Have you ever experienced feeling fine before a big gathering, but then afterward, you felt exhausted, overwhelmed, perhaps angry, frustrated, irritated, or even completely depressed? Has that happened to you before?
It’s happened to me. And afterward, I always vow to myself–I’m never doing that again!
But the problem is that I can’t not ever be around people again. I can’t lock myself in my house and not talk to other people. I can’t avoid human beings at any cost. I can’t even uproot my family, build a bunker on a mountain, and live off the land (thought I would really like to!). My life, right now, is living and existing here where I am.
So the alternative–I have to learn how to work through the emotions so that I can feel better.
But there are some times when I work through the emotions and I just don’t feel any better. Or I’m stuck, and I can’t figure out what my emotions are telling me what to do.
Like an incident I had a few years ago attending a women’s church group activity. It’s a craft night called “Terrific Tuesday.” I was in there crafting away some super-cute crafts, chatting with ladies, when the president of the group interrupted our chatter and said, “Ladies, we just got a phone call from the police department saying there is a little boy missing. He’s nine years old and has red hair. He doesn’t have any shoes on. So as you go home tonight, keep your eyes open.” She told us his name, and a few women began searching the rooms throughout the church.
Many of us were quite worried, including me. I pondered on what I could do to help, but the feeling came, “Wait.” The chatting slowed and shortly later, the event was over. Still, any time I asked what I should do to help, the feeling came, “wait,” so I packed up my items and headed out the door. As I entered the outdoors, a strange feeling washed over me. It covered me all over. I could hear people yelling into the night air. It was unsettling. Cars and cars were slowly creeping around the streets, yelling his name. People were combing the streets with flashlights, a stark contrast to our usual quiet evenings.
I went home and told my husband about it all. I kept wondering what I could do to help. The only thing that now came to my mind was that I needed to be with my family right now–watching over my own little flock.
I sat on the couch. I felt completely overwhelmed and incredibly depressed and low. I recognized some fear and anxiety too, which moved me into a paralysis-like state. My mind wandered and I became stressed about the things I needed to do for the next day, stressed about my kiddos, worried about sending my home-schooler back to the public school, stressed about excess candy at Halloween, etc. And I especially couldn’t stop thinking about this little missing boy. My mind was racing.
PROBLEM: I was overwhelmed, stressed out, in a panic, depressed, and a conglomerate of a whole bunch of other emotions.
I googled his name and watched the police’s facebook page. It was only an hour later that they announced they had found him. They didn’t give much detail, but the search was over. I was relieved, but I still felt awful. I was overcome with so many uncomfortable, negative feelings. I sat on the couch for two hours after that in the dark, almost until midnight, when I finally went to bed. I couldn’t figure out why I was still feeling this way.
As I was saying my nightly prayers before I went to bed, I prayed and asked, “What is going on with me? Why am I feeling this way?” The boy had been found. I should be at peace. And it made sense that I was stressed out and had a lot of things on my plate, but why was I getting so worked up over it all?
Suddenly, the image of me in the parking lot being washed with all that energy of fear, panic, grief, despair, worry, and more, came to me. I realized in that moment, I had picked up and began carrying so many people’s emotions–all those people driving up and down the streets, everyone dealing with their own fears and emotions of the situation. When I realized this, I gave it all back using this technique of returning carried emotions. I felt all the weight and emotions lifted from me. And I even smiled! I felt so much better!
SOLUTION: I recognized I was carrying other people’s emotions, and I gave it all back.
This was one of my first experiences of recognizing the power in identifying the emotions we carry from others and giving them back. (Remember–carrying other people’s emotions does not lighten their own load. It only weighs you down more!) And giving them back is such a simple and easy thing to do.
Are you getting together with family or friends this weekend? Have you already done so? How did you feel when the gathering was over?
If you felt any uncomfortable emotions that you just can’t seem to work through, do a check and see if you are carrying any emotions from others. Follow the steps below to do it now!
First, take a few deep breaths to center your mind and heart. (It actually works really well to do some Heart Breathing before you ask your questions.) Then, focus on your inner self and ask, “Am I carrying someone’s emotions right now?”
Wait for the answer. Did the thought, “Hmm, yes I am carrying someone’s emotions,” come to mind? Or was it, “Hmmph, nope. Not this time”? (If you got a no, check in and see what emotions you are feeling that are actually your’s–and find out what message they are bringing to you.)
If the answer was yes, then you can ask any of these questions: “Whose emotions am I carrying?” “When did I pick them up?” “How did I get them?” And any others you can think of.
Sometimes the answers will come in an image to your mind. Sometimes it will be a feeling. Sometimes it will be a memory of something someone said . . . or of you sitting by someone . . . sometimes words might come to mind. Just wait and see. Don’t hold any expectations of how it will come. Expectations hold the answers back! Be open to anything!
And . . .
Did you get it? Did you get your answer?
Now take a deep breath in and visualize gathering up that emotion. Make it into a ball, and hand it back to the person (or group of people) that you got it from. Remember, it doesn’t affect them at all. It only makes your load lighter.
How do you feel now?
Do you feel better?
I was amazed the first time I did this at how much better I felt. And I am amazed every time it happens–because it works! Every time you recognize you are carrying someone’s emotions and you give them back, you will feel better!
Have any questions? Stumped and don’t know what to do? Leave a comment below! And share this with anyone else you know who might be feeling a bit grouchy after a social event. Carrying other people’s emotions is too heavy of a load for anyone to bear. Learn to recognize it and give it back–and teach others to do it too–so we can all feel better!