“I am entitled to my feelings and other people are also entitled to theirs.”
“We all share emotions, and we’re all affected by the emotions others share with us. We spread our emotions through face-to-face conversations, phone calls, emails, Facebook posts, tweets, or in wordless expressions 🙂
These all influence the moods of others.
When someone smiles at you, you smile back. This is known as imitation. If someone cries, you experience more or less sadness and/or urge to help. In small children, such contagion is irresistible. Any preschool teacher will confirm times when one crying kid has led to all the kids being in tears.
Why is this? Is there some kind of benefit underlying the emotional contagion between human beings?
According to an article published by Elaine Hatfield, John T. Cacioppo and Richard L. Rapson, emotional contagion is ”the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize expressions, vocalizations, postures, and movements with those of another person and, consequently, to converge emotionally.”
From an evolutionary perspective, emotional contagion is essential for survival. For example, when threatened by a predator, emotional arousal spreads within a prey group and enables more of the animals to escape from danger. Researchers at the University of Chicago observed that rats became distressed when they saw other rats in distress, and they displayed pain behavior if they saw other rats in pain, suggesting that the most principal form of empathy is well-known to other species.
Emotional contagion serves human beings as well, it was helpful to our ancestors, enabling them to understand each other in a time before verbal communication was possible.
Although we tend to believe that, as adults, we’re adept at emotional management and control, even the most stoic among us is susceptible to emotional contagion.”
Excerpt from an (April 17, 2012) article, by Dr. Ryan T. Howell, Ph.D.
Yesterday, I had such a HUGE breakthrough in my recovery, and I owe it all to God and to my wonderful counselor, Suzanne Counts, at the Prism Program, to my counselor Dr. Kevin Smith, to my most loving and supportive husband, Harold Green, and to myself for putting in the work (that’s right, it’s OK to give myself a pat on the back now and then).
I have been struggling with many mind blowing emotions for over a year and a half. Thankfully, friends and family have been so faithful to pray for me. Thank you my faithful friends and family ❤ You know who you are.
Suddenly, driving down the road, after IOP (Intensive Outpatient Therapy) group yesterday (I’ve been doing a lot of hard work in there), something SUPER POWERFUL came over me. I was driving down the freeway, and “suddenly” I got this overwhelming sense of peace that just enveloped me like a warm cozy blanket with hearts on it. All in the same moment, deep in my innermost insides, I felt complete forgiveness, understanding, compassion, and even love, for those who have hurt me so badly over the last year and a half.
Gone was the anger, fear, bitterness, hurt and resentments. In their place came a peace that I did not know if I would EVER feel again.
I AM a great mother!
I AM a great wife!
I AM a good person!
I CAN show love to those who hurt me again!
I DO have really good qualities within myself!
I AM OK just the way I am!
I AM exactly the person God made me to be!
I HAVE flaws, but I AM NOT “a” flaw!
My truth is AWESOME; and, it’s mine to keep and to love.
I DON’T believe negative things others may say about me even when THEY DO!
I AM NOT the negative things others say about me.
As long as I KNOW the truth (my truth), who cares what others think or believe?
Who cares? So what? Just so what?
It’s all good!
I’M all good!
I AM ok with me even if/when others are not ok with me.
I CAN forgive when others hurt me because they don’t know any better.
I CAN take the high road even when others aren’t able.
I CAN show love to those who have hurt me beyond belief. I CAN!
The hurt WAS terrible hurt, but it DOESN’T MATTER any more.
It just doesn’t matter.
God matters. Love matters. Life matters. Forgiveness matters. People matter. I matter.
What’s done is done – it’s in the past.
I CAN acknowledge the hurt; and, it no longer defines me.
It’s OK to be tired. I HAVE been through a lot.
It WOULD be a lot for ANYONE.
My emotions DON’T have to keep me living in the past.
I CAN move on now; I CAN move on.
I CAN love myself just like I am. I AM good.
Hurting people HURT people, they DON’T know better.
I KNOW better now. I GET IT!
It hurt for a time; but, I DON’T HAVE TO hurt forever.
I AM in control of my future now.
My emotions DON’T get to rule my life anymore.
I WON’T accept unacceptable behavior.
I DO deserve respect.
If I am not respected, I CAN CHOOSE NOT to be around that.
I HAVE prayed a lot for this moment.
I CAN CHOOSE to live free now.
I AM who God says I am, NOT who other people say I am.
