One of the biggest challenges for empaths is determining whether the emotions they are feeling at a given time are their own or whether they are picking up on the emotions of someone else. For empaths who are new to their abilities, it can be very confusing and it’s even possible that they might not know that the feelings they are experiencing do not belong to them at all.
Consider the following scenario: You’re an empath and you enter a coffee shop. You buy your latte and sit down and start working on your laptop. Suddenly, you start to feel very sad. You aren’t sure what has gotten into you because you were feeling great a few minutes ago. All you know is you’re now experiencing a heaviness and a sense of grief. If you were paying attention to your surroundings, you might have noticed that your mood changed as soon as the woman sitting at the table next to you walked into the coffeeshop.
In this example, you’re unaware that the sadness that you are experiencing is not your pain to carry. Rather you are feeling the emotions of someone else.
There are even certain types of situations where you are more likely to pick up on the emotions of others, such as when you are in large crowds or when you’re in a stressful environment such as inside of an airplane.
If you’re out and about and feeling a certain way, here’s how you can tell if your feelings are your own or those of someone else.
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Do a quick scan of your thoughts
Typically, our feelings follow our thoughts. If we think about something that makes us sad, we are then likely going to feel sad. So if your mood suddenly changed, there was likely some kind of thought that precipitated the mood change. If you can’t figure out why you feel the way you do or you can’t identify such a thought, the emotion may belong to someone else.
Note whether someone new has entered your presence
In the example above, if you had paid attention to the comings and goings around you, you might have noticed that your mood shifted the minute a certain person entered the room. Pay attention to how you feel around people. If someone approaches you and your mood suddenly shifts, you’re likely picking up on the emotions of someone else.
Remove yourself temporarily from the environment
Sometimes you’re in a place with a lot of people and you can’t tell if one of them is messing up your mood. In this type of situation, leave the room and get away from those who were around you for a few minutes. Note how you feel. If you start to feel better when you’re alone, you may have been picking up on the emotions of others.
If you remove yourself from a public event and feel some relief, you may think your only option is to isolate yourself. Luckily that’s not the case. If you realize that someone in the crowd is affecting your mood, you can ground yourself to rid yourself of the extra energy.
To ground yourself, simply, visualize yourself as a tree with roots burrowed deep into the ground. In your mind’s eye, visualize any energy that doesn’t belong to you moving from the top of the tree to the bottom of it and being released from your body into the ground through those roots.
Once you feel more grounded, set the intention that only your emotions be felt inside of your body. Then, go back where the other people are and see if you feel better.