How do others affect us?

As a counselor, I am very aware that we are all affected by others.  Some of us are more affected and some of us are less affected, but we are all affected in some way by others.  Sometimes, I am not aware of how people are affecting me because I am not taking the time to pay attention to what is going on around me.

Recently, I made a trip to a local casino in order to observe how people were behaving in that environment.  While I went looking for how others are affected, I left with a better understanding of how others were affecting me.

Now if you have read any of my blogs, you may have noticed that I try to focus on the positive and limit the negative emotions that I put out.  While I was sitting a machine, a lady came and sat next to me and was very pleasant.  Well, at first.  She was playing the machine next to mine and it was doing nothing.  She kept trying ad nothing was happening. My machine was giving me some bonuses and kept me playing.  After a few minutes, I noticed that I was starting to get antsy.  I didn’t really know why at first.  I just felt uncomfortable. I finally glanced to the lady, who was being very quiet, and noticed the look on her face and her posture was very tight.  When she saw me looking her way, she politely commented that I was doing better than her, but I still felt uncomfortable.  I suggested that she try another machine and her reply was, “This machine is going to give me back my money.”  She was very quiet, but clearly very angry/upset/not feeling positive.

A few moments later, I got up and left.  Once I went elsewhere, I noticed that I began to feel better.  I sat down in another area, next to a lady who was already there and she was very pleasant and said she wasn’t really getting much, but it was ok because she was there to have fun.  We had a very pleasant exchange and eventually, she got up and left.  Within a few moments, a gentleman came and sat down and said nothing.  His demeanor was very tense and after a few more minutes, I started to feel tense.  So I got up and moved again.

Now the reason I was there was to observe others and see how the casino environment affected them.  I did make some notes about that (that’s another blog), but I was surprised to find how affected I was by the people around me, who I didn’t know and probably will never see again!  I believe we all have these types of experiences, but we are so used to them that we don’t pay attention.

The next time you are out somewhere, pay attention and see if you notice that you are emotionally impacted by people around you.  Sometimes we suddenly feel different and we don’t even know why.  Is it possible that it’s because you are in close proximity to someone who is in a “bad” mood or negative state of mind and it’s affecting you?  Or the flip side, you’re not in a very good mood, but you start to suddenly feel better.  Something to think about because once we are more aware, we are more able to make it different!

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