How Can I Stay Centered? 5 Tips to Prevent People’s Emotions from Dragging You Down

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How Can I Stay Centered? 5 Tips to Prevent People’s Emotions from Dragging You Down

Adapted from Monica and Michael Berg’s Spiritually Hungry podcast. Listen and subscribe here.
February 7, 2022
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We all know someone who is drama-prone. Often when we talk to them, something seems to be going wrong, and they occupy a negative headspace. It can be easy to get pulled into those heavy emotions without meaning to. How do we maintain equilibrium and stay true to ourselves in the midst of an emotionally fraught situation? How do we navigate empathy without getting dragged into someone else’s emotional turmoil?

Here are 5 tips to prevent other people’s emotions from bringing you down:

1. Be mindful that emotions are contagious.

Have you ever noticed when you spend time around someone who is angry or in a bad mood, you start to take on those emotions as well? The people around us can be some of the most influential factors in determining our state of wellbeing. Being around somebody in a negative state of mind will almost always influence you. Sometimes you might not even realize when or why it happens. It’s an automatic response.

Far too often, we think we are in total control of what affects us. Take stock of the qualities of the people you choose to be around. Who are you choosing to spend your time with? Do the people in your life inspire you to be your best or drag you down? Be mindful of how interconnected we are and how much people can influence you. The more aware you are, the more you can resist the pull of other people’s chaos.

2. To have empathy is important. Sympathy on the other hand can bring you down with them.

When someone is going through a tough time, it can be important for us to empathize with them in order to offer support. It’s natural for us to want to help, save, and protect the people we care about. However, many times, we end up getting dragged down into their emotional turmoil in a way that is not healthy for us, especially if the stakes are high. Know that you can be supportive, loving, and caring without taking on that person’s emotions for yourself.

This requires some mental preparation. When someone else is in a heightened state, remind yourself to hear and sympathize with them without getting emotional about it. Sometimes you have to build a layer of emotional protection around yourself. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care about them. On the contrary, by distancing yourself emotionally, you are actually able to help and support them better from a clear-headed position.

3. The more you know yourself and your beliefs, the less influence others will have over you.

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the only person who should influence what you think and feel about yourself is you. We are naturally very sensitive to what people, even strangers, think about us. A true spiritual person is someone who knows that only we can assess how well we are doing in all areas of life. We can gauge this by how much we are growing, changing, and developing our selfless desire to share.

Part of our spiritual development is to care less and less about what other people think of us. Think of yourself as a rock – a strong, stable being that doesn’t get pushed by the wind. Do you know who you are and what you believe? Once that is the case, what other people think about you will become less and less important. If you don’t start there, then you are open to the winds of everybody else’s emotions.

4. Be the source of Light in the room.

The purpose of our souls is to bring joy, happiness, and positive energy into this world. Not only can we take measures to avoid being brought down by other people’s negative emotions, we can actually be a source of positivity in the lives of others.

Make it your goal to bring Light into whatever room you walk into every single day. It could be a positive attitude, a smile, or a kind word or gesture. If emotions are contagious, try to spread positivity to all those around you.

5. Even negative people or exchanges can provide an opportunity for your growth.

Even the most challenging relationships and obstacles serve a purpose in our lives, though we might not be able to see it at the time. That purpose is often to provide us with an opportunity to grow. Trust that if someone is in your life at a particular moment, there is something you are meant to learn from it.

It’s an important shift in the way we view negative circumstances. Instead of looking at them as unfortunate events due to bad luck, view them as exciting opportunities to better yourself. If someone says something negative to you, it’s because you needed to hear that in order to become stronger. Our souls need the challenges because we need to grow.

Every time we actively work to not be influenced by other people, we grow. Unless we are constantly challenged, we won’t ever become the strongest version of ourselves. Although there are sometimes toxic people we need to remove or limit from our lives, even our most negative experiences can make us stronger.

We influence each other so much more than we realize. It’s hard not to get sucked in by the negative state of others. It takes a lot of practice and spiritual work to stay centered. But the more that we work on this, the more we continue developing into the people we ultimately are meant to become.

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