Be an Observer not an Absorber
Have you been in a situation where you can feel the weight of someone else’s emotions overshadowing your own as if you just absorbed their emotion? Could you observe instead?
I’ve been told that I can change the temperature of a room just by walking into it, that my emotions affected everyone in the room that much. I received that comment in an upward feedback review from a staff accountant who reported to me when I was 23 years old.
For years before this comment I would find myself in situations where I felt responsible for others and their emotions. Where I took more than my 100% ownership and tried to “fix” it. In each circumstance I would feel their pain, many times I was outwardly told that their emotions were my fault or somehow my responsibility. I believed them. I was eight.
Instead of absorbing the emotions and energy of those around us, what if we observed them instead. What if we instead gave voice to the emotion? The next time you are in a confrontation with someone else who is experiencing a heavy emotion, try saying “I can see that you are angry” or “I can see that you are sad” and then give them the space to feel. Giving voice to our emotions and those around us grants us the permission to observe rather than absorb and the permission to feel rather than deflect. If it is your own emotion changing the temperature try picturing the word in your mind and then see yourself waiving to it. Observing the emotion gives it a voice and allows it to be seen.
All emotions serve us and will eventually make themselves seen or heard, sometimes just by walking into a room. You are no more responsible for someone else’s emotions than that eight year old kid.
Tools / Tricks:
If you are going into a situation where you know you are likely to be in an emotionally charged setting try the following tips or tricks:
- Have you ever seen someone walk into a room and you noticed they had such a huge energy about them? This trick can help you boost your energy and take your space. Stand up and give yourself about 5 feet around you. Put your arms straight out at 90 degrees and bend over. Now begin to make a figure eight pattern from your feet all the way up to your head straightening out your body. Keep repeating this motion. This is giving your body an energy boost.
- What is a color that makes you feel safe? Don’t think, first thing that comes to your mind. Now imagine that color wrapping your whole body. Then imagine it sealed in a white light with a gold all around it. Stand and think of this for 30 seconds before you enter into an emotionally charged situation and remember you are safe.
- Try giving voice to the emotions around you. When the other person is feeling and expressing their emotion allow them that space and validate them by giving voice to the emotion you are seeing, ex. “I can see you are angry”. If they are projecting emotions and deflecting to you try yes, and. Yes and validates the other person’s emotions while still allowing space for your thought. Example, if someone is projecting fault or anger your way you can say “Yes, I can see how you feel that way and I see it differently”. The Yes and allows space for the other person to feel and keeps your space in-tact.