Whose is this?
Have you ever walked into a room where there are other people and instantly felt peculiar? Anxious, perhaps, or angry when you‘d been fine just moments before? Assuming that you had no reason to feel threatened by or cross with the people you‘ve just joined, where did this feeling come from? Is it yours? Or is your ‘sixth sense‘ coming into play? Is what you‘re feeling really yours or are you feeling what your companions are feeling, even though they haven‘t expressed it and may not even be consciously aware of having the feeling themselves?
Sound like psycho-babble? Maybe - unless you‘ve experienced it! It‘s an awareness many therapists use a lot in this work. Maybe we‘ll be suddenly overwhelmed by sadness or feel a sense of enormous pressure to provide a solution for someone. Once we‘ve checked that the feeling isn‘t ours (and made a mental note of it if it does belong to us - need to deal with this later, possibly in supervision), it‘s time to explore whether the person we‘re sitting with is experiencing this feeling. Are they struggling with sad feelings they can‘t express? Are they silently begging us to offer an answer to their problem?
I don‘t think we‘re special in having this ability. I think we all have it and that we are a lot more sensitive to others than we give ourselves credit for. It‘s just that we often dismiss the peculiar sensations that we pick up and the thoughts they trigger that seem odd or unjustifiable. I know that, when I‘ve gone with the feeling I get and introduced it gently into the conversation, the result is usually startlingly positive. So, next time you feel or think something unexpected, maybe you can use it to ease someone else‘s discomfort.