Thursday, April 28, 2016
Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:
You can feel only your own feelings, not another person’s
Having empathy for those we love, and being able to share their joys and sorrows, is part of our nature as warm, caring human beings. Taken to an extreme, however, too much empathy can mean that we lose our boundaries as emotionally separate individuals. When that happens, nobody wins.
We’re responsible for our own feelings. If we’re too deeply involved in another person’s emotional state, we may not be truly aware of our own feelings. If we take on someone else’s response to a situation, we lose our own in the process.
In any situation, particularly one that is highly charged with negative emotions, we need to maintain a sense of self. If we allow ourselves to be swept up in the anger, fear, grief, or despair of someone close to us, we become less capable of giving help and support. Emotional maturity is one of the goals of recovery. We progress toward it as we differentiate how we feel from how another person appears to feel.
I can respect the feelings of others without making them my own.
You are reading from the book:
This book is now out of print and no longer available to purchase. Inner Harvest by Elisabeth L. © 1990 by Hazelden Foundation