“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.”
“I don’t believe you,” I jutted out my chin like a petulant toddler. Collapsing back into the tufted leather loveseat, I conceded, “I want to believe you, but I can’t.”
My therapist had just explained to me that I am not responsible for regulating other people’s emotions. My mind couldn’t process this truth.
There were too many decades of owning the moods of those around me.
In my younger years, if a parent was stressed, I felt it was up to me to calm them down. I prided myself on acting as a mediator between my siblings.
In high school, I drove my boyfriend crazy trying to cheer him up when he was in pain from frequent sports injuries. Later, I would allow other boyfriends to dictate how I was feeling each day, according to their mood.
And here my therapist was pointing out that it wasn’t up to me to help other people regulate their emotions. I had been doing it wrong all these years.