Life is tough enough with our stress, now you want to throw yours at me too? Oh no.
Let’s walk through a scenario: your day is fine and then you start chatting with someone. They start sharing all of their misfortunes. You try to comfort them, maybe share some of your own, and then slowly the conversation ends. Later on in the day, you realize that you aren’t in the best mood. You’re getting stressed, irritable, and everything is a little harder than it usually is. By the end of the day, you’re dying for a cocktail to take away the stress and you don’t know how your day went from being positive at 9am to a dark hole by 5pm.
This is what happens when people, unknowingly, start throwing their own stress at others. In this situation we can call it stress but we can call it energy, juju, shit, whatever makes sense to you. For me I call it energy. It can take many forms sometimes it’s their happiness, sadness, anger, you name it and it can travel in energy.
It’s important to note that people typically don’t mean to do this. Hopefully someone isn’t looking you in the eye and making a conscious decision to throw their anger all at you.
The Question: How can we guard against this?
The Answer: Recognition, Prevention, Letting Go
The first step is just recognizing that it’s happening. When you’re with someone, pay attention to your reactions to what they are sharing and their presence. Sometimes people do this verbally, other times it’s unconscious.
- How do you feel right now with them?
- How did I feel before?
- Do I feel this way? Or am I feeling their energy? You will recognize your own energy once you pay attention to it. You naturally detect what’s yours and what isn’t.
Once you can recognize the exchange, you can start to manage it. There’s nothing wrong with exchanging energy, we do it all the time. The problem is when 5 hours later, the energy is still holding you down and it’s not even yours!
Preventing this from happening starts with really getting good at recognizing it so you can stop it before it starts. If someone is talking to you and the air in the room is getting thicker and you feel yourself starting to slip out of your current emotional space it’s time to go to work.
You can’t stop someone from doing this, but you can stop it from getting you down. Once you know it’s happening you will naturally listen differently. Their words won’t dig into your space but merely just pass by. When a friend is grieving for example, you can be there for them, listen, console, but still make sure that their grief isn’t sitting in your stomach making you sick the next day. It’s hard, but the reality is that we cannot take grief and pain away from our friends. Instead, we can witness it and be there for them as they process. Plus, if it starts to affect you then you became less capable of being there for them because you start to experience the same trauma.
Now, when you recognize that you are in a mood because of energy that doesn’t belong to you, you can let it go. Remember this is just energy. It’s not an attack on you and it’s not trying to hurt you. So your job isn’t to battle it like a warrior, just recognize it and allow it to go. If you’re into it, send it some love too while you’re at it.
The crazy thing is, half the time, it doesn’t leave because we start to tend to it and make it grow ourselves. Think about it, someone tells you how angry they are, but you weren’t a second ago. Now you’re angry. Now you find something else to be angry about. Then the two grow together. The anger didn’t live in you before, but now you’re helping it to grow! So let’s talk about the letting go. This will look differently for different people. These are some ways I’ve done it.
- Write down the stresser/feeling. Walk into the bathroom. Pull out a lighter. Light that thing on fire and drop it in the sink or toilet. (I don’t have a fireplace clearly, so I make do with what I have.)
- Take a deep breath. Hold it at the top and let it become infused with all of the emotion/energy. Then exhale it out. If you are at your desk or in a crowded space this is sometimes the best route. If you are alone and doing this maybe your exhale becomes more dramatic. Stick your tongue out. Sigh as loudly as possible. Let it allllll out! Do this a few times until you feel it pass. I like to do a nice “lions breath” (If you don’t know what that is, have fun google imaging that) You see why I said to do that part in private?
- Take a second and think about this energy that is sitting with you. Where is it on your body? When you think about it, can you locate a place on your body where it’s living? What does it feel like? Is it warm? Cold? Sit with it. What about now, did it move? Does it feel differently? Sometimes just doing this will allow it to leave your space. The first time I did this was a pretty interesting experience.
- Simply say to yourself “this is not mine, you don’t need to stay with me, you can go.” I probably do this the most because all of the sudden I’ll be going through my day and realize that something I am feeling is not mine. In that moment, I’ll literally stop what I’m doing and go “woah woah woah, that’s not mine! Here’s some love and light, I hope you can see yourself out.” I usually imagine light moving into it at the same time. I don’t want to chase it away but give it light and allow it to find its way out of me
So the next time you start to feel stressed or frustrated take a second and think…is this really mine?
If it’s not yours, then let it go!