How to Protect Yourself From Other People (and the News)
“If you are a sensitive person, you might notice that you are highly affected by other people’s moods, what others might think of you, and the news you hear about the world around you.”
We all know how important boundaries are. We have to stand up for ourselves, understand our own limits, say No when we need to. But what about our internal boundaries? What about the ways in which our emotions and our energies are affected by the people around us? What about the way the daily news can pierce through our hearts and keep us awake all night?
If you are a sensitive person, you might notice that you are highly affected by other people’s moods, what others might think of you, and the news you hear about the world around you. People pleasers and caregivers tend to feel that our most meaningful work in life is to help others. That can make us very open to other people’s moods and energy, but it can also make us very vulnerable to that energy. Sometimes we don’t know whose emotions we are feeling in any given moment.
Some of us also need to protect ourselves from our own energies. We might have difficult memories, trauma, or big emotions that we have to manage in order to get through the day. When we don’t have any protective mechanisms to help us manage these deep internal feelings, it can make us feel totally out of control. One of the reasons drugs, alcohol, food, and other addictions are so powerful is because they can be the quickest way to numb feelings we don’t know how to experience.
The foundational way to manage our internal boundaries is to create appropriate, safe spaces to process our emotions. That might be through seeing a counselor or through some kind of practice like journaling, meditating, or taking a long walk to think and feel things through. When we have strategies for managing the emotions that come up, it becomes much easier to notice our own emotions, how we are being affected by someone else, and what we need.
In order to do this, we must know in our bones that it’s okay to feel our feelings, while also being aware that there’s a time and place to cry and rage and shake our fists at God. (Or whatever politician is on the news that day.)
Ways to Feel Protected
In addition to having specific safe outlets like counseling, journaling, and meditation, there are a couple of other ways I like to protect myself from the energy of others and clear out any energy that’s not mine. I will mindfully wash my hands after certain encounters, imagining the water rinsing away anything I may have picked up that’s not mine to hold. I’ll also press my hands into the ground and allow the earth to absorb this energy. Or I’ll meditate on that earth energy, releasing what is not mine into the ground below me.
One of my favorite ways to protect myself—especially if I know I’m going to be around someone with a lot of influence on me—is to create an energetic shield. This is a very helpful one for gatherings that make you nervous, like a party or a family event, or if you know you’re going to be around someone who tends to be critical of you. This is a simple practice of imagining a beautiful shield around you that only allows in the energy you want and bounces off the energy that’s unwelcome within the space of your shield.
However you do it, remember that your emotions are yours to process, just as other peoples are theirs to process. You might certainly help someone do that work, but don’t get distracted from dealing with your own stuff by over-focusing on someone else—that’s not your responsibility. Let other people have their feelings, and don’t forget to let yourself have your own.
- February 11, 2020 –