Have you heard the phrase ‘Emotions are contagious’?
It’s a fascinating topic. In fact, according to Healthy Driven:
“It’s true, emotions are contagious. Studies suggest that other people’s moods may be as easy to catch as their germs. You can be infected with someone’s happiness — or sadness.
Researchers call this phenomenon emotional contagion (EC), in which one person’s emotions transfer to another. It involves all types of emotions, from angry, sad and fearful to happy, enthusiastic and joyful.”
So what does this have to do with motherhood?
We often discuss traits we learned from our parents and describe how we’ve become like them or have chosen to be different (and, in some cases, the polar opposite).
But instead of saying, ‘My mom is a perfectionist, and it seems I followed in her footsteps,’ you can think about how you may have inherited a deeper level of emotional being from your parents.
One system I enjoy studying is the emotional scale as described by Abraham-Hicks:
- Positive Expectation/Belief
- Overwhelmed (feeling overwhelmed)
And, what does this mean exactly?
Abraham Hicks identifies 22 emotions we tend to experience at any given moment. In much of their work, they identify and suggest ways to move up the emotional scale to higher, more elevated states of being.
Learning that emotions are contagious, where do you fall on the scale?
As parents, we can consider placing attention on who we’re being and not just on the tasks we’re doing.
We can take responsibility for our emotional output and work toward improving our state – especially knowing our emotions are contagious.
And recognize that people in our bandwidth (especially our children) might innocently absorb them.
So, all in all, where do you find you hover on this scale?
I can say that I don’t land very much in the middle but tend to swing from end to end.
And I know from work I’ve done that the women in my family, going way back, suffered from tremendous loss and pain. I’m sure I absorbed that energy of grief and powerlessness along the way.
But thankfully, with the tools I’ve learned, I can usually shift my emotional state to higher levels. (It may take time, but I have strategies that do work!)
Also, many psychological and spiritual resources are available, thankfully, to help us work through whatever needs to be released.
Now take a look at your mother or parents:
In general, looking at the scale above, how would you describe the energy in your home?
And how did that energy affect your emotional setpoint as a child? And how about now?
Our parents and their parents didn’t have the resources that we have available to us today. Many were suffering and felt very alone in their pain.
I find it helpful to acknowledge what I learned from my parents. To accept, and to forgive. This releases me to climb up the scale to move toward joy, appreciation, empowerment, freedom, and love.
I know I’m making this sound way too easy! It’s a lifelong undertaking destined for the bravest of hearts.
But seeing things as they are is a key to understanding where to start. And recognizing you can move forward and aren’t stuck with what you have are vital to experiencing the freedom and joy you deserve.
In summary, science tells us that emotions are contagious.
So instead of focusing on a spotless house, or perfectly behaved children, we can focus on radiating the most positive emotional energy possible. For ourselves, and those all around us.
I know it’s a radically different way of thinking, but I wanted to share.
And it’s food for thought, anyway :-)
Ps: To continue, check out these quotes from Atlas of the Heart.
And check out one of my favorite stories on this blog – a look at the meaning of motherhood reframed.