You can’t spell “Mercury is in retrograde” without “me”

Everyone annoys me.

My friends, peers, coworkers, my boyfriend. In the last week, everyone has been out of control. And I’ve been trying to figure out what the h*ck is going on. But the only thing everyone has in common is that Mercury is in retrograde until March 10. Then today I realized:

Wait… everyone also has me in common.

Then I thought:

Oh, shit. Everyone has me in common. And I’ve been angry, irritable and high-strung all week.

After reflecting on my interactions from the week, I almost never took the time to listen to people. I talked at everyone in my life instead of communicating with them. Not only does this prove that my communication degree has taught me close to nothing, but it proves that I’m kind of a bitch.

I preach empathy and understanding but when I’m having a bad day, I can’t put it into practice. I expect everyone to be patient with me, but I haven’t granted anyone the same in return.

So why do I do this? Where is the disconnect between my empathy and my selfishness, and how can I rebuild this mental bridge?

One thing I know for certain is I’m driven by my emotions and I absorb others’ emotions like orbeez. This is called being empathic, and I like to think it’s a strength of mine but I often let my emotions get the best of me.

I’ve also been spreading myself too thin, and when I get overwhelmed all I can focus on is how hard my life is. But I’m never the only person going through it, everyone is struggling (and most of the time, I really don’t have it that bad).

I’ve also neglected to set boundaries for myself. I bring my work home, and my stress home, and this negative energy clings to me.

Last night I laid in bed silently worrying about the day that had passed, and the day that was coming. Then my boyfriend came to bed and as he laid down he sighed with relief and said,

“There’s no stress here.”

He had no idea I was stressing as he spoke, but he was right. There’s no stress in my bed, or my house, or my office. It’s in my own head, and that’s something I can control.

The last time I felt genuinely stress-free was at the botanical gardens, surrounded by life and good energy. And this isn’t just my mind playing games, nature is actually proven to nourish empaths’ drained energy. (Nature’s effects don’t just stop at empaths, when did you last spend time outside? How did you feel afterwards? Just a thought… )

The botanical gardens, as corny as it sounds, helped me reset. Whether it was the plants or the company but taking time for myself outside of my responsibilities made me feel better able to take on my responsibilities once I got home.

Because in the midst of my –– usually melodramatic –– emotions, I forget about how much easier my life is when the people around me are good. When I can take a step back and relax, I can refocus my energy and give myself to other people –– whether that’s teaching my Spectrum staff, or listening to my friends’ concerns, or helping with things at home –– and help alleviate their stress. And when the people around me are less stressed, there’s less stress to project on me (or for me to take in, rather).

I know that everyone isn’t driven by working with or helping others, but regardless of your priorities, you have to satisfy yourself before satisfying your work. (Take that how you will.)

So the moral of today’s story is relax and take time to listen to others. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you won’t know whose cup needs filling without listening to the needs of others.

With love and empathy,

Jacklyn

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

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