Human beings are social creatures. Even introverts need to feel they are a valuable part of a social group, and we are inevitably influenced by others in our group. If you are surrounded by upbeat, happy people, you are likely to share that attitude. But if you are surrounded by negative people, people who complain or backbite or are always pessimistic, it is hard to maintain your own sense of hope and optimism.
Empathy is the ability to feel the feelings of another person, as though we were standing in their shoes. If you are an empathetic person, one of the most valuable skills you can learn is how to protect your own personal energy field, so you can avoid absorbing any negative energy in your environment.
Here are some techniques you can use:
1. Let Go of Trying to Please People
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches” – Dita Von Teese. This is your one precious life. Live it to please yourself. Understand that some people will be drawn to you, and others will not, just as you will not be attracted to everyone you meet. Love and respect yourself, and don’t waste time on people who don’t love and respect you.
2. Learn to Say “No.”
It’s great to be generous, but make sure your relationships are truly reciprocal. Be good to the people who are good to you. Pay attention to your own needs, and don’t accept obligations that will impinge on your own well-being. Develop clear boundaries, and communicate those to the people in your life.
3. Never Drain Yourself to Mend Others.
Remember that old Polish proverb: “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” Other people’s problems are not yours to solve; you have your own challenges. Each of us is walking our own path, and learning our own lessons. If someone asks for help, and you feel inclined to assist them, do so. But beware of the many people who define themselves through their problems. You won’t be able to make a difference in their lives, and it’s out of order for you to try.
4. Take Time for Yourself.
We all need some time alone, some of us more than others. Pay attention to your personal need for space, and make sure you meet that need. Walk in the park, or stroll on the beach. Breathe deeply and absorb the beauty around you. Spend time with people who appreciate you and help you feel loved and appreciated.
5. Remember That You Are In Charge of You.
You are in charge of your own happiness. No matter what you are experiencing, you can in every moment choose how you are going to feel. If you are sad or grieving, let yourself feel those feelings, but remind yourself you will feel better again. Keep a positive outlook.