Feeling burdened by the emotions of other people?

How to meet ourselves in everything and everyone we encounter.

emotional balance

A few weeks ago, I got a request to guide a meditation on how to protect yourself from energies of people around you. Over the years I’ve received more questions about this interesting and sometimes challenging topic, so I thought it would be a good idea to write an article about it. I hope it will offer you a new perspective on the feeling of being invaded by the emotions of other people, and that it will invite you (as it invited me) to take a look into the depths of your own self.

Feeling others’ negativity?

So, what happens exactly, when we seem to pick up negative feelings of others and carry them with us, feeling exhausted and weary afterwards?

Our first impulse may be to get rid of the energy we took in and think of ways to protect ourselves the next time. Many “energy workers” learn to visualize white light or other symbols around themselves to keep out the bad vibes. Does it work? Well, it might. But it also confirms the idea that you need to fight off something that can harm you.

We all experience the same emotions. We all feel anger or hatred. We all know despair and grief by heart. But are we able to own and fully experience these emotions? Are we comfortable with our own dark feelings, or do we banish them elsewhere?

The thing is, we don’t receive energies from others. We resonate with those energies.

The thing is, we don’t receive energies from others. We resonate with those energies. When an angry person is around, our own anger is mirrored. But if we have learned to be afraid of anger, fear will come up, or even panic. We may feel we cannot handle the anger, this threatening emotion. We do not want it. So instead of being able to simply resonate with the anger, we get trapped in our own confusion and resistance.

Own your emotions

When we feel overwhelmed by someone’s anger or negativity, we are actually feeling overwhelmed by our own suppressed emotions, believing that we cannot cope with these feelings. Of course, this happens on an unconscious level – all we feel consciously is that we want to get rid of these unwanted energies and long to feel clean again!

And yes, it seems like those emotions are not ours. We pushed them away for so long that we do not recognize them as our own. But the truth is that we projected them outwards and now they stare us in the face, embodied by another person…

Many of us learned to distrust negative emotions. Our parents may have been unable to express their anger or disappointment in a constructive way. So how can we?

Somehow, what we pushed away leaves an empty space. And what once naturally filled that spot will always be drawn back to it. Wherever we go, we will be confronted with emotions we’d rather not experience…just because they want to be felt, to be part of who we are. Anger is in itself a powerful energy, nothing wrong with it!

When we can embrace our own anger, our aggression and our fear, we don’t need to protect our boundaries. In fact, there will be no need for protection because we can just resonate with the emotions of other people, without being harmed. How can we be harmed by something that is part of us?

Autonomy is not about successfully fighting off the enemy. It is about getting intimate with our own emotions, bringing home even our darkest thoughts and deepest fears.

Becoming intimate with your emotions

So how can we do this? How can we start to allow these scary emotions?

Start where you are

Pay attention every time you are triggered. Start with the small things, like feeling impatient in traffic or annoyed by a remark of a colleague. Notice when you get irritated or feel insecure or let down.

Then sit with this when you meditate

Remember that little irritation in the line at the grocery store. And feel that irritation again, allowing it to be there. Look at it, get to know it, follow it to its essence. What is the deepest core of this seemingly innocent feeling? Become familiar with it. It’s not something alien but something human. Get to know your anger, your hatred, your disappointment as well as your beauty, your tenderness, your loveliness! None of us is just Snow White, we are also the dark Stepmother and the Prince that comes to rescue his sweetheart. We are all these characters, whether we like it or not. So let’s be brave and start meeting ourselves in everything and everyone we encounter. And not forget to enjoy the process in the meantime.



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EkhartYoga Written by one of the EkhartYoga staff or guest writers. A dedicated team of yoga teachers, yoga students, anatomy geeks, and recipe creators.