You aren’t in control of your emotional experience.
In fact, you’re completely at the mercy of those around you. It’s not just empaths. All of us pick up on the emotions of everyone – near and far – like little light receptors glowing in the dark.
Example: I would not consider myself an empath. I’m actually quite the opposite. My understanding and ability to have any anticipation of other peoples’ emotions is limited. I wouldn’t rank compassion and empathy as a natural state for me.
Yet, when I walk through the grocery store, I keep hearing judgments of others in my head. Like… who is this asshole in my mind and when did I become this judgey McJudgersen? Because I’m not exactly sure that I like her. I mean I love me and will continue to be nice to me… but wouldn’t it be better if I could quit being such a bitch to people in my head?
A kind woman named Kim taught me something about this… something that surprised the hell out of me. She told LP and me, with a very serious face as she leaned back on her kitchen counter, “That doesn’t belong to you.”
Now look: I’m really not into the woo of picking up on other peoples’ emotions. I’ve always had an inside-voice-eye-roll when everyone and their brother’s dog’s mom’s girlfriend have claimed their spot as an empath. Yet, when Kim explained that our judgments are actually us picking up on other peoples’ fears and insecurities, and that you can ask yourself, “Does that belong to me?” and you can watch those ideas fall away… I learned first hand that maybe she was right about this.
She said, “As you’re walking through the store, hearing judgments about peoples’ clothing, their weight, their smell, what’s in their cart… ask yourself if that belongs to you. If it doesn’t, it will fall away and you will know it wasn’t yours. And in that case, wrap it back up with heart hands and say that you return it to sender with love.”
It only took a few days of practice to realize that almost ALL of our judgments don’t actually belong to us. Our judgments are our way of acknowledging the insecurities of everyone around us. And as you practice the art of asking, “Does that belong to me?” you begin to see other people with a hue of compassion you might not have otherwise. When you “return to sender with love,” you begin to notice your body relaxing a little. It’s no longer about you. There’s no offense to be taken.
I’ve been practicing this for almost two months now. And it’s contributed to my overall ability to connect with people from a more heart-centered place. Because I can return these things to their sender, I no longer have to carry the weight of those judgments on my shoulders.
And… I also don’t have to be mad about it when something might otherwise offend my ego.
Because those things… they don’t belong to me. I know who I am, and I am okay with who I am. And in returning those things to sender, I can acknowledge who you are in a way I never could before. Those things that you do that infuriated me before aren’t mine. They’re yours, and I don’t mind that you’re going through that experience. It’s not mine.
My challenge to you is this: I want you to also know what it’s like to Return to Sender with Love. When you find yourself yelling, “Asshole!” at the driver next to you, ask yourself, “Does that belong to me?”
When you hear yourself start to say, “You wanna hear something terrible about your sister?” turn it around to say, “I think I just felt something that doesn’t belong to me.”
And as you watch those judgments fall away from you, as you return those thoughts to the sender, with love… I want you to recognize what does belong to you. I imagine you’ll start seeing yourself in a new light, as a new person filled with a lot more patience and love for the world around you.
If you liked this post, please comment below with your commitment to try to Return to Sender with Love. And as you see your experience changing, I want you to come back and tell us about it. Also, consider liking my Facebook Page and subscribing to this blog so you receive updates when I publish the next blog post (top right corner of this blog).
Here’s another great resource about this process.