Putting Up Emotional Fences… to Keep Our Emotions in Check

white picket fences


I am just finishing up a book by Chief Meteorologist at ABC News, Ginger Zee entitled, Natural Disaster. I Cover Them. I Am One. In this book Ginger is very open about her many struggles, including her depression, suicide attempt and abusive relationships.  I am just amazed at how candid she is about these very personal issues.  I am hopeful now that as mental health and abuse are being more openly discussed, they are losing their stigma of secrecy and shame.

Ginger shared something that is very helpful to her in battling depression (and being sucked into negative relationships). It is something that she learned from her therapist, Dr. Wilson. It’s what she referred to as “putting up a fence”. It is visual imagery that helps one to not take on the feelings of another person. For example, if someone is angry or negative, we have to realize that those are their feelings not ours.  We can empathize with them but we can put up an imaginary fence between us so that their feelings don’t become ours. It helps us to be aware. Everyone is entitled to their own feelings but we don’t have to take on someone else’s to care about that person.

Often times, we could be in a great mood and then someone else comes in who is in a funk and that brings us down as well.  I hate that.  As human beings we often feed off of others emotions.  If we can be aware that we don’t have to let others dictate our feelings in a negative way, it just may help us to stay on a better emotional path. As Ginger mentioned in her book, “stay in your lane.”   That’s right. Stay in your emotional lane. However, if you are the one in the funky mood and someone around you is in an upbeat, positive mood, then I think a lane crossing is a good idea.

Putting up fences or staying in my lane in regards to other’s negative feelings is something I definitely want to work on. I have a tendency of taking on other people’s feelings. I need to recognize that those are their feelings, not mine. This idea seems to be a good one for all of us, to help keep our own mental health in check.

I am going to try to put this into practice in my own life. Moving foward, living fearlessly!



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