Every day we are surrounded by energy suckers. If someone leaves you feeling depleted or mistreated, even anxious long after the interaction you’ve likely encountered an energy sucker. It can be as simple as a snarky text or a disagreement with your friend, but that icky energy sticks with you and can suck the confidence out of you faster than a Dyson vacuum if you’re not careful. These people can negatively influence the way you think, feel, and behave. They can introduce unnecessary stress into your life, and cause chaos that will drag you down. If you want to protect yourself from energy suckers you’ve got to call on self-compassion to help get your power back and keep you from falling prey to these people.
Protect Yourself From Energy Suckers
The other day I received a nasty email that left me fuming. I know, who would be rude to me, right? Well, an energy sucker loves to take down someone who is spreading positive vibes. I was so outraged with this person’s behavior that I contacted a colleague, which only lead to more negative energy talking about it again. A few hours later, after I had been ruminating over it my boyfriend said, “you look exhausted are you okay?” It was only the afternoon and I was exhausted AND angry. This self check allowed me to realize this email was robbing me of my energy! I recognized that I was just stooping to her level unless I practiced self-compassion. The moment I started to show myself some love the dark cloud of anger and resentment disappeared.
Can you think of a person, or people in your life that may be energy suckers? Say you get a text from someone and immediately start to feel tense or uneasy. Does that person often make you feel exhausted or angry when you’re around them? Do you have someone in your life you dread seeing and then feel guilty about avoiding them? How about a negative friend that you love but realize you’d rather get a root canal than spend another afternoon at her pity party? These people aren’t bad, they just require you to practice self-compassion and set some major boundaries.
You may be saying, “Yeah right Emily, self-compassion doesn’t take away the insults or the fact that my friend is so selfish!” You’re right. I wanted to write an email back to this person, “prove” this person wrong, and show her how mean she was, but then I realized the insults were actually projections of the sender’s sad life. You see, when you practice tuning into yourself through self-compassion you create a positive shift out of anger and icky feelings. In fact, research on self-compassion shows that people who practice it regularly are less likely to be depressed, anxious, and stressed, which means more immune to the negative people in their lives. They’re in touch with how they feel and how others impact their mood.
Leading researcher in self-compassion Kristin Neff, Ph.D author of Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind has found that the more one practices self-compassion the more confidence they gain no matter who they come in contact with. They honor themselves and are much more likely to be happy, resilient, healthy and make decisions that are in alignment with their highest selves. Neff’s research shows the practice of self-compassion builds a positive self-view that keeps you feeling confident and in control when faced with a negative person or thought. If you learn to love and accept yourself, you are more likely to make decisions and hang out with people who respect you and your time.
Self-Compassion in Three Simple Steps
- Mindfulness: Awareness of your feelings in this moment. I was pissed and tense. I became aware of what my body was saying to me without judgment, accepted it and then I was able to do something about it. Fighting feelings and the reality of how someone’s energy is impacting you keeps you stuck. The first step in any situation is to accept that you’re feeling a certain way, then you can do something about it.
- Being kind to yourself: This means understanding, not punishing, yourself. I took the time to ask myself “What would I say to a friend in this position?” That allowed me to see how misguided that email was, how caring and kind I have been to this person, and that is exactly what I would tell a friend. You are worth respecting and so am I. The moment someone shows me disrespect I check the facts and realize, yeah nope, it’s their stuff and not mine. I can defend myself or I can show myself compassion and kindness. By deciding not to respond to the email (still haven’t), and ignoring their idiotic remarks gives me the freedom to get out of their awful energy.
- Remember that we are all human: There is a common sense of humanity one is perfect, neither am I. Self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience – something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone, even though it sometimes feels that way. practicing this allowed me to see that the person pissing me off was actually really suffering. That doesn’t mean I’m going to jump into that energetic mess. It means I can talk to them with less anger and aggression when I realize that they are hurting.
So here’s the deal, if you are stuck with a negative thought or are aware that someone else is messing with your energy (digitally or in person), don’t fight back. First, practice self-compassion. The more you practice being kind to yourself the easier it will be to fight off the energy suckers in your life and the more confident you will feel.
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is The Guidance Girl. Her goal is to help YOU become the most confident person you know! Emily is an award-winning author Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, Educational Speaker, and parenting consultant. She travels around the country educating girls, women, and parents. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.