About the Author

Mary is a writer and speaker who lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons – but lives because of God’s grace. She writes about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places at MaryCarver.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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  1. Thank you so much for this, Mary. I can identify with this. I do feel how others are feeling, and I need to watch that I don’t take their feelings on myself. When I deal with this carefully, together with my counselling and mentoring training and Holy Spirit’s guidance, I am able to use this gift. You have reminded me to watch my feelings and identify where they’re coming from, and to follow God’s leading. God bless you. Barbara

  2. This certainly struck a cord. “Weep with those who weep”- that’s me! And I seem to be on the receiving end of people (those I know well, and those I barely know) sharing their most private thoughts and feelings. And it is tiring and hard letting some of it go. So I say say a prayer for them and for me. When I worked as a school counselor, the students would say “Miss Madeline is leaking again” because I would get all teary eyed. I used to think this was a weakness, but realize I am honored that others feel safe sharing their stories with me and that my tears, my facial expressions, body language and words show compassion and understanding and yes, empathy.

    • I “leak” a lot too, and yes, you’re right. Though it feels uncomfortable, it shows others how deeply we care and helps them feel cared for!

  3. Mary, what a special gift you have! My friend Sherry had that gift. I was going through a really bad time when we met. Her ability to laugh with me in the good moments and walk along side me in the bad is the one thing that gave me a reason to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. You may never know the impact you have on someone’s life but they will and will always be grateful that God provided you for them.

  4. I’m having breakfast with tears i my eyes. Thank you for sharing you put that so well. I’ve not had a lot of experience with another empathy! I will look at my super power in a whole new light! Thank you! I’m

  5. As a fellow empath, I love this post, Mary! I also resonate deeply with coming to a more compassionate place towards ourselves, when we’re often so good at extending that grace towards others. Working on it 🙂

    • Heather, you hit that right on the nose—we must be as kind and caring to ourselves as we are to others! I’m still learning too.

  6. Wow, Mary I learned a new word”empath”! I feel better about my waterworks’s! From watching Timmy burying Lassie’s toys In “Lassie come home” as a child to more serious avenues: 9/11, Katrina, Ukraine, or the anger or hurt in others has always opened my emotions raw! But you know I find when my heart is open with emotions I can feel God’s present and grace more deeply. Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You collected all my tears in your bottles. You have recorded each one in your book.” NLB Thank you for sharing! I feel this is a precious gift God has given us in a world that seems to lack empathy for our fellow beings! Bless you!

  7. Reading this, Mary, makes me wonder if I share this “condition” with you. I have been drawn to helping people I don’t know. Once I shopped for, and delivered, baby gifts for a young pregnant McDonald’s worker. She seemed stressed and unhappy. Another time, I bought a bottle of water for a shop girl, who complained of having no time to quench her thirst. Are these symptoms, do you suppose? Anyway, I try to go with my gut, if I have the opportunity to help. Thank you for giving insight into this issue.

    • Whatever it’s called, Irene, I think sensing others’ needs and feeling compelled to help (and then actually doing it) is a lovely gift from God. 🙂

  8. Thank you for this very encouraging word. As an empath, who struggles with leaking at inappropriate times, I believe it is also a gift of intercession. I can stand in the gap and tell our loving Father exactly how much the person hurts.

  9. Good morning Mary and thank you for this beautiful piece today. Both myself and my daughter are emotionally wired. We are silly, immature and “touchy thermostats”. Our empathy can go off the charts especially to strangers. We are however, both married to men that are not so emotionally wired. Not to say they are not kind, loving and giving….just not so much to people they don’t know. So sometimes I think we can both experience that feeling of shame because of that perception of “spinning out of control” with empathy. Luckily it doesn’t last to long and we are reminded to be as God made us…and YES empathy and silliness is our super power!
    Thank you \0/

    • Janet, I can relate to being married to someone who doesn’t feel things the same way. It can be hard when you feel misunderstood or mis-labeled. But we can stand firm in knowing that God made us this way on purpose, and He looks at us and all our big emotions and says, “It is very good.”

  10. I have felt that same guilt over the thermostat vs thermometer business. So I appreciated your post! Not easy to feel all the feelings sometimes. I know I’m not as emotional as some but much more so than many. It’s hard to know how to handle emotions in a godly way at times. Thank you for writing this for those of us who feel your struggle!

