- Nancy Urbach
How To Not Absorb Others Emotional Baggage
We all have baggage. The question is how do we not absorb someone else’s emotion when they share their story. When we get invested into someone else’s drama, we can get caught up in reacting to their emotions and problems. Not realizing we have no impact on what happens next in their story. When you come to this realization that you are caught up in their misfortune, you have the option to take back some of your power to ground yourself. Consider these questions the next time you are confronted with someone else’s baggage.
Did this unfortunate event happen to you directly or will your emotional participation impact the outcome?
If you answered no, then you might be at risk of taking on the anger or sadness from the person who is sharing their baggage. It’s natural to hear a story and adopt their same emotion. However, you need to keep in mind that the situation did not occur to you, and you do not have to share in their heart break. It’s ok to be sympathetic and show empathy as you're listening. You can offer the person some comforting words or advice if they ask for it, but besides that, they need to work out their own issues. We all have troubles sometimes in life and just want to share it with someone. This may be all that they are wanting. If you take on their emotions, it can be draining and cause you to feel overwhelmed. To stop this from happening, take a few deep breaths and mentally remind yourself that this is not your burden, and these emotions are not yours. It is unfortunate that this person is going through tough times, but you are not. Holding on to these facts can help you to remain grounded.
Are you emotionally becoming distracted with their issues after the conversation is over? If you have someone in your life who is always sharing their drama, be mindful of what you pick up. When you become emotionally distracted with other’s problems that you have zero effect on, you are just wasting your energy. No one is benefiting from your now added stress. It is ok to ask them, are you wanting any advice or are you just wanting me to listen? Sometimes people just need to share. Unless they ask you directly for help, learn to leave their drama in the conversation. It is not yours to carry, because in the end you are only hurting yourself. Any emotions you take with you, have no effect on them. A helpful question to ask yourself when you are getting emotional is, “Whose is this? Why am I feeling this way?” Practicing mindfulness of your emotions will help you not to absorb other’s emotional baggage.