I read a quote on Twitter the other day by @Perlkvist: “Giving up can mean you are weak. However, it can also say you are strong enough to let go.”
So I lined them up – five Rubbermaid containers – the big ones – and filled them with all the things that just didn’t work for me anymore; the residua of procrastination and a marriage gone south. I smudged the rooms with sage to banish the negative energy, cleaned the cobwebs from the corners, and read books on Feng shui for the house. I de-cluttered and simplified my life. The qi was definitely moving in the right direction.
Then I’d step out of my cozy little nook and hang out with my friends and I realized I didn’t always have that same great feeling. I found myself avoiding conversations with some and avoiding eye contact with others.
There is a woman I encounter on a daily basis. At first our conversations flowed easily enough, allowing the energy to exchange in a positive way until one day I noticed a slight shift. I can only assume it was because we were becoming friends that this person felt comfortable enough to start unloading the negative suitcases from her baggage cart, but it got to the point where I would ask, “Hey, how’s it going today? Wait. Don’t answer that.” I would steer clear of any verbal triggers that might set her off, taking our conversations spiraling down tunnels I never wanted to go.
And it wasn’t just her. I have more than one Eeyore shuffling their feet around in my orbit, and talking with them – hell, just being with them – is absolutely exhausting. It throws me off balance. After a particularly stressful encounter with one of them, I knew what I had to do…
I had to do some Friendship Feng Shui.
It is my nature to be the peacekeeper, the one who placates people and smoothes ruffled feathers. Being the perpetual optimist, I try extremely hard to find the good in people, but when subjecting myself to their negative qi threatened my sanity, when the relationship used up my precious energy, I had to draw the line.
Delete, delete, delete.
The process was ruthless, painful, and felt absolutely incredible. I even had to inform certain family members that being part of my family was a privilege, not a right, and forcing me to deal with their hang-ups was not an option.
As social creatures we gather for coffee at Starbucks, meet over lunch, and hook up on Twitter and Facebook. We share hobbies, sporting events, and conversations over wine.
Throw into the mix the 40-hour work week (and that includes the job of “Motherhood” that goes on 24/7), social/sporting activities, household responsibilities, and family time. And if you have a hobby or second career going on, that’ll pretty much tap out the well. At this point, an energy budget is just as important as a financial budget. We need to carefully choose where we allow our energy to flow in order to avoid a deficit.
With such a large network of friends and family, we are bound to have one or two in the group who make us want to click the “Block this person” or “Delete” button.
Those are the people my friend, Theresa, labels The Energy Vamps. You know who they are. The chronic complainers. The half-empty-glass people. The ones who insist on bringing the planet and everyone on it down to their level just so they can have guests at their pity party.
It could be in the way they sigh a little too loudly or give us a smile that falls short of genuine. All we know is that by the time we walk away, we need a nap, a double shot of espresso, a double shot of tequila, or at the very least, a week in a decompression chamber.
Any relationship should be mutually beneficial, bringing out the best in us, encouraging us to reach our full potential. It took me awhile to realize that, no, I’m really not that bitchy or impatient. I’m just that way in the presence of some people – the same people who no longer hover in my orbit.
You know that saying: “You can’t fly with the eagles if you’re swimming with the alligators.” Well, look up in the sky…that’s me up there, soaring with my peeps.
So where are you? How do you handle the Energy Vamps in your life? Are you in need of a good Friendship Feng Shui? What is the best part/worst part of cleaning out your friendship closet? Leave a comment! I’d love to know!