How do I cope with the emotional upset around me and not be affected by it?
In this year of unusual events, upheaval, and political divisiveness, emotions are running higher than usual.
What’s going on when I experience irritation, frustration, and even anger, throughout my day?
Are these all my own emotions? Or are they someone else’s? And even if they’re someone else’s, why am I affected by them?
The following tale may help.
In 2017, I was at rock-bottom financially, bank account at zero, savings gone dry, credit-cards close to maxed, and a roof over my head but no way to pay for it. I had sold my car the year before when I moved from Canada to Kansas City, in the US.
Two years prior, I had been a successful software developer but had grown to a point of emotional incompatibility with corporate subcultures and politics. And after two years out of the loop, I was rusty and unaware of the latest technological advances. A lot can happen in two years in the IT industry. All of my IT interviews had come up dry.
I was at a low point.
But I knew I had to bite the bullet and find work where I had been unwilling to work before. So I applied at Amazon at one of their fulfillment warehouses. I had heard the bar was low with few prerequisites.
I got hired. But with no car, Ubering to work and back used virtually all of my after-tax income. Over time, I resolved the logistical issues, graduating to rental car deals and car-pooling, and after a few months, I was able to buy a car on credit.
I worked for Amazon for about a year. I was initially at a semi-automated pick-station in a low-volume warehouse with no one else close by. That fit with my reclusive proclivity of the previous few years. The universe was reflecting back to me according to my comfort level.
Eventually, I changed warehouse locations to reduce my commute time. My new location had a different configuration that put me in a long line of shipment pick/pack stations working with people three feet away from me on either side. This was new and beyond my comfort zone.
I eventually adjusted. But I became aware of experiencing emotions, irritations, frustrations, depression, and even anger that seemed unusual and out of sorts. After a while—I don’t remember if it was days or weeks—I realized I was picking up on feelings and emotions being felt and experienced by people in my vicinity—the emotional “bleed-through” in the title.
I eventually realized that my experience of the emotional bleed-through depended on my own emotional state. Some days I was more susceptible than others to feeling what was going on in other people’s emotional experiences. If I was emotionally high or light-hearted, I wasn’t affected by someone else’s “bad day”. If I felt emotionally weighed down for some reason, I experienced other people’s feelings on top of my own.
I had been taught years before by my first life coach to ask, “Is this mine?” when I felt a so-called negative emotion weighing me down. If the emotion lightened, then chances were high that it was not mine but associated with the collective or someone in my life.
Along the way of this unfolding new experience in my Amazon work-life, I remembered to ask, “Is this mine?” It then eventually occurred to me that even though I was feeling these emotions and feelings of others, I knew that the reason I was susceptible to feeling them was that I was vibrationally within range. Everything I was feeling that “wasn’t mine” was still an emotion that I was capable of feeling in my own life.
Over time, my irritation gave way to neutrality and an ability to experience others’ emotional states at arm’s length, with detachment. This opened the door for me to feel compassion for what I felt others were going through.
Eventually, my sensitivity grew to feel even deeper nuances, like who was feeling what and some of the specifics of what was going on in their lives.
I also realized that often people were feeling their emotions and feelings without being fully conscious of them. They might be showing up for work putting on their “work-face” or happy smile but I could feel or see what was going on beneath the surface.
There’s more to the story, about my energetic and intuitive sensitivity increasing even more, but I’ll save that for another time.
I bring my experiences up because I believe they apply to my opening questions: How do I stop being affected by the emotional upset around me? How do I stop being drawn in? Why do I feel frustrated or irritated beyond reason sometimes? Why would I be affected by others’ emotions?
This year’s unusual worldwide phenomena—coronavirus, lockdowns, political divisiveness, and other goings-on—have most of us emotionally amped up.
I also believe that “the veil” between the worlds (our 3D world and other dimensions) is much thinner than it has been. Some believe that the cosmic energy showered on our planet now has been amplified. All of these are contributing to our greater sensitivity.
Regardless of what you believe, you likely agree that we are experiencing a new paradigm on many levels.
Our elevated emotional states can be contagious. But this year also points out a need to take more timeouts to re-find our center, to be kinder to ourselves and others, understanding that we’re all challenged now.
There’s also the factor of reflection. Metaphysically, everything in our outer world is a reflection of something going on in our inner emotional, energetic world. So the outer world, in every aspect, near or far, is like a mirror for us.
Our experience of feeling others’ emotionality, especially if it triggers us, is telling us about an aspect of our emotionality that we are not addressing, that we are pushing away. It’s telling us about something we are resisting looking at within us because it is uncomfortable or painful.
Our inner emotional dynamics are mostly not conscious. Even in conventional psychology, it is commonly held that 95% of our brain activity is non-conscious. Most of the thoughts we think and emotions and feelings we feel are subconscious and unconscious.
So, we are most likely not aware of how we are subconsciously resisting something that is uncomfortable for us to feel or think about—a negative emotion, fear, anxiety, etc. Over time, we develop the habit of resistance toward that thing. That’s how our blind spots develop.
The problem is that resistance to something is as strongly attractive as liking or enjoying something. We can want something or resist it—either way, we are entangled with it (conscious or not).
So the “way out” is through—confronting what we are afraid of experiencing or looking at.
Coming full-circle, our triggers of feeling others’ emotions around us are messages from our subconscious and unconscious of what we’ve been resisting looking at within us. In the words of an amazing coach and mentor, “Our reality is our guru.” Our reality is reflecting back to us what is standing between us and our expansion into our greater potential.
As we release our emotional blocks within us through our awareness of them, we clear away our own inner muddy water. In doing that, we clarify our vessel through which our higher self can more clearly communicate the higher awareness and subtle gifts of the spirit. We can then expand into embodying our greater selves that we came to express and manifest in physicality this life.