positive things in some ways and also some setbacks and weaknesses. A bit like being a character in Dungeons and Dragons. And what I love about life and actually about connecting with people is I love meeting other characters that are really far away from that as well, like. I know someone in particular that is extremely sharp, logical, non emotive mind and. When you hang around with people that are less intuitive and very rational in their approach, you have so much to learn.
09:37
Esther Bertram
If you can be open to that and it's a bit like going on a quest in Dungeons and Dragons, I think humans have the best. Outcome and progress. When we can respect and understand each individual and diverse set of powers and weaknesses and learn from them and support them and inspire them towards what we have to offer. I may have been programmed by watching too much Star Trek to be honest, because in Star Trek World, I don't know if any of you guys watch it. Picard's my hero of all heroes, but in their reality. Every different. Alien and culture and creature has special things about them and I love the fact that in that reality it all comes together and.
10:36
Esther Bertram
People and aliens and creatures and gods and non physical entities. All find a way to kind of communicate or interact, or sometimes battle each other and it's just really interesting and I very much relate to Councillor Troy. She was, she's very. She's an empath and she would be the one who almost like a glue between different aliens and different cultures. And i see empaths our role here on in the human reality on Earth. We're a bit like the councillor troys of the world and almost like we're on the bridge between different places because we can feel into other people's experiences and.
11:27
Esther Bertram
I actually like it, I love that I'm an empath because I see. I feel like I get to have a much richer experience because I'm able to. Tune into very vast and different realities just stepping into their shoes for a while and then coming back to my own. That did take a few decades to detangle from trying to work out who's this, who's and it's still sometimes happens, but anyway, sorry, that was a little bit of a tangent. I think being an empath, amazing. So yes, I like labelling as that because it is appropriate and I love the experience of it.
12:07
Esther Bertram
But ultimately, my true thought on the subject is. That it is a spectrum, and if you imagine empathy, just the. Topic of empathy laid out on a spectrum. In my mind. We every human belongs on that spectrum. Even the narcissist and the psychopaths and the sociopaths. They all, they're all on the spectrum as well. They just might be down this end and the empaths and the conscious empaths and the empaths who have worked on themselves a lot. They're vibrating right up here at this end on the empathy spectrum. And I think that. By putting us all on the one place, it helps us get out of that thought of us and them and it actually helps us be able to inspire and coach and help and nurture the empathy in people that are further down on the empathy spectrum.
13:10
Esther Bertram
By being more inclusive by us all living in the same place rather than going hey, you're a narcissist, you're over there in that category and I'm an empath and I'm over here. And here's a wall between us. I don't think that's a helpful way of. Seeing the world. Sometimes it's necessary. I feel if you're still working out what it is to be an empath and you're in your detangling phase, sometimes I think it's very necessary to categorise and realise narcissistic behaviour is going on, and it might be. Very detrimental to your well being and.
13:53
Esther Bertram
In that detangling recognition phase, being able to compartmentalise is extremely important because sometimes you need to get out of that situation and you need to realize that you're an empath that's being drawn into that situation because a narcissistic behaviour character is drawn a bit like a moth to a flame. To an empath, because empaths are by default very giving. I dive into this subject quite a bit in the book I'm writing, and if you listen to this next year, though, it's already been released. It's called the 1-2-3 theory. And you can buy it on pre-order at the moment. Actually, if you go to the one two three theory dot com and explore this dynamic between narcissists and empaths.
14:46
Esther Bertram
But after a while, I think when you have done quite a bit of work on yourself as an empath and you know what it, what it means and what it entails to have boundaries, and you can recognise. Narcissistic behaviour and you have healthy distance and often you may go into becoming a coach or some kind of profession where you're able to help other empaths or give back because you've got that inner awareness of what it means to be an empath or.
15:24
Esther Bertram
Get through the process of the detangling. And at that point, that is when I think it's really important to see us all on a spectrum. Because sometimes in the detangling you can go too far and you can become very compartmentalized And yeah, it's almost like a full circle. Well that's where I'm up to now. I've been through that detangling. Had to do quite a bit of that in my twenties, detangling and I'm less spaghetti now and more of a I don't know vegan burger or something. Anyway, so I think it's really important to think about what labels do and the positives of when to have them and when not to have them. And when, whenever I think about names and labels it.
