Do you know what your most basic needs are? Do you, really? You might have heard this one before: You can live without food for weeks, without water for days, without oxygen for minutes. But you cannot live without energy, not even for a fraction of a second.
You operate from your personal power: Your presence. And when you don’t feel seen or heard—when your presence is weak—that’s when you sometimes turn to anger, frustration, jealousy and all kinds of low thoughts, emotions and actions.
Have you ever felt drained after visiting with a negative or frantic person? Of course you have. Or left exhausted from a phone call with someone who is down and miserable? Yep, and often. That’s your good energy being drained by the lower energy around you. Your friend, co-worker or relative might not mean to be, but they’re being an Energy Sucker.
You see—when they stick their metaphorical straw in your ‘energy milkshake’, they suck what was yours in order to fuel themselves. Sure, they feel a little bit better after unloading their low and uploading your high, but what does that leave for you? And what kind of day are you now going to have when you’re operating from a depleted tank, poisoned with frustration and agitation?
But you can be there for others without allowing their energy to drain yours.
“Watch your viral energy” has become a euphemism between my husband, Burt, and me when we want to remind each other to be aware of time spent with a negative friend or family member, or even exposure to too much arguing on television. While writing this book, Burt would periodically remind me to censor the deluge of messages and phone calls that I receive from certain friends who far too often wanted to share every detail of their precarious relationship; daily problems at work; some sad thing that happened to their neighbor’s cousin; what angered them in the news; the thing that they want to buy, or do, but can’t afford; or how they have too much to get done in too short of time. He would say, “I can tell when you have talked to so-and-so. Now, remember what you always say—watch your viral energy.”
So, this happened recently. Another close friend, let’s call her Britney, warned me that she had a number of issues building up—love life; decision regarding marketing expenses for her business; a guy friend who turns out likes her, so more love life; what to wear for her upcoming birthday—apparently she had been saving up a litany of topics and she needed my help to figure everything out. One of the issues involved her new boyfriend, whom she would be seeing again the next night and so there was a clock on her getting my feedback and advice. She texted to give me the overview of what was coming and then she sent me nine voice memos, totaling one hour and twenty-six minutes, that I could listen to when I had “time in the next 24 hours” and then reply. (Yes, this happened.) But this next part is where the mistake was made, and I did it to myself.
The following morning was Saturday and the day of Britney’s scheduled date with the boyfriend with whom she had dangling on a fence. Burt and I had planned to decorate our Christmas tree early that day—it was Thanksgiving weekend—and while he was hauling in from the garage all of the decorations, I thought it would be a good time to get it over with and listen to all, yes all, of Britney’s voice memos of concerns, complaints, guesswork, conjecture, anger, and fears. Um, big mistake.
I had opened the floodgates of negative viral energy right into my day. I couldn’t shake it. I was beyond irritated by Britney’s messages and what I felt was a load of narcissism, and I was mad at myself for taking it all on at once, or ever. The Christmas tree didn’t get decorated that day; negative viral energy had robbed both myself and Burt of the peaceful morning that we had planned and looked forward to. (Poor Burt! Thankfully he understands the power and magic of viral energy.)
I have come to know how important it is to watch and protect my viral energy. I know that the quality of my energy—that is, my presence—is the quality of my creation fuel for everything that I write, say, produce, and am. If my presence is polluted, so is my work, mood, happiness, physical health, and output in every way.
It took me nearly half the day to get back to a good place energetically. I did a meditation specifically to purge anger; it’s all about breathing out with force and purging negativity from the heart chokra. Then, I actively filled our home with pleasant music and built up the atmosphere with a lovely pumpkin-coconut scented candle. Oh and I also did some shoulder-blade squeezes to release tension. Yeh, it was no joke—I had to work on turning around my energy and replacing bad vibes with good ones. Remember, dilution is the solution to pollution. Very true. But the key to preventing this in the future is the awareness that Britney didn’t do this to me; I should have limited my exposure or just said, “I’m happy to help, however, no, don’t send me everything that’s been on your mind this week.” After all, I’m her friend not her therapist.
Just by being aware of the nature of viral energy, and limiting your exposure, you can protect your good vibes. So, don’t let others slurp and shoplift your presence. Get their straw out of your milkshake!