What To Do With Emotions That Aren’t Yours
Do you ever feel like you’ve taken on someone else’s emotions? Maybe you feel a heaviness after you talk with someone who is “down” or dealing with grief or depression. Or maybe someone has been venting their anger with you, and all of a sudden you find yourself feeling angry about things going on in your life. Or you may simply have the sensation that you’re carrying some feeling that isn’t yours.
This is a common occurrence. Because we are all connected, when we interact with others, our energy fields and emotions also interact. If you have some internal emotions that haven’t fully resolved, it can create a kind of resonance, and all of a sudden you’re feeling that emotion yourself.
It is also possible that you have taken on someone else’s emotion without realizing it. This happens quite often to those of us who are empaths.
What can you do when this happens?
Return to Sender
A tool that I regularly teach clients starts with asking the following question about emotions they’re experiencing: “Is this mine or someone else’s?”
If you intuitively feel it is someone else’s, then you repeat several times: “Return to sender with consciousness attached.” I usually have my clients repeat it seven times out loud. It seems so simple, but it actually works beautifully!
Others’ emotions or problems are not yours to fix or heal
You see, it is all too easy to take on someone else’s emotions or even their problems without being aware of it. This is especially true when you tend to be a helper.
Many helpers will not only take on others’ emotions, but also take some sort of responsibility for others’ personal and spiritual growth. As one of my teachers said to me, this is a theft.
You mistakenly think you are helping the other person out by taking on their “stuff” — even energetically. And it robs them of their own personal and spiritual growth.
Stay on your side of the net
Another of my teachers put it this way: “Stay on your side of the net.” If you are a tennis or volleyball or ping pong player, you know that the only way to play effectively is to stay on your side of the net. It’s a great metaphor for how we should treat others: feel your own feelings, do your own work, and let others feel their own feelings and do theirs.
That’s where the last phrase, “with consciousness attached,” comes in. It is actually a sort of blessing — in speaking this, you do not hold on to what is not yours, and you send it back to them in a way that blesses them with the awakening, awareness, and healing that comes when they do their own work.
Returning to sender is actually an act of caring
When clients are first introduced to these concepts, they are often a bit resistant, as somehow many people have come to the conclusion that taking on other people’s burdens or being overly involved in someone else’s drama or trauma was helpful to that person. And conversely, that not being involved meant that they didn’t care.
Here is where the Return to Sender practice provides extra help. If you can get past your compulsion to jump in and help, and really ask the question, “Is this mine?” it can be enlightening to see how often it isn’t. In this way, it can help you stay on your side of the net.
The 3-day challenge
Here’s a way to take this practice deeper: do this with every emotion you experience for the next three days. I learned the phrase from Bars Access Consciousness, and they say that most people will find that more than 90% of their emotions aren’t their own. Practicing returning to sender for three days results in a feeling of lightness and well-being. At the end of the three days, people have a lot less inner chatter too.
The only one you can change is you.
I’ve noticed that the practice of returning to sender with consciousness attached does all of that — and it helps my clients focus on their own healing more effectively. As I regularly tell them, the only one you can change is you.
Try it. Next time you’re experiencing a big emotion, ask yourself: “Is this mine?” And if you intuitively feel that it isn’t — or that at least some part of it isn’t — then say “Return to Sender with consciousness attached” seven times.
Then notice how much lighter you feel after you’ve sent it back to sender. And if you’re bold enough, then take on the three-day challenge!
And please let me know how either or both go by commenting below. My clients and I have found this to be a life-changing practice! I find it essential in challenging and intense times. My hope is that it serves you well too.
PS: I love helping people navigate these intense times, and I have a couple of clients slots open right now. If you’re working on healing trauma, facing a big challenge in health, or in your family, or in your organization, or you regularly take on others’ emotions, let’s talk. Schedule a free discovery call with me here.