I love the subject of carrying other people’s emotions. And no, I’m not talking about being empathetic and helping others carry their burdens. This topic of carrying other’s emotions is simple and easy. That’s why I love it.
Have you ever gone to the store feeling fine, and then come home super grumpy? I have! Do your kids ever seem extra grouchy after school without a cause? Mine do!
Do you know why?
Often times, it’s because we have picked up and are carrying someone else’s emotions. It’s as if you walked by someone in the baking isle who was feeling extra angry that day, and a bit of that anger rubbed off onto you. You are now carrying their anger. But this doesn’t just happen at grocery stores. It can happen anywhere! School, work, the theater, the beach, church, the gym, etc. Anywhere there are people, you can pick up and carry someone’s emotions.
PROBLEM: You are [insert any emotions here] for no reason at all, completely confused as to why.
I see “carrying emotions” like those annoying cockleburs that you don’t ever notice you’re collecting. But by the time you get home from your nature excursion and start to peel those dirty socks off, you realize they got you again! There’s no escaping them. Just like there’s no escaping other’s emotions.
The best part is that once you recognize you are carrying someone’s anger . . . or sadness . . . or fear, you can just give it back and you’ll feel better! (WITHOUT affecting them at all!) Carrying someone’s emotions does not lighten their load or help them feel any better. It only weighs your own load down. And giving them back does not weigh them down any more than they already are. It just lightens your own load! See why I love this topic?!?
This doesn’t just happen to me, it happens to others too. Just this morning, we caught some unwanted, extra emotions on a six-year-old boy. A friend asked me to help her son who had been extra moody this week. She could not figure out why. I looked into it and could see he was carrying some heavy sadness from his grandmother that he had visited over the weekend. We gave it back to her, and he’s doing much better now.
SOLUTION: Give the emotions back!
How do we actually “give them back”?
Well, that’s easy too. You don’t have to know exactly who or where you got them from, but having a general idea is good. Try to pinpoint when you started feeing “off.” Then you just take a deep breath in and visualize the anger or sadness or fear that you’ve picked up is gathering into a ball. Once you’ve got it all into the ball, then visualize handing that ball back to the person you got it from (insert stranger from the store). Remember, you’re not making their burden any heavier by giving it back. You have only weighed yourself down because of it.
Another option is to hand that ball over to our Savior, Jesus Christ. He suffered in Gethsemane all the pains of the world—of each individual person, which means you and me. He already suffered that anger. So we can just hand it over to Him and watch it disappear because He has conquered it already. Learn more about our Savior Jesus Christ here.
And we are left feeling lighter and more at peace.
Try it out. When you’re feeling moody, ask, “Am I carrying someone else’s emotion?” If you are, go back over your day, find out who it was, and give it back.
P.S. What if you don’t start to feel better right away? See if you are carrying more than one emotion from someone else . . .
Next week I’ll post more stories about how I recognized I was carrying other people’s emotions, and how I gave them back. So stay tuned!