Sometimes I feel like my anxiety or fear or irritation are all that I am. Strongly-felt emotions can color how I see the world, and the world can seem to reflect them back at me as well. Even on a beautiful sunny day I can feel frustrated, lonely, or bored. There are so many negative human emotions and, at some point in my life, I’ve experienced them all. This is when I need to remind myself that I am not my emotions.
Emotions are only indicators – they tell me which way the wind is blowing. If I am feeling anxious, it is a signal that something isn’t right in my life. Whatever it is, the anxiety is letting me know it’s time to look at what the cause might be and to make a change. If I don’t investigate the source of the anxiety then I will likely carry it with me throughout the day, week, or month. It will invade my relationships at home and work.
Emotions are a vibration of a specific type of energy. That’s why others around me can tell how I am feeling despite my best efforts to hide my emotions. Body language is a great clue to reading emotional states. Minute facial expressions that fleet across our features can reveal much to anyone that is observing closely. Paul Ekman has been studying these tiny micro-expressions for years across all cultures. He has discovered that certain emotional states are immediately recognizable to all humans, regardless of culture. We are in fact hard-wired with mirror neurons that enable us to mimic the emotions being revealed by those we watch and therefore experience a taste of what is going on emotionally for those we watch.
However, there is more to it than that. For example, we may say a “black cloud” surrounds someone who is morose or depressed. But that “black cloud” is more than an expression. Sensitive people can sense what the emotional state is of those they encounter even if they are not staring at someone’s face. Without seeing, they are sensing or “picking up the vibrations” of the energy field that surrounds that person – his or her aura, or as western science has named it, the Biofield. Emotional energy literally fills the aura and is palpable to empaths.
We have all had the experience of turning en masse towards someone entering a room, even though the second before the entrance we have all been engrossed in lively conversation. Why did we all turn to look at the new person? Because our auras felt the energy of the new-comer’s aura. Whether positive or negative, the new-comer’s emotions were powerful enough that our silent radar could sense them and cause us all to react.
When we encounter a friend who has just heard good news, their buoyant good spirits can trigger our own good mood. As we observe the infectious laughter of children at play, it is hard not to smile ourselves. Likewise when we are in the presence of anger, our own feelings can be triggered. Other individual’s emotions may elicit a parallel emotion in others or, paradoxically, a counter response.
This is why when I feel blue or irritated, it seems that the whole world is reflecting “blue and irritated” back at me. My emotional state not only affects my interactions with those around me, it affects those people themselves. Others sense how I am feeling and therefore react differently than if I were exuding joy or excitement. Even my voice on the phone will trigger a different response from my caller because my emotional state will affect how I pitch my voice, the tones I emit, and the words I choose. In fact, cold callers are taught to sit up straight so that their lungs will fully expand and their voices will sound more energetic and compelling.
There are a number of people who have compiled lists of emotions to illustrate the energies associated with each emotion. Esther Hicks, who channels information from Abraham, has created a list that begins with Fear / Grief / Depression / Despair / Powerlessness at the low end, with Joy / Knowledge / Empowerment / Freedom / Love / Appreciation at the high end. She calls this the “Abraham-Hicks Emotional Guidance Scale.” Using this concept, the way to improve one’s mood is to find thoughts and emotions that match the listing that is just above the one you are currently experiencing. Working up the ladder of emotions is a technique to help you upgrade how you are feeling.
Although I have used this and other techniques to entice myself out of a particularly negative mood, the most effective way that I have found to enhance my emotional state is to remember that I am not my emotions. Using the metaphor of a weathervane, I see that the winds of feelings can blow me around. But like the weathervane, I remain the same. Emotions may push me in one direction and then another but my essential self does not really change. I can benefit by letting these momentary feelings act as a guide, giving me information about what needs attention in my life. But, once they blow over, I can return to a calmer place. I am not my emotions!