I heard something on a podcast a few months ago, and I can’t get it out of my head. Someone said, “You don’t have to believe every stupid thought that goes through your head.” This resonated with me and I sat with it for a while. In my head, I heard “You also don’t have to feel every dumb emotion that goes through your heart.”
Just because an emotion runs right into me, I don’t have to internalize it? ‘Scuse me? You mean I’ve been flying off the handle for no reason?
If something frustrating happens in the morning, does it deserve to make your whole day miserable? Was it that big of a deal? Obvs we’re not talking about anything serious, but how can you tell the difference between and emotional wave and a serious issue?
I have four questions that I use to help decide whether or not to react to a transient feeling:
- Is it mine? Does this feeling belong to me? Have I been around someone who’s had emotional trauma, and maybe pick up on that? Were you in a place that made you feel really low energy and haven’t come back from there yet?
- Is it important enough to act on or react to RIGHT NOW. Remember you don’t have to participate in every emotion that goes through your body. Do you need to act on this? If your kid is being mouthy, can you correct them without becoming irate?
- What are the long term effects of reaction? If your partner drives in a way that makes you upset, is it better to put your hand on their arm and ask if they could take it easy, or to follow your first impulse and say, “What the fuck is your problem? Trying to kill me?” This sounds like an over exaggeration but sometimes empaths forget that other people in the room have emotions, too, and that ours aren’t the center of the universe. I know. Shocking.
- How long should you carry this? If it’s someone else’s? Drop that shit. If it’s not that important? Deal with the problem rationally and then drop it. If you go through ALL of these checklists and you are still upset, sad, irate, furious – honor that feeling and seek to resolve it.
The great thing about being an empath is that you’re really sensitive. The bad thing about being an empath is that you’re really sensitive. It’s important to learn how to check in with yourself to be sure you’re not being carried away on a wave of someone else’s trauma.