Every time we experience an emotion, we are doing so influenced by the society around us. It’s something beyond our control and there’s nothing wrong with that in itself. It is simply impossible to live life apart from the ideas of the culture we live in and the relationships we have, and these two elements affect the way we think and feel.
However, it is one thing to experience our emotional side through socio-cultural influences, and another to get used to the fact that how we feel depends on how others feel. This is something that occurs through the mental processes of empathy , but that can give way to a kind of “emotional contagion” that can harm us when it leads us to fall into negative emotions constantly and unjustifiably.
In this article we’ll see some tips on how to stop absorbing other people’s emotions , and how we can modify the way we react to other people’s feelings so that they don’t override our own judgment and personality.
How to stop absorbing the emotions of others
To stop suffering from this constant emotional contagion, follow the guidelines below. Keep in mind, however, that each case is unique, and you must find a way to adapt these tips to your particular case and your way of life.
1. Beware of Dependency Relationships
This is a basic condition for not being constantly infected by the emotions of others, but the importance of this advice goes far beyond that. When we are involved in relationships of dependency, both our actions and our feelings orbit around another , who consciously or unconsciously learns to control us, leading us to the state of mind that interests him most.
Therefore, both in the field of friendship and in that of relationships , it is important to control that all these emotional ties are symmetrical and fair, without one part dominating the other, because if we fall into dependence, we become practically an extension of the body of the other.
2. Exposure to third party opinions
In order not to absorb someone else’s emotions all the time, we have to maintain our own criteria about what is happening around us. That is why, even if our relationship with another person is healthy, it is necessary to have frequent contact with more people. Each individual is a point of view , and the simple fact of exposing oneself to explanations about reality that to some extent contradict each other, brings us closer to a unique way of seeing life.
3. Analyze what type of emotions you absorb most
Probably, those who have a propensity to absorb emotions have a tendency to feel certain ways of feeling, not all of them. For example, in many cases sadness will be the emotion that affects us the most , but in other cases this may be anger combined with the desire for revenge.
Stopping to think about this will help us to determine in which contexts and situations we are most vulnerable.
4. Learn to take a distance perspective
This is another piece of advice that can be used for many other things, and it usually brings advantages when someone wants to adopt a more neutral point of view. It requires some effort and practice, but over time, you gain the ability to look more coldly at what’s going on.
To do this, it is good to imagine literally seeing a fact from a distance , as if it were part of a simulation or a story that does not take place on our plane of reality. In this way, it breaks with the illusion that everything that happens in the world or near us has a capital importance and is the center of the universe.
5. Help the other person
Some people may think that the best way not to get infected with negative emotions and the discomfort of others is simply to cut off contact with those who transmit them to us. Although it can be useful advice in very extreme cases, in most cases it is not a good idea, assuming that it is a healthy relationship in all other aspects .
Why is it not recommended? Because from this point of view it is assumed that the problem is in an isolated way in two people: one that emits and another that receives without filters. But what is happening is exactly the opposite: there is a link, a relationship, that goes beyond individuality. That is why it is much more advisable to try to help the other person than to run away from him or her.
This is an option that many people overlook. If we absorb the negative emotions of another, we can also go to the root of the problem by helping that person . Not everything is just about how we feel; sometimes a little help can make a big difference, benefiting not one but two people.