If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the trials and tribulations of the past several years, it’s that life will bring you what you make room for. And will meet you where you are.
We are all responsible for the energy we bring to—you name it—a dinner table, a party, a meeting, life. I think more and more of us understand this and try to bring our best selves, wherever we are in our journey. Maybe that’s the Pollyanna in me, but I’d like to think more of us are heading toward enlightenment than not.
Most of us can own the energy we bring. Are you the screaming meanie in your family, berating those around you for not serving your every need? Own it. Start where you are. Make it better. For many of us, this is not easy, but it’s a concept we can easily digest.
The difficulty comes in realizing that some of those around you don’t deserve to be at your table—your party—your meeting—your life–because the energy they bring takes you nowhere good.
Some may suck you into a huge negative vortex. Those are usually easy to spot.
But it’s the others that are sometimes hard to identify. The ones who instead of supporting, envy you or get their subtle digs in. The person who points out all the negative you still have to deal with—how far you have to go—rather than helping you celebrate the baby steps you continue to take against a tidal wave of to-dos. The artificial smilers—“Oh, we simply MUST have you over for dinner soon”—whose lip service does nothing but remind you of how insincere they really are.
These are what I like to call tolerations. And they’ll suck you bone dry, bit by bit, over time. Not only that, by continuing to make room for them, you lose out on a better present. By not accepting that perhaps your paths should no longer cross, you’re keeping your life full–full of less than ideal energy. Perhaps if you made a little room in said life, those who are meant to support you and celebrate you at this time would find their way to you. And vice versa.
It takes energy to meet the people in our lives. If yours is eye level, but you must meet them at knee level, guess whose energy takes a nosedive? Guess who is depleted when that interaction is done?
I’ve come to apply this principle to most areas of my life. It’s harder than I thought. But schools, grocers, coworkers, cleaning people—all matter. You think your five-minute interaction means nothing, but energy is exchanged. And the more of those interactions you have per day where you are at a deficit, the more likely you are to be cranky and exhausted at the end of a day. Who you deal with matters. Period.
Not every relationship is meant to last. This is hard for some of us to accept. Not every family is meant to be close. Not every friend is for life. And while these words may roll off of our tongues, the actual acceptance of a closed door is tough. Chances are, if you’ve communicated to someone and the situation has not changed, his or her lessons aren’t going to be provided by you. You need to release them to learn what they need to learn elsewhere. Misery with a purpose is bad enough to endure—but misery without a purpose? Ugh. Not for me.
When we whittle away at our tolerations, we find an amazing store of energy. A lightness of being may return. There may be sadness, sure, but also—relief. Usually. And instead of a list of tolerations running through our heads before we go to sleep or at the red light, we begin to feel gratitude for the wonderful beings that surround us.
And they will. Oh, they will. We just have to make room.
18 Comments Add yours
I need this in needlepoint hanging on every room in my house as a reminder.
Like you, I believe more are headed toward enlightenment than not but I do tend to the Pollyanna perspective. suspect. Let’s hope we got this one covered….
That said, letting go of relationships that no longer serve is so difficult. I have a tendency to think something will change when my heart assures it will not. For me, better a single moment of loss than more moments of being shown over and over that I have not believed what that relationship really is about.
Great post, Kay.
Very thought-provoking Kay. Although I generally treat everyone with respect and courtesy, that comment about every interaction mattering has really made me think about the effect I ha ve in even the briefest encounters.
Have you been sitting around the corner? You just nailed my last few months to a tee.
I’ve finally come to realize that, like you said, not every relationship is meant to last. Even if it’s family. It’s tough to swallow because I want everything and everybody to be happy and like me and just get along.
But then I’m drained. And I am exhausted. Because I allowed that.
This could not have come on a better day for me.
You have no idea what these words mean.
You are simply perfection. =) Thank you.
Kismet at work is a beautiful thing:).
Great post, as usual.
If you come out of a matrix (family of origin, lousy first marriage, crummy friendships) you may take a while to realize — I actually have choices! It took me a very long time (and it was painful) to finally confront 3 women friends whose energy (negativity, defa ear, entitlement) was making me unhappy. I did not do this lightly and I really hoped we would talk candidly and go on. Nope. All 3 dropped me like a hot potato, one after a decade of a lot of closeness. Guess it wasn’t so close after all.
I have a new friend who is so funny and bubbly (but not saccharine.) You have to deadhead the garden to see/grow some new blooms.
It’s one of the things many of us women don’t do well–take candid input and deal with it. I so value my friends who have a strong enough self image not to wilt at candid talk. And I must say, I’ve refrained many times from saying things because I was afraid of just what happened to you. And yet, life brings you the new–and the more real. Love that you’ve found a new bloom:).
You explain it well.
Canadians are very slow to warm up to friendship compared to “real friendly” Americans but I am still friends with some people there after 30 years. Not here. People seem to discard one another with hasty abandon. I don’t like it much.
But, yes, glad to have some new friends I can be honest with.
These days I have no tolerance for energy vampires or people that I have to tolerate. I also have a butt ton more peace inside, so when I have to deal with these people it doesn’t nearly get to me like it used to. And yes, I completely agree that we are responsible for the energy we bring. What’s been fascinating me lately is when I see a person who lives in a total victim mode: they don’t understand that they attract what they put out, and don’t know that they can change what comes to them. Very thoughtful piece! I love ones like this.
Another great read. Thanks
Sent from my iPhone
Again – yes! I have been working on this inner and outer work that you describe so articulately for many years now. And, you are right, it is all so much more difficult than it sounds but eventually and inevitably we find ourselves truly moving toward a more peaceful, meaningful and authentic life. You describe what needs to be described.
I love this. So, so true. Hard to do but worth it. Thank you so much. xox
Wow, this could have been written just for me. How’d you know:) The description of the negative energy vortex is something I’ve actually described out loud about certain people in my life. And then there are others who seem to lift us up effortlessly just by their presence. But you’re right….it is so difficult to pull the plug when the energy suckers are integral parts of your life.
Who can disagree Kay. Very well elucidated. We generally grow happier as we grow older, wiser and better at decision-making. It’s much more difficult to step back and make good choices for a young person trying to find their way in a career, in relationships etc.
I am in this place of complicated choice; navigating difficult personalities using my self-worth to guide decisions meant to empower and inform healthier expectations. Well said, Kay.
I LOVE this post. As a long time energy worker and Healing Touch instructor, your post addresses part of what I have tried to teach, both in the classroom and in everyday life. Every single interaction we have with others is significant. For the most part, we never see the ripple effect. And it’s important to not be attached to the outcome, to just be the best we can be, every day and every moment. That’s not always possible, but we can try. And the more we practice, the better we get.
Enlightening lesson, Kay. Energy-sappers are just awful in life, and when they are so close to you that it seems like they’re hooked up by an IV … Oy.
I love your term tolerations, and the image of whittling your life’s structure down to relationships that build, not diminish. Great column here, Kay.