Hello, Baby New Year

Hello, Baby New Year. We welcome you with open arms. Do you welcome us back?  We have been awaiting your arrival. Were you counting down too?  We sure are happy to see you. Did you know that? You’re the symbol of our new beginning and our hopeful ever after. Welcome, welcome.

Your birth is met with revelry and celebration. Out with the old, and in with the new! (But honestly, Baby New Year, the last Baby New Year started out looking a lot like you.) At first everyone will embrace you, sing to you, hope for you. Everyone will make promises to you too, a lot of promises. (But not everyone will have your best interests at heart.)

Baby New Year, I am always amazed at your wide eyed innocence and wonder when you start out. You arrive with the  determination to survive and to thrive and to beat the odds. But you have to grow up so fast. Learn so much. Absorb so much. And you will grow quickly. You will reach adulthood in about 6 months, 9 months, tops.

By the time you reach adulthood, a lot of people will be mad at you. They will be blaming you. They will blame you for not living up to their expectations. But don’t worry, Baby New Year. We humans are really blaming ourselves. You are just the scapegoat for broken resolutions and unfulfilled dreams.

I’ve met more than a few Baby New Years in my life. So is it okay if I give you some advice, Baby New Year, you know, from a human?

We humans are mostly good; we just forget it sometimes. Remind us in gentle ways. When we make New Year’s resolutions, we do really want to keep them. It’s just harder than we thought it would be. Encourage  us, Baby New Year, to keep moving forward and do the best that we can. We want to grow with you, not rail at you. Can you forgive us when we falter and help us to forgive ourselves?

Baby New Year, my wish for you is the same wish for us. That at the end of the year you will be wiser and stronger than you have ever imagined. That you will have endured sorrow and experienced joy. And that you will look back at the year with gratitude for having lived it to the fullest.


The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us. Yes, that’s what it feels like. That is exactly what I thought the first time I saw this quote. Emotions from out there are circling around me and infiltrating me, like it or not. Overwhelming. How can I bear it all to infinity?

The world is too much with us. My younger self was at the mercy of the emotions of others around me. I tried to understand and save everyone. This quote meant that I had to bear it. Emotional baggage was heaped on me, and I carried it. To no avail. I’m only human, and my compassion eased some pain sometimes, but I couldn’t save anyone. After a troubled friend accused me of leaving her (to visit my parents) saying she almost killed herself, I knew I was in trouble. I had to make some changes or go under.

The world is too much with us. If you know what an empath is and that you are one, your entire life falls into a different perspective. You get it. Oh, that’s why I did that. And that’s why that happened to me. And that’s why I am doing this now. You can keep the world close but not disappear into it. Because your emotions matter too. Not just everybody else’s.

The world is too much with us. So why not own it? Accept. Acknowledge. Walk the line. Understand that “It is what it is.” When we know what “it is,” we can have clarity of understanding. Empaths are great listeners and can help with healing. But we are not saviors. We are people with the emotional gift of feeling your feelings and mirroring them back with tremendous compassion. We can use our super power, but we need to protect ourselves too.

“The world is too much with us” is the first line to a poem written by William Wordsworth about 200 years ago. He was warning people not to get too caught up in wanting material goods and telling people to stay close to nature. My take is to not get too caught up in someone else’s drama and stay true to your own empathic nature. You can be an empath without letting the world crush you. Even now.

Don’t Give It All Away

Gifts. Big tradition. It’s the time of year for giving and receiving. We cannot not get “wrapped up” in it. It can be a special time to give tokens to those we treasure, or it can be an uncomfortable time to give something out of obligation. Same goes for receiving from those we love or receiving from those we wish wouldn’t give us anything. And then there’s the problem of over doing, over spending, and giving it all away.

I love gifts – both giving and receiving, but as an empath, I have been faced with two challenges. One is that I can feel the feelings of the giver radiating off the object given to me. The other is I have to restrain myself from giving it all away – giving too much to too many and not having enough left in the bank. I did not understand these issues (although I lived them) when I was younger, but now I get it. Empath ways. Now I know how I operate and why, so it is easier to manage my “gifts.”

