Feng Shui – It’s Not Just for Rooms Anymore

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.”

The first step...Photo: Epinions.com

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.

"Wanna hear how my day is going?" just-pooh.com

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.

Photo: rlrouse.com

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!

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About Diana Murdock

California-grown, writer of contemporary and YA paranormal with enough energy to write, raise two boys, run, and dream.

Posted on August 10, 2011, in Friendships, Personal, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Oh yeah…the energy suckers. I knew those guys and gave them each the boot. One by one we parted ways. I kept a few because I love them too, like the old friend who emits a veritable sandstorm of doom and gloom but also does the most unlikely and surprisingly generous gestures. The family ones are harder to strip away from your orbit, but sometimes a spin on their trajectory sends them spiraling off toward another relative (Ha! Sorry cousin).

    I love the idea of an energy budget – and I think it’s so true. My life is very busy but it’s manageable also. I fit in everything that I feel like I need and want to, but when something has to give, I let it. You learn that too, grasshopper.

    Now I need to go look at David Carradine….warped associative recall.

  2. You are so right! I had to stop seeing a couple of people who would download on me all their problems. But they never made any effort to change what was causing the problem. It was the same thing every conversation.

    I’ve loved meeting the people in our workshop and on twitter.

  3. Love this post! It reminds me of a book by James Fowler about the psychology of human development and the quest for meaning. He says it’s perfectly natural as you go through stages of life, you gain self-awareness. As you understand yourself more, you make changes to things/situations/people around you.
    In my book, negative people are a no go. Even \worse than ones who dump all their problems on you (without even asking about your life) are the ones who rain on your parade. I get rid of all naysayers. Especially important if you are a writer.
    Diana, sounds to me like you are evolving. Good for you!

  4. I had to clean my closet too and some were family members and some friends I had for years. Work is even harder to do because you have to see these people every day. Visualize a mirror around you in 360 degrees facing out. When these people come near, visualize the negativity they want to send to you, deflecting back to them with love. This is a mirror of protection. At the end of the day, when you take your shower, visualize the shower rinsing away the negativity that may have attached to you from other people. You may even see faces going down the drain as you visualize this. See these faces and let them go with love. The water is cleansing you of the negativity and restoring you back to who you are inside. These techniques were taught at a recent workshop I went to and work wonderfully. You can also protect yourself with a white light around you as well. Great Blog Diana. I’m proud of you.

  5. Oh my…well said cousin! From one Energy Snob to another, BRAVO baby mama…BRAVO! In the past 3 years, I have cleaned out my “orbit” (as you so perfectly worded it), from all the energy suckers that were in my life…most of them family. It is not as hard as it seems, and not as heartless as it may sound. I can’t tell you how freeing and empowering it is to rid your life from the toxic people in your life, including family members.

    A friend once told me long ago…”Be selective with your heart.” It took me so many years to learn the true meaning of being selective because to actually be selective, one must have the strength to let go of things in the past and people who are not beneficial to your spirit. That means getting rid of family drama that has no purpose in your life.

    “I would rather be loathed for who I am than loved for who I am not.” ~Wayne Dyer

  6. Great post Diana and bravo to you for taking on the challenge of de-cluttering your life in every way. Keep soaring!

  7. “Be selective with your heart” I wish I’d had that advice years ago. Still, learning to let energy suckers go is such a valuable lesson for everyone. I’m still trying to cut the strings of a few grasping family members. I also love what Diana said, being a part of my family is a privilege. If someone doesn’t want to change, that’s their deal, but we shouldn’t have to be the ones to always hear them complain about it.
    Thanks for the post, very insightful and got me thinking about my own feng shui…

  8. Another fantastic post. I personally try hard to not BE one. LOL. I think we all battle with those people in our lives. Cleaning out the friendship closet has often enabled me to invest more time in those people that are uplifting and energizing which is nice. But it’s hard because hurting someone or letting someone down is never easy. As a fellow peace keeper, cutting friendship ties is seriously tough but liberating. In other cases, a shift in the amount of time invested in the friendship was enough to alleviate the drain. Although I think I still have a few friendships that could use some Feng Shui tweaking.

  9. Diana, you’ve managed to put into words some very important concepts. I’ve been caught in friendships before that drained the energy out of me, and it’s very hard to let go.

    Thanks for this.

  10. Excellent post; thought-provoking as always. I’ve been very fortunate to have had very few energy vamp/pseudo friends in my life. In fact, I have to say that I’m blessed with a handful of solid friends who give me joy and fulfillment. However, the one vamp I have had for a long time – for varied and complex reasons – has consistently given me the greatest challenge in setting emotional boundaries. I was talking to a good friend about this and we decided I need to mentally install 1) 20-foot-high barbed wire fencing, 2) perimeter explosives, and 3) Shitzu guard dogs. What would I do without friend-induced laughter?

  11. I love, Love, LOVE this post! Everything you said is right on…my husband and I both live by the strict rule of “privilege” not a “right”…especially when it comes to family, because certain members always seem to think that DNA is their pass to crap all over you.

    Two thumbs way, WAY up!

    ~ Kate

  12. I like the Feng Shui analogy; it’s very accurate. I’ve heard those type of people called “emotionally draining people.” I also completely agree with you that being “family” in the real, connected sense is a privilege, not a right.

  13. This is so very, very true. For some reason, I always attract people with issues and troubles. Granted, I think this is because I’m usually super nice, and I’m willing to listen to people talk about their problems and to offer advice. I’ve had to learn how to hold back and to not give so much of my emotions, time, and energy until people have proven themselves worthy (i.e., NOT crazy psychos), and I’ve also had to trim down on my friend list to get rid of those people who are selfish and draining.

    Excellent post!

  14. I like how you describe yourself: “the peacekeeper”. Maybe because of that people sense they can open up to you. And, unfortunately, they often unload “the sad and nasty”. You’re right, “a delete” button is a must in such encounters. Over the years I’ve developed that kind of a button too and now I carry it with my everywhere.

  15. “Emotional vampires!” Oh yes, quite familiar with those types. I’m a person who is a loyal friend and will try to help out, give support and advice. I’ve had to learn the hard way that there are people who will take advantage of that and folks (like family as someone else mentioned) that will think they have a right to do so.

    There are also people who exist in worlds they don’t want to leave no matter how bad they keep telling you they do. Someone once gave me the example that you can give a person everything they need to leave…the car, the keys, gas in the tank, directions with map, new tires, daylight to see…but you can’t make them drive.

    As for the energy suckers, I’ve got an internal buzzer button for when I hear the muck start and a mental sliding glass door that I’m not afraid to shut on them so their mess cannot invade and disrupt my space. Great post Diana!

  16. Oh. My.

    Thank you for this post. It’s so appropriate for the week I’ve had! Sometimes you just have to cut the cord. Doing so can set you up for a whole lot of backlash in the form of “you are a mean, selfish, horrible person!”, but it’s the only way to save your sanity.

    And I kind of think that I’m not doing anyone any favors by accepting invitations to the pity party. Letting people get away with Energy Vampirism gives them what they want–which encourages them to continue the negative behaviors. And those negative behaviors are hurting them as much as they hurt me and everyone else. Maybe in a way, cutting the cord is a kind of tough love. No more enabling. The process is painful, but oh it feels so good when it’s done!

    My biggest challenge now is learning to recognize the warning signs–and put up the boundaries as soon as I see them.

    I love the way you compare the process to Feng Shui. It’s a great analogy. Again, thanks for the post!

  1. Pingback: I am gushing. I am blushing. I am blown away….and I am sharing the luv! | Natalie Hartford

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