One of the most popular questions I am asked by people, especially highly sensitive people, is how do I protect myself from picking up other peoples stuff?
How do I not take on other people’s emotions, suffering, anger, grief, sadness, inner processes and the everyday rumble of their lives? How do I not ingest it, and not take it home like a big foggy heavy cloud over my whole being?
And the deeper question to this is how do I protect and care for my own wellbeing, happiness and positive states when I support others?
Picking up other peoples stuff is not fun. Most people know the experience well. It is a source of deep frustration, anger, despair and even sometimes a hatred of being sensitive. I have worked with many people who felt this experience was ruining their lives.
It is often easier to see you have picked someone else’s stuff up when you are feeling good because the shift in mood or state when you pick someone else’s stuff up is so obvious.
For example, it is a beautiful sparkling autumn day, like today here in Melbourne, and you go for a walk feeling equally sparkly yourself, lovingly open and connected with nature and beauty. You run into a neighbor who is having a difficult time, and whether or not they openly share about their process, you are left afterwards feeling heavy, moody or down. Your sparkly connection to life is lost.
You have “picked up” their stuff, you are left with a light, or sometimes heavy dose of their mood or suffering. Such experiences where you have sudden or unexplained shifts of mood, can be a good insight into the effects of this energetic connection. Learning to clear other people’s stuff from your system can be equally empowering and confidence building.
You can clear this energy in a variety of ways, such as prayer and intention, grounding, flower essences, inner work or simply unhooking someone’s energy field from yours, which is often the most effective.
Determining the way you best clear peoples suffering from your system, really depends on the reasons you picked it up in the first place, and this is highly personal and worth exploring.
My best advice if this is an ongoing difficulty in your life is to have a two-pronged approach to dealing with the issue.
Firstly, explore and understand the reasons you are picking up other peoples stuff? What is going on in your system to lead you into this predicament? And I will list a few examples below. Then find strategies and solutions for these underlying problems and reasons.
Secondly have the little internal self-care kit of strategies (as mentioned above) ready to use when an energy exchange takes place. Then you can clear it as quickly as possible and return to your natural state of wellbeing. The more effective and efficient you can become in clearing or shedding others suffering, the more empowered and free you will feel being a sensitive person.
Being free of carrying other peoples suffering does not mean you don’t care, or that you don’t seek to support them. Instead it allows you to be centred, loving and present and thus more available to those you love and care about, and allows you to have a better experience of being yourself, while being there for others.
So here are a few reasons why you may find yourself picking up other peoples stuff.
1. Being Ungrounded:
When we are well grounded, our energetic boundaries work most effectively. Thus we are able to remain clear and centred in our self, and separate from others energetically.
2. Poor Boundaries:
Poor boundaries on any level – physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual can contribute to us being vulnerable to merging or absorbing others suffering.
3. Poor Energy Habits Such As Merging:
Many sensitive people have biased energy habits of merging out into the world and with others. We can feel more comfortable energetically connecting with others and the world, and less comfortable with also holding a healthy sense of separateness. This can often mean a person’s partial or entire energy field can be entangled or enmeshed with another person or even a group. Merging can feel wonderful when you are in love, and merged with the expansive beauty of nature but can be very painful if what you are connecting to has an energy of great suffering.
4. Belief Systems About Taking On Others Suffering:
It is very common in our culture to believe that taking on another’s pain can be helpful to the other person , and there are definitely times in life, especially urgent situations where that is useful. In the general everyday process of relating, absorbing others pain is neither helpful to others (not allowing them to learn and grow for themselves). It is not helpful to the person choosing to bear the suffering and can often have dire consequences to their wellbeing and health. Often the belief that one should take on another’s suffering, is cultural, ancestral, and unconscious, and is particularly challenging for women who have often been encouraged into this behavior in a sacrificial way.
5. Trauma and Survival Patterns:
In particular children, who have suffered chronic abuse, trauma or bullying (or were simply very sensitive to the intense suffering or abuse of others) often adopt survival strategies in relation to their family member’s suffering in order to survive. These habits can include lack of self-protection from the aggression and strong emotions of others; taking on the troubles of parents, and allowing others to drain their energy and inner resources. These habits were often essential to survival in during childhood and were helpful then, but as adults such habits can be painful and debilitating and no longer relevant to their present life.
It is very difficult to have strong auric boundaries when we are not well. Thus it is important to take extra self care with your energetic wellbeing when you are out in the world, supporting yourself with flower essences, being grounded, energetic protection, continuing to support your health in the best possible way.
7. Unconscious Empathy:
Highly sensitive people are often very empathic; meaning they are able to connect with the inner life and energetic nature of other people easily and deeply. This is an excellent gift when owned, understood and used well. Otherwise sensitive empaths can find themselves unconsciously picking up the suffering of others, or even the world, as if they are a multi-band radio that is always switched on and picking up overwhelming signals from a multitude of channels all at once. This can be distressing, confusing and very painful. It can make you feel “crazy” with all of this information overload, and make it difficult to determine what is yours, and what belongs to others.
8. Kundalini and Awakening Process:
These two processes can make you painfully sensitive. They can keep your aura and energetic systems in a constant state of flux and in intense transformation and thereby reduce your natural ability to protect yourself from what surrounds us. Even if you have been feeling resilient prior to the Kundalini activating, you can find yourself overwhelmed and vulnerable around others once awakening begins. This intense vulnerability settles down as the awakening process completes and integrates. You can then become increasingly robust and strong.
These are the most crucial reasons to explain why you might be connecting in unhelpful ways with others.
I, myself, suffered all of these issues listed above, going through various levels of frustration but also insights, leading to a greater understanding of myself. I was able to resolve my unconscious tendencies, and find enduring solutions.
I know deep within myself the pain of being too open to the pain of the world, but also the joyous liberation of resolving this torment in a balanced and powerful way.
In the weekend workshop, ‘Empowered Sensitivity’ we will be exploring all of these ways of absorbing other’s pain (and much, much more). This will allow you to create a unique map of your energetic strengths and vulnerabilities.
From this awareness, you can create a personal, powerful self care kit of strategies and techniques to protect and enhance your wellbeing.
And we will have a lot of fun together exploring these and other topics essential to sensitive people.
You are most welcome to join us.
Maybe you have tips or techniques on clearing other people’s energy from your system. You may also have your own self care strategies. I would love to hear from you. Please share them with us by leaving a comment below, if you feel so inspired.