Over the past two weeks, we’ve discussed The Concept of Fair Exchange. First, we recognised how this concept governs every exchange we have with another person leaving us feeling positive or negative, and then we looked at how to value our side of the equation and the energy we give it.
The concept itself is that:
If you GIVE more than you TAKE, you feel RESENTFUL.
If you TAKE more than you GIVE, you feel GUILTY.
Each exchange we have with another person is essentially an exchange of energy, whether that’s a phone conversation or our interaction with the traffic on our way to work. Managing our end of that deal is crucial if we’re to keep our energy healthy enough to invest it in the things that are important to us. Often, we give our energy away without realising it and end up sapped and unable to fulfil our own responsibilities or meet our own needs.
Here are three ways to guard your energy from leaks:
1. Discard or Carry?
Every day, there are things that snag up our energy in a negative way. Your child or partner might ask you for something they’ve forgotten AS you’re walking out the door for work. The drive to work is peppered with people who seem to have won their driver’s licence in a lucky dip. The WiFi is sketchy today, and the person who was supposed to have documents emailed to you by yesterday still hasn’t finished them. If we’re not careful, we’re exhausted by 0900 and haven’t done anything WE actually needed to do yet. Our energy is hooked up to everything BUT what we need it to be.
The next time you feel your energy get snagged up by something, ask yourself whether you need to “Discard or Carry”. Do you really need to let it own you for the rest of the day or can you let it wash over you like water off a duck’s back? While injustice may seem rife, is the thing snagging up your energy actually worth it? Do you need to carry it with you, or can you discard it? Does that commuter omnibus driver really deserve all the energy you’ve attached to him?
If you feel what’s snagging your energy is a relevant and worthy concern, then deal with it. Address why the person hasn’t produced the documents and move to Plan B. Whatever it takes to allow yourself to unhook and flow through. Don’t get snagged up – guard your energy.
2. Change Your Perspective
Allowing something to wash over you rather than hooking you in can be as simple as changing your perspective. Perhaps you really ARE the only person on the planet who can help your child (or partner) with what they’ve forgotten (what a blessing!), or perhaps the true value here is in them learning the consequences of their lack of preparation because it really is too late to deal with it now. Perhaps riding to work in your airconditioned car instead of a combi really isn’t the worst thing in the world. Even our teammate’s delays may signal an opportunity to smooth out a system that’s not serving either of you well – see if you can help. Change your perspective, change your energy.
3. My Stuff or Your Stuff?
Many of us are really great at taking on other people’s “stuff”. When it seems like everyone needs our help or input, we may feel mean if we don’t oblige. People LOVE to hand us their stuff, be it emotional or physical. If someone’s willing to take it on, there’s always someone willing to hand it over.
When you feel your energy leaking, ask yourself whether what you’re dealing with is your stuff or someone else’s. If it’s someone else’s, hand it back. Better yet, practise identifying other people’s stuff as they try and hand it to you, and gently refusing to take it on in the first place.
Often, all we do when we take on other people’s stuff is rob them of the opportunity to engage their own gifts and to grow.
So the next time someone comes to you with a “massive” problem, listen compassionately and then say “Wow! That’s hectic! What are you going to do about that?” – and wait whilst they figure out how to engage their own strengths…
For us to be successful at what we set out to do this week, we need to harness our energy, protect it from leaks, refuse to give it away and direct it towards what we need to accomplish. And we need to allow and guide others to do the same.
By Christen Killick
June 14th, 2021