(Originally posted on Exposure Magazine September 22, 2017).
Energy Vampires…yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Those special people who drain every ounce of energy from you because they demand so much encouragement, coaxing, and time. We all have them in our lives. Sadly, sometimes we are even related to or married to them. It doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed, but it will definitely require some major reconstruction.
First, you must identify them. You will know who they are because when you are done spending time with them, you will be exhausted. The mental energy required is simply too much. A body can only be drained so far before a recharge has to occur. If you are unable to recharge, you might find yourself snapping at others. Your “nice” is all used up. Most likely the Energy Vampires, EV’s, have many victims. They prey on those who are compassionate, want to help, and are generally kind people. Reality is that if you are unable to detach from the vampire and regroup, you may attach yourself to someone else and suck them dry. It’s a bit like the flu. It can be contagious, and that never generates a great outcome. It often happens in a close environment in a workplace. If boundaries aren’t drawn you can become the next victim. Do a self-check and make sure you aren’t the vampire first! Boundaries will be the answer to combatting Energy Vampires in the workplace and in your personal relationships. In the work place you can create “save me alliances”. This is a response to being cornered by an EV. A co-worker get a look or a signal from you and know you require assistance. The signal can be a code word, cough, phone call, etc. It is not a way of avoiding the situation, but working together to reduce the carnage and reduction in productivity. I once worked where there were two offices side by side, and any time that an EV walked in, they got 5 minutes. After that, the person in the next office would call them and tell them they needed their help. This was a strategy implemented after the EV stood there for 2-3 hours a couple of different times. Truly a plan was needed. Know who the energy vampires are in your life and have a plan in place for saving yourself. They are often lovely people that simply do not even understand what they cause. Knowing who they are and what your plan is to deal with them will save you a lot of grief. Draw the boundaries and protect yourself- no garlic needed!
(Originally published in Exposure Magazine Sept 15, 2017).
When was your last vacation from life? Are you resting, relaxing, restoring and rejuvenating? Life barrels by us a hundred miles per minute. Have you considered how important it is to take time to rest and restore, to decompress and re-energize your spirit? How long has it been since you have taken a vacation and invested some time in simply doing nothing? Housework will still be waiting, all the projects will still be there. People severely underestimate the need for rejuvenation by relaxation. Read a book for pleasure while sitting poolside or at the beach. Hike a mountain and sit by a stream and read the Bible or whatever fills your spirit up. Travel to some place you have never been and meet some new people. This doesn’t need to be a two week excursion, even two days is great. Expose yourself to new people, new experiences, and new surroundings to keep yourself happy and centered. Take the “me” time you need to continue to be the most amazing you that you are capable of. Your health and wellness depends on it. Your ability to be in service to others depends on it. In fact, I would go so far as to say your ability to be truly successful depends on it! Go with your special someone or go alone- just go! Reconnect with you and rediscover what is important to you. Sleep well and rest often. Happiness and fulfillment are very difficult to obtain if you are always tired and cranky. It leaks out onto everything and everyone. No sense being the crabby Patty/Pat everyone avoids. Get away from everyday life, rest up, relax, restore and rejuvenate because you are worth it!
I should clarify, I don’t mean you actually have a problem in your head. I am referring to what happens when you have “stinking thinking”, and it rolls out over everything in your life. Your mindset manifests in your entire body. Your attitude will be the cement that holds all the faulty thoughts and excuses together. There are some cliché sayings about (blank) my life. The negative words that get filled in grate on my last nerve because they reflect an unhealthy mindset. When you contaminate your thinking to a point where everything in your life references a negative circumstance, it is like you send a beacon for more negative circumstances to occur. You are calling it to you like a magnet. STOP! Clean up the space between your ears. Your brain continues to work on whatever you give it to work on. If you are focused on negativity, it continues to create and sustain that because your brain is a great worker. Unfortunately, it can’t decide on its own whether it is good or bad for you. Your brain controls every single aspect of your body. It tells your lungs to breathe, it keeps your blood circulating, and it also works to continue to keep flowing whatever good ideas or bad thoughts you choose to ruminate on. I am known to say “You only have control over two things: Your thoughts and your actions. Make good choices.”. What you think about determines your actions. More widely known is “What you think about you bring about“ (Earl Nightingale). For many people, the thoughts are simply excuses. These excuses determine the action or inaction. Some examples of how people differ in how they think about this sound like, “I can’t exercise because I have ____.” Or, “I exercise because I have _________, and exercise will improve my health.” This is a choice. You can insert any kind of ailment or impediment you want. One person will use it to make an excuse why they can’t, and the next person will use it for why they should. Insert a few things relevant for you into the sentence above, such as being 50 pounds overweight, blind, high blood pressure, diabetes, no legs, etc. Still don’t think you can do it? Look at Erik Weihenmayer as an example. As a blind man, he has climbed Mt. Everest and kayaked the entire Grand Canyon. He refuses to allow his blindness to be a reason why he cannot do something. He allows it to propel him to do ALL the things people can’t even imagine him doing or even wanting to do. He carefully controls the thoughts he entertains and aligns his actions to meet the greatness he sees and cultivates in his mind. He controls his mindset. Your greatest asset to a healthy life is keeping the space between your ears free of excuses, stinking thinking, and self-loathing, and fill it with positive, beautiful strong thoughts and images of you conquering every challenge that comes before you. Control your thoughts and actions because you can!
(Originally published in the September 1st Exposure Magazine).
Connect, Collaborate and Create!
Life would be so much more awesome if we all strolled through our life with this thought process; connect, create, and collaborate. Somewhere along the line, we seem to have transitioned into a society of people who take. Many spend the better part of their lives working only to receive from others, draining the givers. I am a giver, and some days this can be painful and tiring. Here is a stark reality- together we can create, grow, and have so much more! We all have innate goodness and greatness within. Connect to someone elses greatness, and WOW! The world becomes a better, more civilized, and incredible place. Ask yourself as we start a new month, what place do you serve in this world? Are you a taker? Do you drain those around you, or do you see how you can connect with people, collaborate, and create something even better! I have been blessed to see unbelievable forms of connection and collaboration this week. In particular, I have seen some incredible results created through the efforts of people bringing their best selves together in connection to serve other during #Hurricane Harvey. A new friend I made this week said our most important resource is the HUMAN resource! She is so right. This is why people gather in churches on Sunday, in Bible studies, in book clubs, Boy/Girl Scouts, sports teams, etc. We are better together- we will always be better together. Gather the best of yourself and collaborate with another and create something amazing! It’s what we were designed for! If you answered that you are usually taking from another, then rise up and find a way to give from the greatness with you! Partner with someone and create unity while serving others. Your heart will be full and you will have filled someone else up. That’s when you know that the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive,” isn’t just a cliché.
These are my older blog posts, which originally appeared in my Exposure Magazine Column, "Healthy Living."