Careful.. Feelings are contagious

Sep, 17, 2019
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Have you ever noticed just how easily your children’s or partner’s negative mood can rob you of your own happy state? How easy it is to get sucked into your loved one’s stuff – and before you know it – the joy you were feeling has disappeared.

It became very clear to me the other day how easily I can get absorbed in others’ stuff and lose connection to myself. While enjoying a lazy breakfast at home – the kind that drags on and evolves into an arts and craft session amongst toast and sticky jam spillages – my husband got up to fix a broken cupboard.

I was aware how much I enjoyed myself with the kids – but could hear my husband moaning in the background. The thing he was fixing proved tricky and he was clearly getting frustrated. Before I knew it I found myself leaving the table, hovering over him and his project with the sole mission to cheer him up! Even though he hadn’t asked for my help.

The kids then wondered what was going on. Left the table and started to want to help and now we both ended up frustrated – snapping at the kids not to touch the tools. What had started out such a blissful morning was no longer enjoyable. And as for my good mood; a distant memory. I had to fight the urge to blame my husband for ‘doing this to us’.

Perhaps you recognise this scenario?

Feelings spread like wildfire. Because we are all connected. At the deepest level. Our senses are so tuned in to those around us – which is beautiful. But also problematic if we are not mindful of staying connected to ourselves. Because when we leave ourselves in this way and aren’t able to ‘hold on’ or define our own mood – it becomes so important to us that our children or partner act in ways that keep us happy.

Does this mean that we need to not support each other and just mind our own business?

Definitely not. Empathy is what connects us and a beautiful way of communicating our love
But we are a far better resource for everyone if we ‘stay at home’ while we show concern for others. This is true whether we are showing up for our partner, friends and children.

We can’t change what we are not aware of.

One thing that can make a big difference is simply becoming aware of when this happens. Begin to notice when you give the key to your mood and your happiness to your partner, friend or your children. And when you do –  pause.
What helps me immensely is doing and saying less. Rather than becoming absorbed by my partner’s stuff – turning my attention inward – tends to help.

Staying at home – and connecting to ourselves so that we don’t absorb everyone’s feelings is one of the most impactful changes we can make to our family. It frees everyone up to be who they are and feel what they feel. A real gift to give our partner and kids.

Give it a go today!

Louise Hoffmann Brooks

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