GOD AGREES that I am set FREE – FREE indeed!
Suddenly, I WAS able to LET GO of everything wrong in my life yesterday!
Suddenly, wrong is a WRONG THING, but I AM NOT a WRONG PERSON.
Suddenly, I realized that God made me a GOOD person. I have flaws; AND, I AM a good human.
Suddenly, lack of motivation HAS been replaced by new energy.
Suddenly, I CAN do some work around the house if I CHOOSE.
Suddenly, I REALIZE that I CAN choose my emotions; my emotions DON’T get to choose me.
Suddenly, I GOT IT. What HAS hurt me so badly for so long, doesn’t HAVE to hurt any longer. It just doesn’t.
Suddenly, my “hurt backpack” WAS emptied. I CAN see the bottom. The bottom CAN see the top.
Suddenly, I LET GO of the past as it WAS. The past IS exactly that; the past.
Suddenly, I DON’T have to DO something about EVERYTHING! Halleluia! That’s God’s job anyway!
Suddenly, I DON’T have to THINK AND RETHINK on the past ALL OF THE TIME – ANYMORE.
Suddenly, the past IS NO MORE. I AM FREE of it.
Suddenly, my love tank WAS starting to open again, right there in the car. I WASN’T scared to move. I WASN’T SCARED!
Suddenly, fear WAS gone! What a gift! Fear of hurt and rejection – GONE.
Suddenly, yesterday, I WAS able to reach out (in love) to one of the people who had hurt me the most with NO HESITATION!
Suddenly, I REALIZED that developing and maintaining healthy boundaries WILL keep me grounded.
Suddenly, I FELT the ground under my feet, and WAS NOT hovering out there, in a place unknown and scary.
Suddenly, I have direction; and, I can see forward movement in my future. All of my hard work is paying off. I am able to be proud of myself now. I have done a good job. I am not stuck anymore. What a huge sense of relief.
Only God can do that many things in/for a person at once. God CAN and God WILL. Only God. ONLY GOD!!
Thank You God – My Loving Caring God – My Miracle Working God.
I Love You GOD.
I AM FREE.
I AM STILL.
I AM QUIET.
I JUST AM.
Let this right here be the “no judgement zone”. Whatever the words or feelings are – that come from within us – are VALID! When other people don’t understand our “timeframe”, or our journey, it’s sometimes because they have not walked in our shoes.
Then there are others……The words they speak to us, actually say more about them than they do about us. It’s up to us to learn this. Never, ever, should we feel ‘depressed’ or ‘judgmental’ toward ourselves (or of them).
I always say, “What others think about me is none of MY business”. Even if others are more than happy to give you their opinions about you (or about what you say or do) – that is “their” opinion. Leave it with THEM.
And furthermore, (gently spoken here), we are not “mind readers”.
So we should not assume that we know what “they are thinking about us”. Sometimes we just have to validate our own selves because other people – friends included – may not be able to do that for us. That is about them, not about us. But it is up to us to learn the difference.
Among my many friends, some are “safe” to share my innermost thoughts and feelings with, and some are not. Does that make them less of a friend? Of course not! Do I set healthy boundaries regarding how much I trust that person with my emotions? You betcha! Is that weird? No way! Again, they’re called “boundaries”.
We will also learn that some people will honor our boundaries and others …umm …not so much. They are who I call “boundary busters”. I like to believe that they just don’t know better yet. People tend to do what they know, or what was modeled for them somewhere along their way in life.
The Bible says to choose your friends wisely as in Proverbs 12:26. So I choose very carefully who I allow (especially) into my innermost circle. In my case, it’s not as many people as those who are in the middle and outermost circle. Some I keep my emotions more at more of a distance to some, and others not.
Imagine that your emotions (inside of you) have 3 circles surrounding them/you:
- innermost circle (closest to your heart)
- middle circle (a little further out), and
- outermost circle.
Imagine that I can move friends/people around within these inner and outer circles however and whenever I see fit (as to protect my emotions). This makes sense to me as people do change, and I do make new friends from time to time. No explanations are necessary when you set your boundaries in order to keep yourself peaceful. My body is a temple. My job is to protect, nurture it, and keep good boundaries around it.
This is especially important in times of grief over a loved one. Nurture your soul, and protect your peace. God’s Word says to follow peace, as in Hebrews 12:14.
So there – the very Creator of the universe Himself has freely given you His permission.
Protect your peace!