This is a multi-billion dollar question and one I have asked myself a lot lately. My conclusion is yes you can and it is possible to feel someone else’s energy of feelings, (i’m guessing you believe it too or wouldn’t be asking the question) depending on your own personality and perhaps soul characteristics and intuitive gifts, that said, how do you know this is what is happening?
I am reminded of a saying I love: “Who you are, speaks so loudly I can hardly hear what you are saying”.
Clairsentience s is a thing I have recently come to learn about and has been illuminating for me see Clairsentience for more info on this. Differs from empathy | Definition of empathy in English by Oxford Dictionaries.
I am not sure that I can say any more on the subject than has already been said to well below. What I do know from personal experience is that it can be very confusing and even quite damaging if we as people who do tend to pick up the vibrations and energies of those around us, are not aware of what is happening and are experiencing negative emotions frequently as a result of someone else’s energetic status. Anxiety, sadness, fear and the like, feelings that may be normal but perhaps not to such a great extent as we might be experiencing.
I have found that this has been occurring with me more and more frequently and very overwhelmingly, increased feelings of anxiety, uselessness, fear, low self-confidence and lack of motivation all in the extreme. These are all feelings that I am used to as a now reformed addict, back in the day I could easily lose myself in all of these and have worked hard to get myself into a more positive space and more self-aware.
I met someone and we moved in together and I began experiencing all of these overwhelming feelings and emotions again, initially I thought it was all just previous patterns of behaviour and mindset needing a good kick up the ass, after more suffering and beginning to struggle to get up in the mornings (Which I have always loved) I began to think perhaps it was the colder weather of a new country, and then as I became more aware of the presence of energies around me and the possibility that spirits and so on existed, I thought maybe it had something to do with the house I was in, old spirits and the like.
Still it persisted and through much personal work and time spent away not only from the house but the person I am with, I feel myself getting stronger and more clear-headed, leading me to the conclusion that what is happening is I am taking on their feelings obviously it seems, although this is still somewhat of an “out there” prospect in that “surely it can’t be, I am responsible for my own feelings aren’t I” sort of way.
The worst part is everything is getting affected, my self- esteem, motivation, imagination, everything. Finance and health began decreasing due to low energy on my part and was proving a lot harder to pick up again and maintain, the worst part is that the person I think it is, the only person it could be, is someone I want to and do love and is not a bad person but is also extremely unaware and in denial of the prospect that their underlying energies are even their never mind-affecting me to this extent.
My drug-fueled past and predilection to “stinking thinking” and low emotions in the past has made me question my own logic in excess, not wanting to believe my instinct or knowing how to easily distinguish between what might be my gut instinct and my head telling me shit that ain’t true. This, after all, is a bit of an esoteric, therefore slightly intangible concept.
Now, perhaps this is a too extreme circumstance, and perhaps I am still imagining all of this, and I am pretty sure that up to this point this did not answer your question in a way which was intended when you asked it, but thank you for asking it none the less and thanks for the great answers and suggestions below. I too identify with being a child who was overwhelmed by this occurrence in my youth.
If there was a way to perhaps know if you were feeling someone else’s feelings it might be to:
1-Make a decision that this is something you want to do and become aware of.
2- Start to know and become more aware of your own feelings and emotions, ie: where are they in your body, what are you feeling where when you are experiencing which feeling you think it is that you are feeling.
3-What are the things that are triggering your emotional and feeling responses and which responses are being triggered by what.
4-Meditate, as mentioned below, definitely spend time meditating, centring and grounding yourself helps to increase self-awareness immensely. No doubt you will need to spend time getting to grips with what exactly is going on for you and when it is happening, meditation is effectively a filter cleaner, allowing you to reset yourself and begin again with hopefully a cleaner emotional slate so to speak and a clearer head, helping you to become more discerning in your endeavour to observe not only your own feelings but also those you may be feeling that doesn’t belong to you.
5- Stay aware when coming into contact with others and begin to critically observe with your intention in mind.
6-Once you are able to discern more of what is going on around you emotionally, decide what you are going to do about it. Bearing in mind that the only reason feeling someone else’s feelings could be of concern is if you perceive them as negative and harmful, remember you will feel good feelings too if this is really the case, as humans, we tend not to bother too much about feeling those without knowing it and just go with the flow, weird huh! Therefore it is only perceived negative emotions you won’t like feeling, so what do you do, stop hanging around the person or friend?
7- Continue your own learning into yourself, what you are feeling and awareness of what is going on around you and your impact on the world. Get stronger!
8-Take responsibility. When we know better we do better. Knowing what you know and learning what you will learn if this really is the case and you are picking up others feelings and energies, you are now not only responsible for your feelings but also the fact that you feel the feelings of others. With great power comes great responsibility and all that.
*It might not help approaching someone who’s negative emotions you believe you are feeling and ask them about it, most people are not consciously aware of underlying negative emotions and their impact on those around them, or they are and suppress them and certainly won’t be admitting them to you if this is the case. Therefore asking them in the hopes for your own validation while learning all this about yourself may only cause greater confusion and cause you to question yourself if they vehemently deny it.
The good news is once you become aware of it and manage to appropriate some of your own essential resilience techniques, you should be well on your way and not need to ask the question again.