16:19
Esther Bertram
Makes me think about Eckhart Tolle. I can't remember what book or was a long time ago. He said something. In one of his books that stuck with me, the concept stuck with me. I can't remember exactly how he said it, but. He talked about when you just call something and give it a label. Just say a flower. You can sometimes stop experiencing the full essence of what that item or subject is, because you've labeled it and. You can also have an ego identification with the form so. That could happen with Empath saying OK, I'm owning this.
17:05
Esther Bertram
That's part of my identity. I belong in an empath group and it becomes like. A almost like a God like a coat of armor. But that can also be detrimental as well, so. The great thing with Eckhart. When he talked about that it was so profound to me, i wrote a book a few years ago called November Fox, and it's a sci-fi fantasy through dimensions of consciousness. She's trying to understand this cube, which is all about well being and balancing the sides of yourself and a dedicated one of the chapters to echard there's a character called the Now Tree, and it's this. Big wise tree that has a clock in its branches that's always now and he's very profound.
18:02
Esther Bertram
It's almost like a cameo from Eckhard. And actually I might. I'm going to play an excerpt of this of that chapter from the audio book at the end of this podcast because it dives a bit into this subject of. Names and labels and exploring an exercise of what it is when you remove that because. I think. There's a quote he says in the book, the Now Tree to really, I can't even remember it completely, but if you want to see. I can't honestly can't remember. It's something like. You have to have beginners eyes if you want to truly see.
18:46
Esther Bertram
So it's about stripping back everything and. As a philosophical concept, I'd say. I think that's healthy to do in life. Generally, I think that. Our conscripted life and our expectations from society. Have led US and media saturation. There's so many variables playing in at. Creating a reality where everything's labeled everything, 's. Named everything belongs somewhere everything 's in a category. It's actually, yeah, it stops us seeing properly in my mind it stops us.
19:27
Esther Bertram
Experiencing the true raw essence. Of life itself and labels and names because our mind just wants to always understand and have a feeling of control over reality. We just interpret through our senses all the stimulus with our eyes and our ears and our touch and our taste and our smell. Our brain tries to interpret all that from a very small spectrum, which there's so much more outside of the spectrum that humans could even experience. But from our small. Experience of each of those senses. Our brain does its best to interpret and. Survive basically, and I think part of our inner surviving is wanting to control and understand. So we label we like to go OK.
20:25
Esther Bertram
Yep, that's a tree. Ok, I know it's a tree. Therefore is it a dangerous thing? Well, trees are generally not dangerous except in these situations and our in a narrative goes on and creates this whole reality of what the tree is and. I think if we can look at how children look at the world before they've even learnt the terms of tree or flower or empath or anything. They just walk through life. Perceiving with all their senses. And the labels aren't there and that is why I think they are quite often so joyous. And you see awe and wonder in their eyes because they're just.
21:14
Esther Bertram
They don't have the filter of the narrative going on. They're able to just. Be and live with eyes wide open. And I love that about kids. That's why the work I do. I work for a music company. As well as running a publishing company and write kids books. Because I think. As adults, we can learn so much from kids and be like that ourselves and try to foster in the children to stay like that. To grow up in the world and not have to fill in all the gaps with media that just.
21:54
Esther Bertram
Urges you to pull outside of yourself and categorise everything we need to create scenarios and spaces that children can. Have that space for creativity for inner reflection, for space, for pure experience, without all of the. Contrived decided collective agreement realities, which can lead to a very prescribed life. And ultimately I think quite depressive life, especially when so much of it is then pulled into the screens and into online. Anyway, don't get me started on that whole world. That's one of the reasons. Actually I wrote November fox. I wrote it for especially young teenage girls who I find. Are very vulnerable group because there's so much about self esteem with their online presence and a lot of November, Fox was written about going inside yourself.
