One person’s bad mood can affect all those around. And one person’s happiness can also set the emotional tone for others. This is only natural being relational to our core. But we must also develop our emotional immunity so that we’re not infected and taken out by the emotional ups and downs of others.
It’s said when mom is happy, everyone is happy. And this is a sweet sentiment inasmuch as it encourages the honor and care of mom.
But unfortunately, in practice, it often means walking on eggshells to keep mom happy, as her emotions infect the entire house, for better or worse.
And, to be sure, this sentiment is not limited to mom. Friends and coworkers, social media posts and current events often infect us as well.
Whatever the source, we’re more prone to take on the emotions of those around us when our emotional immune system is weak.
And we build our immunity by learning to separate our emotions from others.
For instance, someone’s bad day doesn’t have to be our bad day. Nor do we have to desperately keep others happy in order to be happy ourselves.
The more we’re able to make this distinction between our emotions and theirs, the more we can freely enter into the joy and pain of others.
We can sit in their sorrow without trying to fix them or needing them to be better. And we can celebrate in their joys without jealousy or envy sneaking into our hearts.
This is empathy – our ability to enter the world of others without adopting it as our own.
We seek to connect and understand without becoming infected – actively loving while our thoughts and feelings remain our own.
Build your emotional immunity and learn to honor the experiences of others without letting their moods infect you.