While many people believe that everyone has some degree of psychic ability, this skill set can take a number of different forms. For some people, psychic ability manifests itself as the ability to be what is known as an empath.
Empathy is the ability to sense the feelings and emotions of others, without their telling us, verbally, what they are thinking and feeling. Often, someone who is an empath needs to learn basic shielding techniques - otherwise, they can find themselves feeling drained and exhausted after absorbing the energies of others.
The psychic form of empathy should not be confused with the basic human emotion of empathy - most people can feel empathy for another person without necessarily being a psychic empath. The main difference, however, is that someone who is a psychic empath often picks up non-visual, non-verbal cues that another individual is feeling pain, fear, or joy. Sometimes this is a matter of detecting energy fields or auras, other times, it may be simply a case of "knowing" that the person is feeling a certain way, despite no obvious clues to that effect.
In many cases, empaths have trained themselves to detect subtle changes in the energy vibrations of other people. Most empaths are effective listeners, and have a tendency to gravitate towards professions in which they can use this ability to help others - social work, counseling, energy work such as Reiki, and the ministry, for example. Others are often drawn to empaths, because they feel comfortable and relaxed when speaking with them.
Jondala is an empath who lives in Minnesota and works as a nurse in a physical therapy rehabilitation center. She says, "When I first got into nursing, I worked in pediatric oncology. I couldn't take it - I was so sensitive to the pain and misery that I finished every shift and cried all the way home. Now, I'm still working with people who need my help, but I wasn't emotionally ready for oncology work, because I was far too sensitive."
If you believe you are a psychic empath, you may want to learn shielding techniques to help protect yourself emotionally. Also, be sure to read What is an Empath? on our About Healing site.