22:54
Esther Bertram
It's very philosophical fiction and it's about awareness of your mental space, your emotional space, finding your purpose. Your physical experience in the world, but it's done through a game and multiple levels of reality to make it more fantasy so. They don't really realize it's a. Kind of quest or a personal development quest, but yeah, I wrote it purely because I'm very passionate about education. And the next generation, and. I just honestly feel sorry for them because I grew up in the eighties and there was so much freedom then in a way I mean computers were starting to happen and I love my computer.
23:36
Esther Bertram
I'm a big tech head so I'm not against computers, but it's about finding that balance of. Seeing pure reality beyond this new virtual edifice that has been built and is happening faster than humans can even keep up with it. And yeah, just being able to. Be in flow with the energy of the world beyond the waves that seem to push and pull us so much so we can find our true self in the inside.
24:13
Esther Bertram
It's very hard in this distracted world. Very hard anyway. I've gone on a bit of attention, so I'm going to try and reign us back in the question of today was gonna rain myself. Sorry I don't blame you I it's my fault for tantalizing, so let's come back to the topic at hand. Should we call ourselves empaths? Answer short answer yes. I say yes because it helps us understand ourselves. Especially, I love it because it helped me find kind hearted spirits like at the Indzel beach bar, comma, empath community. And if you're listening to this and you're an empath and you want to join a great community with lovely people, come over and check insul com and you can join our community.
25:02
Esther Bertram
It's just so reconfirming and lovely to meet with similar sold people and so the answer is yes. But I give that one bit of advice is to just see us all on an empathy spectrum because. If you're a person who knows how to lead with your heart in a way, I see we have a responsibility to show the way for others. And every time we have a mental construct of us and them, it's harder to connect and inspire people who may not be vibrating on a higher empathy.
25:43
Esther Bertram
Vibration, I think the more we can see everybody as one. The more we can help have a heart lead society, so that would be my advice. Labels can stop you looking beyond the surface. If you imagine this, I often imagine it like spices on a spice rack and. As soon as we label and go OK, Empath, that's an empath. Spice, that's a narcissist spice. There's a psychopath. There's a banker. There's a turmeric. Whatever you always have already have an expectation and a set of variables that go with that label. And you may not see the rest of the person anymore, because you've just labeled.
26:33
Esther Bertram
It we're if you took away all of those labels and went to the spice rack and pulled out a little bit of. I don't know. Empath put it on top of your pasta. You would taste and experience it in a whole new way because you're neutral and. It may be beyond what your brain has decided that definition is. Anyway, I hope that little. Perspective helps or inspires you. That's just how I see it, and I think it's constant work to unlabel things. We spend all our childhood learning names, learning language, learning terms. I think as we're adults.
27:17
Esther Bertram
It's healthy to sometimes it's like going on a detox or a fast. I think sometimes having a fast with words and labels is also a good thing. Just because it gets us back to source. And pure experience. All right, that's it. I'm going to give you a little. Listen to November fox. And then book is gone. November Fox following joy. And this is from the chapter called the Now tree and I'll be back after this for final wrap up, OK? Enjoy his lovely English storytelling voice. Good day came a gentle grandfatherly voice. Hello responded November. Who am I greeting? Where are you? As there was nobody else around, she wondered if the voice was only in her head.
28:14
Esther Bertram
Thi stand before you. Are you the voice of the tree indeed? He paused before replying slowly. I am tree. Why do I hear you in my mind? November asked as she stood up and walked towards him. Her day will arrive when all communication is done in this manner. From being to being directly without words. What do you mean? You're talking with words now. Indeed, you perceive it as speech because that is how you are configured. I am not speaking. Where is my mouth? The tree laughed in a gruffly tone.
28:59
Esther Bertram
They cannot talk. I am sending a vibration of information on the waves of light that connect us both. You are converting the signals into words. As you have been programmed to as a human being, you receive via an audible construct. November looked at Klaus, did you get any of that? Yeah, yeah. Communication vibration words human November was relieved that she wasn't the only one hearing voices. Well, mister Tree we're delighted to meet you this is Klaus and my name is November. She said using her newfound telepathic skills. I am. The tree replied. A long pause followed. Yes, and you are.
