It’s not like you want to do it.
You aren’t walking around thinking, how can I become immersed in other people’s feelings?
But it happens and very often you aren’t even aware of what’s going on.
You might be someone who takes on and carries other people’s feelings.
I’m not talking about being sympathetic, I’m talking about being fully empathetic- where you literally feel what others are feeling.
Yes, there is some beauty in being like this.
You know how to love people well because you have a pretty good idea about what they might need.
You are sensitive towards others, because you can understand what might hurt them.
You are actually a very comforting person to be around, because people feel understood around you.
But in your own head?
That’s a different story, and there can be some major downsides.
When you feel crushing emotions that you aren’t sure where they are coming from, it’s confusing and sometimes scary.
Why am I so anxious?
Why do I want to bawl my eyes out?
What is up with this rage inside me?
Yes, we can have these emotions all on our own.
But I’m talking to the people who feel their own emotions..
..As well as carry other people’s emotions.
And if it goes unnoticed, you may never even know who’s is who’s.
I’ve lived this way forever and to this day I still find myself sinking into a deep, dark emotional hole... but when I remember to question it, I realize isn’t even my emotional hole to sink into.
Here is the very easy and very important question I have begun asking myself when I start to feel the scary spiral of emotions coming at me:
Are these even mine?
That question has saved me.
If you are carrying other people’s emotions around, asking that question is going to be like a light bulb went off in your head and you are going to see clearer.
No.. I’m not actually sad right now. Sometimes I do feel sad, but right now.. it’s not mine.
Then, I surrender it to God.
I remind myself He didn’t create me to carry other people’s emotions on my own shoulders.
He’s happy to take it.
I know it sounds like I’m making a complicated thing sound easy..
But truly, those two steps save me.
I want to encourage you to start looking inside and asking yourself, is this mine?
If it’s not, surrender it.
Just the process of being able to identify your emotions verses other people’s is going to be so freeing for you.
And you will learn how to use your empathy in a way that truly helps people, without it taking over you.
It’s a process, but it’s totally possible.
~Kelli Bachara, The Unraveling Blog