One of my greatest life lessons has been cleaning up my energy leaks, so I can be dynamic and enthusiastic enough to passionately pursue the life I crave. After many years of practice and awareness, I now instinctively know when someone is draining my energy. I have a dear friend who talks about the same problem all the time – her brother-in-law has driven her crazy for the past 20 years. I listen quietly (and quickly) because I’ve told her countless times, stop wasting your energy thinking or talking about him. I can relate to her dilemma because I used to be like that – I used to spend countless hours wallowing in my sorrows as I ruminated over the ups and downs of all my relationships. I was moody, depressed and exhausted.
Today, I purposely and consciously don’t focus on people and situations that drive me crazy. Do they still exist? Of course they do! It is the nature of life that there will be people and situations every day that challenge us. What I’ve done, is taught myself not to think or talk about them. I take my energy and focus on work, my writing, exercising, and most importantly, being present for my family. It’s not easy, and some situations can be especially frustrating, but I stay the course. The result? I am calmer, happier and more productive than I’ve ever been in my life.
I’m not trying to figure out why someone gave me the cold shoulder or why someone who was helping me promote my book doesn’t answer my calls anymore. If I start talking about them to my friends or my husband, it doesn’t help. There are no solutions. The conversation goes round and round for days (maybe weeks). In my friend’s situation – 20 years later, she is still talking about the same problem. I want to have positive, constructive conversations with the people around me. Do we have problems? Do we need talk to someone? Definitely – but we keep it brief and stay in the solution. We answer the questions: “What do I need to learn from this situation and how do I move on?
Do I want to be angry and vent sometimes? YES! But now I know to pause and ask myself, “Does this serve me? Is this in line with my commitment to living a positive life?” The answer is almost always no, so I don’t do it. Initially this was difficult, but the more I practice refraining from negative behavior, the easier it becomes. Do people still give me the cold shoulder? Yes, but I don’t get emotional about it. I understand that everything in life isn’t personal. Do I still feel hurt by a relative’s comments? Yes, but I can be calm, centered, breathe and let it go. I won’t ruminate and waste my time. I will pick up a good book or call a supportive friend who has great things going on in her life so I’m distracted and energized by her passion. I follow inspiring people on Facebook and Instagram, so encouraging posts are always at my fingertips. It’s all about practice, patience, persistence, and perseverance as you journey into a more positive, centered life.
So when things happen – and they always do – I take time (very little) to reflect on the situation. I know I always have a part in every interaction because all relationships are 50/50. I forgive myself. I don’t try to analyze what the other person is thinking. I don’t talk about it to anyone (okay, maybe I’ll vent to one person), and I move on. By not spreading my energy all over the place, I was able to write my book, which has been my dream since I was eight years old. I believe from the bottom of my heart that I was able to create my book because I stopped focusing on all the negative, energy draining minutiae around me. By not getting caught up in the drama with friends, family and coworkers, I have a tremendous amount of clarity, focus, energy, confidence and time. I’m free to be me and pursue my passion, which is to write.
What is your passion and are there energy zappers in your life that prevent you from fulfilling your dreams? If so, think about ways to gently shift your thinking, so you can live the life you want. Remember, everything takes practice, patience, perseverance and persistence. I didn’t get to this great place instantly! It took time, but it was the best thing I ever did. I love my life!