  11. Mary, I SO relate to this. I can easily get on “empathy overload” which triggers my anxiety. Because of that, I used to see it as a weakness too. But my therapist assured me that my empathy is a GIFT not a liability. I just need to learn how to process, hold, and release those emotions when they get too much for me. But you’re so right! The world needs more empathy! It’s what makes good listeners and compassionate responders! I’m pretty sure Jesus was an empath too. 🙂

  12. “Being perceptive and responsive can allow us to connect deeply with people and quickly desire to help when they’re in need.” AMEN to that, Mary! What a super-power indeed, to truly understand what a sister is going through and then offer just-right encouragement and helpful advice as well! Praise God for the empaths among us!

  13. Thank you Mary, for sharing this and helping me to feel less “ashamed” and less worried about my emotions! It is extremely hard being an empath a lot of the time!!!! The heaviness of the emotions we can feel at times are overwhelming. I have tho learned to “listen” to the times and hours when God places someone in my mind and on my heart — and to respond to that message. Most all of the time that person needs someone to listen or just to reach out! Thank you Mary!

    • I’m so glad this was an encouragement to you, Jewell. You’re right – it can be hard, but God will honor our decision to pay attention to His prompts!

  14. Thank you, Mary!

    The strange thing for me, as an empath, is that I can easily feel other’s emotions, but I have a really hard time feeling and expressing my own.

    I wonder if anyone else has knows this feeling?

    • Dawn, this makes a lot of sense to me. If we’re weighed down by many other people’s emotions, our own might get buried and be harder to access.

  15. Oh my goodness! I have always felt emotions strongly and have been told that I am just overly sensitive. Everything you were saying about feeling deeply, even the feelings of others, describes me as well. I have been told, even by church people, that it is ok to be sensitive, but ” don’t camp there. ” I cry sometimes for being sad, but sometimes because I am so joyful for the experience of others. I am so glad that you wrote this and shared it! I am so relieved that there are other people who are like me and that there is biblical backup.

    • Tracy, I don’t believe it’s wrong to feel deeply. Not at all. And as Becky commented up above, Jesus—our ultimate role model, right?—felt deeply. You are made wonderfully, big emotions and all.

  16. I can so relate with this! Several years ago I began to embrace my high sensitivity when I read Elaine Aron’s “The Highly Sensitive Person,” and it has been a lovely journey to see it from God’s perspective as well. I really appreciate the verses you’ve shared in this article. Also, thank you for being so vulnerable! You are a blessing!

  17. Mary, I resonated with this as an empath who recently found out that others are not the same as me. Or feel like me. The movie story was a good reminder that I can help others see the delight and awe in things.

  18. Mary,

    I’m an empath also. I am super emotional. Heck TV shows or songs can get me crying. Like you my hubby isn’t all that emotional although there are times you can catch him crying. My co workers know that I’m a Christian & the other day I had a male RN ask me to pray for him taking his NP exams Friday(10th)-I don’t think he is a Christian. Thursday (9th) I was in break room with other co workers. Over heard two of them talking about possibly getting divorced. They weren’t sure what to do. All I can & have done is pray for them. Asking God to give them wisdom.

    As ICU clerical at a large hospital I get excited when patients do well. I cheer them on when they go from bed to chair. Thursday one patient had her 90th birthday so I made a little card for her & sang to her. My way of trying to spread God’s light & love to this sin darkened world. Go empaths. Don’t fret the unique you that God created.

    Blessings 🙂

  19. Thank you Mary, I too have been called “over emotional and a big cry baby” pretty much my whole life…

    I have come to look up on my sensitivity as a God given emotion and have been able to use this as a way to be there for friends and be an encouragement. I think the Lord put all these empathetic feelings in my heart because He knew that I would endure many losses in my lifetime – I can be a voice to help others hold on to Hope. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness to me !!

  20. I love everything you write Mary and this one touch home for me. I was recently looking the word empathy up in the bible as I was wondering myself how God feels about empathy. I have a friend struggling and being an empath myself I felt that I was feeling her pain and sadness more then she even was and I was going over the top to try and help her. I reached out to God to help slow my emotions down because I thought maybe this was not what he would want me to be doing in this moment. I was a bit stuck with this then your article showed up in my inbox and I held on to it for a while and just read it today. So I could be fully invested reading it. Thank you for this and all the verses that lead us to understand this is what God wants for us.