The Feelings Filter
Updated: Dec 26, 2022
When I was a little girl, I hated seeing people being mistreated so I often battled with bullies to protect other children who were being victimized. While I don’t engage in that same way as an adult, I still feel deep and strong emotions when I witness unjust or unfair treatment. Thankfully, I have a very wise council of close friends who support me when I find myself swept up in such heightened emotions. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ll end up reading or seeing something that shows me exactly what I need to hear at the moment.
A perfect fusion of these two things occurred this weekend. Two different friends offered the same advice, “That’s not your business.” I also read a piece by Tabitha Brown, who ironically is known for saying, “That’s your business.” in her videos and books, which reminded me that every emotion I take on, may not actually be my own to carry.
This blend of brilliance helped me to restore and repurpose all the precious time and energy I tend to spend worrying about situations like these that are not my own. Here are some strategies that I am currently using that will support you in creating your feelings filter.
Consult Your Council. One thing I cherish about the small and close community that I’ve curated is that we don’t spend time gossiping or going down negative rabbit holes. When any of us are faced with a challenge, we support each other by actively listening and asking open ended questions that help us come up with our own solutions. When advice is offered, it is fair and objective, and challenges us to look at ourselves, the role we play in the issue, and what is within our control.
Who is on your personal or professional council and how do each of you contribute to one another’s growth?
Sort Your Soul Work. At the close of each coaching session, I invite my clients to identify their soul work. These are intentions or actions that they work on between sessions or over time to move them closer to their personal and professional goals. When I find myself troubled over something someone else is experiencing, I must remind myself that trying to solve other people’s problems may be robbing them of their opportunity to do their own important work. My soul work lies in reflecting on and identifying why I’m so triggered by this and what issue I’m trying to resolve in myself by running to the rescue of others.
What soul work do you need to allow people to do for their own wellbeing? What is your soul work?
Elevate Your Empathy. I know that bullies often do what they do because they are hurting. I must remember this when I feel anger toward them because I’ve certainly acted in ways that I am not proud of when I wasn’t well mentally or emotionally. This by no means excuses or justifies their behavior, but this awareness helps me to increase my empathy and manage my emotions.
Where might there be an opportunity to elevate your empathy for someone with whom you’ve experienced challenges?
This week I challenge you (and myself) to create a system that will support you in filtering which feelings are your own, and which ones you may be taking on that are not yours to carry.
I am consulting my council to hold me accountable for awareness and understanding of the role I play in circumstances that are challenging.
I am sorting my soul work to get clear on what is mine, and when I think I am helping but I am actually blocking someone else’s opportunity to do their own work.
I am elevating my empathy for individuals who emotionally activate me.