29:50
Esther Bertram
I am the tree repeated. Yes, who are you? What is your name? November pushed and Sweet child. These are two very different questions. Would you be less nervous giving me a label? Why is it humans love to name everything so relentlessly labelling? Does you no favours? It leaves such little space. What do you mean? I only wish for something to call you by. You'd realize that giving things titles could stop you looking beyond the branding to the full reality.
30:29
Esther Bertram
You are a tree, another label, but you are a tree indeed in some ways, although I am not my name, I simply AM. Ok, he murmured in his old patient voice. Imagine a pot of what you call Raspberry jam. She does not realize you name her as such. She is just being what she is and you decide that's Raspberry jam. But isn't she Raspberry jam? That's your limited comprehension of her.
31:08
Esther Bertram
Which prevents you from getting to know her true essence. You'll think you know her because you have given her a name. But if we didn't label her, wouldn't she get mixed up with the peanut butter and honey? I am certain you could tell the difference without a name. November scratched her head thinking about what the tree was saying, or rather communicating. She remembered the professor's words. It's more important what you do, not what you are called. I am continued the tree. Leaves room for the beingness of who I am. Which is far more important than what I am called. I think I understand November said trying to imagine herself without her name, though struggling with that concept.
32:01
Esther Bertram
This may be a paradox. What really is needs beyond us. Ok, well I guess if you are not going to tell us your name, you'll probably not give us the time either. November looked up at the big clock on his branch. Perhaps the answer is obvious. The time is now, of course, it is always the same time never is there a moment separate from now replied the wise old voice of the tree. So that was the now tree from November Fox.
32:38
Esther Bertram
And we're coming towards the end of the podcast now. So if you want to take anything away from today's podcast, the main point is. He, I say, be proud to be an empath and happily name yourself an empath because empaths, rock. And if you're an empath, you're cool. But do yourself a favor and put yourself on the spectrum of empathy and put everybody else on there too. We everybody belongs on there. And we're all having a human experience. And the more we do that we're less us and them and we can get more quickly back to a beautiful world of peace, love and happiness.
33:19
Esther Bertram
I think the hippies had so much right about reality. And if we could, yeah, bring back the all those values and ideals the world would be a much nicer place because we would all live happily ever after. With less divisions, less labels and. Fully embracing our diversity like Star Trek and boldly going where no one has gone before. So with that I'll leave you with a final quote that came up through our community the other day someone posts it and it was about lighthouses and it was something like. Lighthouses don't need to go running all around the island, letting everyone know they're a lighthouse.
34:05
Esther Bertram
They just stand there shining and. I think that's what it's like to be an empath. We don't need to go running around declaring to the world where empaths, we just need to be empaths and that will probably have a bigger effect. Then having to label or name when we just lead by example. And the final thing I have to say is yes, I said it a bit earlier in the podcast. My exciting news I have penned in the release date of my book the 1-2-3 theory. It's going to be released on the second, the first, sorry, the first day of the second month, 2023 so it's one two three so it's as close as I could get to 1-2-3 and you can order it on pre-order in various formats already.
34:59
Esther Bertram
Now if you go to the one two three theory dot com and it's an empath guide to thrive in life, love and work, and it's based on a few theories that you'll hear if you keep listening to this podcast that I created in my twenties and I've been living them and experimenting with them over the last 20 years. And I have decided they definitely work and they have worked for me, so I now I'm at the point where I wanna share them with the world, hence the birth of this podcast and writing that book. So if you wanna pre-order head over there one the123heory.com Otherwise, I look forward to sharing some of my perspectives again with you in the next edition of empathy unplugged thanks so much for listening bye.
35:47
Esther Bertram
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36:28
Esther Bertram
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37:14
Esther Bertram
You've been listening to Empath Unplugged, a frequent release podcast of RAW and philosophical reflections on wellbeing, love and the meaning of life brought to you by your host. Esther Bertram, founder of the Inzel, a rejuvenation island and community for empaths. For more information or to join the community, head over to the THEINSEL.com If you have found. Value from this episode and would like to become a patron to support future episodes and gain access to exclusive content. Only available to patrons head over to empathunplugged.com and sign up to be part of the inner circle.
38:00
Esther Bertram
Thank you for listening. Have a beautiful and rejuvenating week till next time. Bye bye.