Ingredients to Create a Blissful Life #15: Empathy

Hello again! I hope you’ve been using these Ingredients to Create a Blissful Life so far and would love to hear any stories you have of successes or challenges.

This week’s ingredient is: Empathy

This is such an interesting word for me. According to Random House dictionary, empathy is described as:


1. the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”

The idea of sensing and feeling someone else’s feelings is fascinating, isn’t it? You may have seen me write about Access Consciousness and the teachings of its founder, Gary Douglas. One of the things he teaches is that we are susceptible to others emotions on a subconscious level that actually can show up as though we are experiencing those emotions ourselves. Have you ever felt sad or angry when nothing has happened in your life to cause it? If you have, that’s what he’s talking about. This can be very frustrating because we may try to correct something in our own lives when there is nothing actually wrong, but because we feel sad or upset in some way, we think there must be something wrong that’s caused the emotion and we often try to find something to fix.

That was confusing hey? Ok, let’s look at it like this. Recently, a young man I’ve met only a couple of times and haven’t seen in over 5 years passed away suddenly. For all intents and purposes, I’ve had absolutely no relationship with this person. So why, when I heard the news did tears spring to my eyes and I felt a deep sadness? Because I was picking up on the feelings of the people I know who had been close to him and were deeply hurting at the loss.

There’s a theory that we are all (at least to a small degree) able to do this sensing of other people’s feelings. I’ve heard that 90% or more of communication is non-verbal so being able to sense and understand in this way very likely improves communication I would think. Where I believe it can be a problem is when we misidentify someone else’s feelings as our own. In a very extreme example, that’s what happens in a mob when everyone starts to behave the same way. People are picking up on the energy and emotions that are part of the group dynamic and in some cases behave in ways that are completely out of character. In regular life, when this happens people can find themselves struggling with sadness or frustration or anger that appears to come out of nowhere and that can be confusing and upsetting. It can also cause us to waste our precious energy.

So what can you do if this happens? This may sound strange, but bear with me. Gary Douglas teaches that all we need to do is ask if it belongs to us, and if it doesn’t, return it to sender. I know, strange, but I promise it works! Maybe looking at it from the standpoint of not picking up someone else’s stuff is a little bit easier to work with. In that case, all you need to do is recognize that it’s not yours and there is nothing you can do to change it so let it go. Whatever language works for you is fine.

So the next time you feel upset and you don’t know why, would you be willing to ask yourself if it’s yours or if you’re picking up on someone else’s stuff? Or would you rather waste your precious time and energy trying to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist in your life? It’s completely up to you but you may want to just give it a try…

What do you choose?

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