Emotional Sponge : How to NOT Soak Emotions

What is an Emotional Sponge? How can you stop soaking other people’s emotions? A meaty post on how can you cope, both spiritually and psychologically.

Empathy is a term that’s being going around a lot lately, along with its side-effect, “emotional sponge”. I can explain it best by a personal experience.

This will be both a spiritual (energy) and psychological investigation into the phenomenon. Keep reading!

I recently got into the morning practice of clearing my energy. The results are so amazing, that for hours to follow, I continue to feel very light and peaceful. You can read about the 5 ways I maintain my mood, everyday.

But one morning, I made the mistake of checking my phone too soon.
Phone, Female, Lady, Black, African, Text, Chat

I had received a message from an anxious and flustered friend, that was dealing with a problem. Though my friend is sensible and was only bouncing the problem to get a second opinion, I immediately felt heavier. I was annoyed and angry too, now.

I became an emotional sponge. In other words, I was so empathic towards the person’s problems, I absorbed some of their emotions. And then, made them my own!

I immediately became alert and stirred by what had happened, because the dip in energy level was significant. So this time, it didn’t go undetected. And, I was able to look at it from a more conscious and critical view.

This is where psychology pops in to say hello! We have just experienced a sign of an unhealthy Emotional Boundary.

In being the good listener, I am holding TOO much space. And as a consequence, it is getting into my own space.

Face, Head, Empathy, Meet, Sensitivity, Emotional Sponge

Ofcourse I never write without solutions, so here it comes.

In dealing with other people’s problems, we need to create a safe space for ourselves to comfortably listen from. And remind ourselves mentally that we can remain detached and still help others.

Detachment being the key word, lets walk our way back to the spiritual side.

Detachment means to be able to hear a problem, then foresee a better outcome, without being shaken by the problem itself. It means operating from a higher frequency.

This, thus, means always choosing a higher frequency until it becomes second nature – that I am AWARE I am able to make this choice freely and voluntarily every time.

What are these frequencies I am talking about?

I love the Nicheren Buddhism philosophy that suggests, each being holds 10 different states of mind within themselves. These are called the Ten Worlds.

It is believed that our behaviour fluctuates between each of these states. Well, it fluctuates as long as we are unconscious and operating on auto-pilot. But we can choose the frequency by repeatedly staying aware and growing gentle in our ‘reaction’ in situations.

The Ten Worlds are, in ascending order of the degree of free will, compassion and happiness one feels, the worlds of: (1) hell, (2) hungry spirits, (3) animals, (4) asuras, (5) human beings (6) heavenly beings, (7) voice-hearers, (8) cause-awakened ones, (9) bodhisattvas, and (10) Buddhas.

As explained on the Sokka Gakkai website

Operating from higher frequencies becomes our way to experience detachment.

But how can we still be compassionate, if we are detached?
Empathy, Person, Human Waves, Compassion

True compassion can be understood when we hear stories of enlightened Masters such as the Buddha that would become teary-eyed in seeing another’s pain, in seeing the plight of the world around.

Compassion may not necessarily mean attachment – it means sometimes, to be able to experience the emotion by letting it pass through you. What does that mean? It means not holding back, understanding that is a byproduct of humanness and simply holding the space for yourself to process the emotion out of your system.

Yet at the same time, we are staying rooted in the knowing, that we are not the emotions we are experiencing and that we are holding space for another person to share their load.

This led me to think – is THIS why we feel better when we share our problems? Because we literally share our problem?
Empathy, Head, Brain, Wave, Compassion, Emotional Sponge

I don’t want this talk about emotional sponge to scare the empaths of the world. I want all this to empower you, by showing you that yes, you are a being of great capacity, that has immense love and care. The skills that you need to work on now, are detachment and healthy emotional boundaries.

All the empaths reading this, give me a holler and let me know if this changes things for you! πŸ™‚


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42 thoughts on “Emotional Sponge : How to NOT Soak Emotions”

    1. Yup that’s what the post talks about, being aware of these emotions so they can be managed gracefully 😊

  1. Great article. I think many people, myself included, have a bit of a struggle finding the balance of the two. I’m sure the more we learn about ourselves and the more we focus on what we need the easier it becomes.

    1. YES! And it gets easier with time, we only need to shift our attention towards this lesson at hand πŸ™‚ Hugs!

  2. I know this so well. Sometimes I become too involved with my bestfriends problems, it drains me–so I’ve learned to detach. Sometimes I just refuse to open my phone, so I can focus on work instead of her problems.
    Some people can really be quite draining. I love my bestfriend but she can be quite heavy sometimes so I have to develop a means to protect myself.

    1. Aw, I can feel every word of this. More power to you for holding space for your best friend, whilst setting healthier boundaries for yourself! An exemplary display of what I was talking about in this post – detached compassion. πŸ™ŒπŸ’•

    1. Haha, there’s always room for a little more self-realization, whatever be our emotional situation. Thanks Jimmy!

    1. Hehe, we’re like pendulums! We ultimately do learn to find the balance. Which is what this post is about – how to attain detached compassion. Hope the second half will answer your question πŸ’•

  3. High five! I’m an empath too and absorbed other people’s emotions easily which causes me emotional tiredness. Practicing detachment is the key.

  4. I am a Leo and man I feel like my emotions are always so over place, I appreciate you writing this. It takes so much to be really in tune with what is going on with your emotions AND to be able to put it into words.

    1. Aw, bless! Emotional sensitivity is a blessing in disguise, as soon as we learn to handle it better, we’re already so much more compassionate than the rest of the world that’s still getting there. πŸ™‚

  5. If someone asks too much of you, politely tell them “no.” It’s not necessary to explain why. As the saying goes, “No is a complete sentence.”

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