Do you ever feel overwhelmed listening to your partner's complaints, your mother or father's ailments, your kids problems, your friends drama and the news?
It's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind around you. Women especially often talk to each other about their issues and happily take on the counselling role of the family as an act of love. But at a certain point we can begin to feel weighed down by it all, overwhelmed by it all, stressed out by it all. And that's perfectly understandable, but not healthy.
While we don't want to close the door on our loved ones permanently, there are some tools to help us cope and manage all of this information.
A friend of mine reminded me of this on our Courage 2.0 retreat (which was great btw!). She described a similar situation where she was feeling overwhelmed by a loved one's story when she realized - that's not mine - and simply waved it away with her arm.
As human beings we range in our capacity for empathy, but for those who really feel it, it can be a beautiful gift and a burden. Learning how to manage this gift is the key, and part of that is being able to use our emotional intelligence to identify what's not ours and let it go.
The next time you feel overwhelmed by something, give this technique a try. As your mind is racing, stop your train of thought and ask yourself - 'is this mine?', and if it isn't just wave it away, blow it away (or whatever cathartic movement helps you symbolize that), and let it go. Observing our emotions is a part of emotional intelligence (or EQ-Daniel Goleman), so using this technique will also strengthen your conditioning to stop and observe your emotions and thoughts in other circumstances as well, so it's a great practice to have.
Another tool to help manage day-to-day stress is boundaries, which I'll cover more extensively in another blog, but it's good to know when to close the door. Sure we want to be able to have our door always open for those we love, but closing it once in a while is an act of love and respect for yourself.
So, take some time for some peace & quiet on your own if that's what you need, or go for a hike if that's what re-charges you. Either way, stay in tune with yourself and set that boundary for when you need a time out from everybody else's stuff. That might mean setting a time each day for one hour where you've told your family you'll be in your room. Or leaving your cell phone at home for the day. Whatever tactic works best for you and your unique situation.
Remember that most things will come out in the wash, whether you hear about them, worry about them or stress out about them.
Including the stuff that's not yours. So try letting them go, and set boundaries to preserve your own wellbeing. It feels pretty freeing.
Wishing you a peaceful road, wherever it may take you <3