A father who still feels the heavy responsibility to provide for his family. A mother balancing her devotion to caring for her loved ones with a desire to enjoy her own golden years. A brother struggling to translate his brilliance into a life path. And a wife experiencing all the excitement and anxiety of moving to a new home.
Those are the important people in my life and their emotional worlds that I’m so often unaware of.
Emotions are integral to the human experience. They are universal, quietly underpinning all our hopes and dreams. When listened to, feelings are like beautiful music that have the power to connect us and make us stronger. It’s no secret humans are at our best when we feel together. But feelings can also be painful, and too often we bury them to protect ourselves from the outside world. Every time we do that, we become a little more numb, and the world becomes a little more lonely.
That’s why we developed Empath, a community where friends and loved ones can feel together. Every post on Empath is tied to an emotion, from deep sadness to profound joy. And every post is anonymous, allowing members of the community to safely share whatever is in their hearts. But when other users in a member’s phone contacts empathize with her post, the poster can see who reached out to show her love. And if she feels comfortable, that poster can open up and reveal her identity, inviting a deeper conversation.
Meanwhile, because every post is tied to an emotion and those emotions are color-coded (Happy is yellow, Angry is red, Sad is blue), Empath maintains a journal of a user’s own emotional experiences. The more posts a user makes, the more powerful her journal becomes, recognizing patterns that a user might never have been aware of and surfacing them to help her become more emotionally aware. These emotional posts can also be aggregated to provide a window into how groups of users are feeling, from a small circle of friends to an entire city.
This year has been a turbulent one for me. I moved to a new state, started a new job, bought a new house, and started making new friends. All that change has been exciting, but at times it’s also been overwhelming and crushingly lonely. I’ve done my fair share of laughing and crying. Fortunately, I have a supportive wife, two loving families, and an amazing group of friends to buoy my spirits when things have gotten tough.
The desire to feel closer to these people and others is why my cofounders and I started Empath, and it’s why I hope you’ll try it too.
That’s my story. What’s yours?