I'm going to take a little break from the Kitchen Witchery posts because The-Worst-Time-to-Be-an-Empath is nearly upon us; I loath the holiday season.
It's not that I hate the holidays themselves. I think we need a bit of celebration, light, and cheer during the bleak winter months. The problem arises from the stress that goes with a highly commercialism and consumerism nation.
People work themselves up over the holidays. Every. Little. Thing. Has To. Be. PERFECT. I can feel the stress creeping up my neck just writing about it. I hate going out in public after Thanksgiving. I don't do Black Friday. Ever. For any reason. I don't care how good the sale is, I ain't leaving the house.
I have always been able to feel other people's emotions. Not just judge their mood, but I actually feel their emotions as if those emotions are my own. I have spent years trying to 'turn it off'. And for the most part, I am fairly successful. Feeling the emotions of everyone around you makes it difficult to concentrate in school or work. It means confusion regarding hot political issues; maybe I actually think a bill is a good idea but every time the topic comes up I get raging mad, almost as if I oppose it. Being an empath makes relationships hard because the man's desire for me overrides the disgust I feel for him. When I want to end the relationship, even if parting is the best thing for both of us, I feel his hurt and then I feel guilty. I don't really want to cause pain so I let toxic relationships continue. Empathy isn't a gift. It's a curse that gets down deep and won't let go.
During the holidays, when every single person in America wants to buy the things that money can't buy, when we eat more than any human should consume in one week, let alone one meal, when can't stand our families but let them into our homes anyway...OMG I can hardly bare to write it. Sigh. Anyway, any one of those sends emotions into overdrive and most of us have all those thrown at us plus we might be carrying around some more like guilt. Boy, oh boy, is there a ton of guilt weighing folks down at Christmas. Guilt drives people to work lots of overtime, to buy too much, to cook more food than will be eaten, and to put on a brave front and carry on when what we really want to do is cry.
All that guilt usually turns into rage. WHY does this cost so much? Why does she get all the luck? Who says? When the fuck did this happen? What? WHAT?! WHY didn't anyone tell me? Am I the only one who cares?
I don't even like to go grocery shopping in December. I feel my emotions, a minute later I feel someone's delight as they find just the right present, and then I feel fear about not being able to pay bills, then I feel rage because someone is alone while his ex-wife marries a douche bag, I feel children's eagerness and I feel their parents' worry, I feel a tad bit of regret that I'm not sure where it's coming from...now I've got a splitting headache and I haven't even pushed my shopping cart past the first sales display.
It's just too much. I am bombarded from every direction. I can't tune it all out, bits keep sucking me in. I get exhausted just walking across the parking lot. In an hour or less, I will have felt every emotion a human can have. Twice. I don't even know how I feel.
This is why I try to stay away from people. I don't shop, go to parties, or travel. I stay home and watch tv or read. I try to be mindless. I limit my interactions, even with my family. I limit how much I give. I either make presents or if I must buy, I do it online. Goddess bless Internet shopping. Greatest thing ever invented. Anything I want sent to anywhere in the world and I don't have to talk to a damn soul. Heaven. Just heaven.
If you think you might be an empath, or even if you've had enough of holidays, here's how I cope. This list might help you:
1. Be focused. Know why you are in public. Have a list or plan. Do not allow yourself to be talked into extra items, places, activities, or people.
2. Be firm. Say no. You can be nice, you can say sorry, but stick to your guns.
3. Avoid drama queens.
4. Simple is better. Simple food, simple decorations, simple everything.
5. Decide what is important to you. Ignore the rest.
7. Get plenty of rest.
8. Eat right and exercise.
9. Relax, relax, relax.
10. Don't project onto others. Remember, the whole problem is other people's problems spilling over. If you can stay contained, even if only for short times, you are making things better for all.
11. Ground and center every chance you get. Before work, after work, when you wake, before bed, in the shower, when you finally get home, during stressful times, when you finally catch your breath...any time you need it, just breathe, feel your place in the world, and center.