What kind of energy do you surround yourself with?
Sep 20, 2017 | By: Ronette Parker
How are you feeling? Right, this minute? What brought these feelings on? A situation with a partner, your child's attitude, a friend, your boss? How did you handle the situation? Did it make it better or worse?
Ok, enough of the twenty questions! But so much of how our days go relies heavily on how we approach situations and whom we surround ourselves with. How we feel when our heads hit our pillow has so much to do with the energy that we put ourselves in contact with that it’s worth exploring to see how we all can adjust our attention and make sure we aren’t being depleted by our surroundings. How many times have you gone into a large group of people and found that your energy was depleted after? I don’t think we realize just how much we adjust our energy levels throughout the day to accommodate others. As a Special Education Teacher, I did this so many times a day that by the end I was completely exhausted and had nothing left over for my loved ones. There are things in our environment that are out of our control, but there is a lot that is in our control to help us make sure that we are keeping some of our energy on reserve for ourselves.
Do you have people around you that seem like no matter what the situation they can find something to complain about? That even if something amazing happened they would figure out how to drag a black cloud over the situation. Whether this is a partner, family member, friend, co-worker it has the ability to impact how your energy flows in a situation. Have you even wanted to share something that was really exciting to you with someone and they found fault in your excitement? How did that make you feel? I had a friend that was like that character Debbie Downer on Saturday Night Live. Every time someone had something exciting going she would give a play by play on why they “shouldn’t” be happy. Eventually, I realized two reasons (besides her being a buzz kill!) that it bothered me; 1.) Who likes to live in the shadows of happiness while waiting for the other shoe to drop, and 2.) Who wants to be told what they “should” or “shouldn’t” do all the time? There’s a saying out there, “Don’t should on yourself and don’t should on someone else”, which basically means don’t beat yourself up for what has happened and mind your own business when it comes to someone else's life. It would be so easy to say, “Yes! It’s them! They are the problem!”, but the question that begs to be asked is what are we doing that shows that this behavior is acceptable? But what if someone has been doing this around you for years, is it possible to have them pump the breaks and approach you a new way?
Now I don’t want to sound all hippy girl on you (but I will cause that’s sort of my thing) but I am a firm believer that we create what is around us. And not only do we create it, but we teach people how to treat us. I have seen people create amazing situations for themselves, as well as horrid ones, and it all starts with energy. Where we place our energy is where we are going to manifest what we are focusing on. So what does this mean in terms of whom we surround ourselves with and that energy? Think of your energy as a sort of like an invisible bubble around you. If you are continually letting a person, or multiple people, in that bubble that is negative that is undoubtedly affecting your state of mind. And with all we have going on these days, especially as parents, can we really afford to take on someone else's negativity? No! You are supposed to be yelling, “No, Ronnie, No! We cannot afford that!” Good! Then how do we combat it while keeping our cool and maintaining these relationships?
1.) Be ok with saying no. No is a full sentence. No explanation or excuse required. If a friend wants to get together and complain (for the millionth time) about their crappy boss and you just can’t foresee yourself being able to rally the brain power to listen to the broken record then it’s ok to say no. If pushed you can decide your comfort level with telling them why in a gentle way. I’ve used, “You know, this problem keeps coming up. We’ve talked about it many times, have you tried to find a solution?” Or, for someone who isn’t getting it, “It seems like we talk about this problem every time we get together, I’m a little tapped out on it. If you’d like to talk about solutions I’d love to help you.”
2.) Remember the “should” and “shouldn’t” people I talked about? And, to be honest, we can ALL be those people at one time or another. Well, why not stop that before it even has a chance to start? It’s ok to start the conversation with, “I have this problem and I would really like it if you could just listen.” More times than not someone is telling you what to do because they see you struggling and want to take that pain and frustration away for you. Letting someone know you just need an ear (and maybe a shoulder to cry on) and not a solution yet is helpful for you and them.
3.) About 6 months ago I was contacted via text by a friend. “I think my husband has a girlfriend” was all she wrote. Now, usually, I would pick up the phone and see how I could help but this friend is notorious for doing the “bomb drop and walk”. I call it this because she will text me every few months and drop some big, unsettling piece of news, and then disappear when I try to reach out. This created a lot of anxiety for me and then frustration. This time I was going through a very difficult time in my life and realized this was not something I wanted to give my energy to. I decided to let her know gently by saying, “I’m so sorry this is happening, I hope you find out it’s not true. Unfortunately, I have a lot going on right now that is taking up all my energy so I’m not going to be available to help you with this problem right now. I’ll check back in with you to see how you're doing soon.” I was nervous about this but decided that self-preservation is something I need to work on so I sent it. She said ok and by the time I checked in with her a few weeks later she was on to the next big problem she was having (oh, and her husband wasn’t having an affair!).
4.) Avoiding that energy altogether. You got it, like now way get outta my space! Maybe you want to make big changes and decide that your standing up for yourself and your energy and not letting these people share your space at all! Well done! How are you going to keep those boundaries up? Sometimes keeping these people at bay is the best solution, just make sure you are able to do it in a way that shows you are advocating for yourself, not just bobbing and weaving to avoid them!
Whatever your solution is always to keep this in mind; if you continually feel depleted after an interaction with someone then that is a big red flag in your self-care. If someone is showing up and is draining you then you will know what to do. We each teach people how to treat us, so let's make sure we set our currency before they do. Have a great week! Shine On! Ronette Parker ABA