Often we can be deeply affected by and sensitive to the feelings of other people. We can really feel it when other people may be angry, sad, or scared. Our brains are wired to do this; in fact, we have mirror neurons in our brains to help us feel what others are feeling.
That is a wonderful quality to have because it helps us care about other people! Sometimes, though, we can match other people’s feelings so much that we feel too upset. We can settle down those mirror neurons by learning to separate the feelings of others from our own, creating our very own emotional space.
- Put your arms either in front of you or over your head to create an imaginary bubble. This is now a clear boundary between “you” and “not you”.
- We are now going to do a role- play. Go ahead and pair up. Person number one, you will pretend you are feeling angry, sad, or scared. Person number two, have your boundary down. Both of you notice the feelings you have when the boundary is down.
- Next person number two, put your boundary up. Person number one, keep concentrating on that same angry, sad or scared feeling. Both of you notice what it’s like when person number two’s boundary is up. Remember to keep your boundary up! This person’s feelings are not yours, so they cannot get through your boundary.
- Okay, now switch.
- What did you notice? How did your partner’s feelings affect you when your boundaries were down? Do you feel it’s more difficult to remain calm and settled? How about when your boundaries were up? Throughout your day, imagine your clear boundaries are up so you have room for your own feelings. It’s like your own magic bubble.
Note: When your clear fluid boundary is up you can still feel important feelings like compassion and caring, but your boundary gives you room to think clearly, keep a positive mindset and be supportive to those who need your help the most.