A really big, important “Ah-ha” happened for me this week. I had several experiences with different people where I became acutely aware of the energy they were conveying during our interaction. Fortunately, most were quite positive, and I left the interaction feeling light and optimistic. But there were a few instances when I engaged with someone who brought along extreme negativity and cynicism. It was at those times that I could feel myself wanting to flee in order to avoid having any of that stick to me. (The lead up to last Tuesday’s elections probably primed the pump for me to be sensitized to this)
Do you ever stop to think how you feel after being exposed to different kinds of energy? My ‘ah-ha’ came when I started seeing myself as a big old energy sponge, taking in whatever was swirling around me. Some good, some awful, the usual stuff. (And to my four children who I believe are a lot like their mom here, “Sorry’ and “You’re welcome”) I think this is ultimately a really good thing – if we are aware that it is actually happening. Because, as my wise mentor coach Dan Newby says quite regularly, “Awareness positions you to have choices about how to act.”
If you were to scan your environment, what or who would bring the kind of energy you want or don’t want to your life? I know for me, I can’t watch movies or read books that are violent or sad. Some may call that wimpy or boring, but I see it as an act of self care because I do not like how those things make me feel. The emotional angst often stays with me for days and I figure there’s enough distressing news and events that I can’t prevent myself from seeing, why would I actively seek out more? My goal is to move about in this world with a greater sense of ‘ease’, so I am trying to minimize those times when the emotional/energetic pendulum swings too far in either direction.
What would happen if we intentionally avoided our exposure to toxic people and images? We can’t avoid all jerks, but we probably have more choices than we think when it comes to who we spend our precious time here on earth with. At the very least, if we find ourselves having to spend time with someone who is consistently negative, anxious, indignant, etc., WE DON’T ENCOURAGE THEM to keep behaving that way by tolerating it silently! We can make a choice to shift the conversation or end it altogether, change the channel, let the newspaper know you dislike what they are putting out,…
I’d like you to try a little experiment this week. Periodically throughout your day, stop and take note (and I mean write it down) of how you felt and reacted when interacting with the world – people, images, thoughts, experiences. See if any patterns arise. Did your response to negative energy involve focusing on your breath? Taking a walk? Drinking a glass or two or more of wine? Some responses are better for us in the long run than others. Once you become aware of what triggers feelings in you that are uncomfortable, you can begin to make thoughtful choices that put you in the best position to live a centered life, a goal that I believe all of us have.