Receiving a gift given with affection and thoughtfulness is a powerful thing for an empath, no matter how large or small in size or price tag. I keep it near me so I can feel its energy and the warmth of the gift giver. When receiving a gift given without thought or care, it radiates negative energy. I don’t want it around me and get it out of my house. I used to feel guilty about this, but I don’t now. It is simply being self-protective.

And how not to give it all away? I learned this the hard way. It is such a natural high to give a gift and feel the happiness that radiates back from the receiver – especially when you plan and search for just the right thing. But don’t break the bank. You don’t have to shower gifts on too many to feed that natural high. Control it and shower them in your own backyard to those closest to you.

And remember that the gift of a shared experience can be better than something sitting in a box – so open your horizons to other ways to give. Spending time together at the holidays will make memories that will last longer than a present.




Thriving It

How can you thrive as an empath? And by thrive, I mean grow, develop, and flourish! Too often, we stew on the (numerous) challenges that make our lives tough. But I firmly believe that we are who we are by design. You are not an accident. Your gift is not an accident. The gift of heightened emotion is like a waterfall that can’t be turned off. By embracing who you are, what you are, and your unique contributions that you bring to this world, you can have an incredibly full life.

Unfortunately, childhood is a confusing time for empaths. We are navigating everyone else’s feelings and not separating them from our own feelings. We careen around and get close to or run away from others A LOT.  My parents called me moody and too sensitive. I did not know how to handle or acknowledge all the emotions swirling through me and around me. But I knew that I had a strong inner light, and on several occasions, people tried to put that light out.

My first lesson was learning how to treat myself. With maturity and experience (both good and bad), empaths learn how to cope with their heightened emotions. Self-Acceptance is key. Learning that we don’t need to justify ourselves is key. Embracing who we are is key. Treating ourselves as kindly as we do others is key. My first mantra became “Be gentle with yourself.”

Next was learning how to create healthy boundaries. This is often a big problem for empaths, and it was for me too. Too often, I was the dumping ground for other people’s emotional chaos. It was a very gradual process to learn to take care of my own needs. The fallout was big including divorce and ending a few friendships, but it was necessary for my own survival.

Now I work on staying grounded, surrounding myself with as much positive energy as possible, and learning from and sharing with other empaths and sensitives. I appreciate the joy of my intense emotions in the good times, and ride the wave of intense emotions during bad times, knowing that all feelings will pass through me. My current mantra? I am what I am. Namaste.

Replenish Your Energy

As the day goes on, we run out of energy….at least, some of us do. I am one of the some of us. Have been for as long as I can remember. I reach a point where I am done. Nothing left to give for the day. Collapse mode. Sound familiar?

This scenario is built on the premise that you wake up in the morning with energy, your energy gets depleted as the day goes on, and at day’s end you have no energy left. It’s not the best way to live. And add to that, an empath’s energy reserves go quicker. It just comes with the territory. Other people’s emotions are exhausting to navigate and swim through. We are emotional sponges that ironically feel all wrung out at the end of the day.

I am learning that there are a few things that we can do during our waking days to combat energy fatigue. We can be mindful of a get away from that list and a do that list.

The get away from that list starts with energy suckers. You know who they are in your life. I’m not telling you to unfriend them, but I am telling you to limit your direct contact if you don’t want to be exhausted. Next on the list is unplugging from the negative onslaught of news media. Brazen lies, cruelty to others, and sensationalist horror stories crush empaths. So don’t feed the fire breathing media dragon. Walk away from it. Those are my two biggies. Each person knows their own get away from that list. Honor it.

For the do that list, Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D., gives this advice. (Psychology Today, 4/11/2015).

Did you know you can think yourself into having more energy? Thoughts that activate positive emotions can energize your mind, secreting the chemicals that increase your overall sense of well-being. Boost your mood with these activities:

  1. Instead of complaining, focus on what is in your power to control, starting with your own thoughts and feelings.
  2. Find things to laugh at, including yourself.
  3. Stop and appreciate what you have right now, including what you have gained from lessons learned.
  4. Listen to some upbeat or calming music, or sing to yourself.
  5. Get up and go for a walk, even if you have to stay indoors. 

Make your own get away from that list and do that list. Replenish your energy during the day. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.