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Paying Attention To How Others Make You Feel


About a year ago, I met up with a friend I had not seen in almost a decade. We grabbed a drink and some appetizers at a chilled wine bar. Within 20 minutes, I started to notice a strange sense of anxiety, I could not quite explain it, but this person was bringing out emotions of insecurity and a sense that I wasn’t good enough.


Once I realized the feelings I was having, I was able to take a few deep breaths and repeat a few mantras to myself to get out of that insecure frame of mind. I reminded myself that I was no longer coupled with this person and his opinions and subtle dominant ways had no control over me. I was in a completely different place in my life 10 years later.


While doing some research on this topic, I learned there is a term for how other people make you feel, it is called Active Presence. I talk about this more in episode 15 of the best self-help podcast, Feisty Mermaids. The idea that certain people elicit certain emotions in those they interact with is something psychologists call active presence.


This may help explain why when certain people walk in the room they can make everyone feel at ease or or the opposite, raise anxiety and fear.


As I apply this knowledge to my life and the interactions I have with people, I realize some people make me feel good and I leave my interactions with them feeling happy, relaxed or filled with enthusiasm. But often, tuning in to how others make me feel allows me to see the stress, anxiety, sadness and anger others make me feel. This in turn allows me to assess how much time I want to spend with them.


Paying attention to how others make me feel has become part of my tool set when spending time with anyone. I now make it a point to check-in with myself during an interaction and just ask myself, “how are you feeling right now?”


This simple action allows me to check-in and simply be mindful.


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