I’ve heard talk of energy vampires for several years now. Most of that talk focuses on how draining they are and, of course, how to get them out of your life.
During a recent seminar, I had a huge ah-ha moment. Of course, the topic was energy vampires. “Who do you need to fire?” the presenter asked. “Myself,” said my internal voice.
The presenter went on with her talk about getting rid of people, while I went on to my own internal seminar. I’m sharing what I got out of it with you, and I’d love to hear what you get out of it!
Vampires are Opportunists
Although I have felt like a victim of energy vampires in the past, the biggest ah-ha was that no energy vampire can do their thing without my permission. If I don’t give the opportunity, if I haven’t given implicit permission, they cannot drain me. All I have to do is say, “No,” and that is the end of the story.
Let me say it again, because this is big; NO ONE CAN DRAIN ME WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.
Plugging the Holes
I haven’t felt like I’ve given permission lo these many years. I felt like I’ve been assaulted, accosted, stolen from, cheated, lied to, etc. Yes, I’ve felt like a victim.
Ah-ha: As long as I own victim, I never have to own my own power.
Well, gee. I’m not giving myself much wiggle room here, am I? Maybe I am ready for a solution.
Plugging the drain holes in my energy is as simple as saying, “No.”
I sat with a charming lady at the seminar. Throughout the first lecture, she would turn and make a comment every few minutes. At first, I responded politely, and then I realized what I was doing.
I was putting her need to communicate with me ahead of my need to attend to the conference speakers. Initially, I was irritated with her for interrupting in the first place. Thankfully, I realized that I was the one giving her permission. Once I had responsibility firmly in my court, I was able to very nicely let her know that I didn’t want to chat during the presentations, and would love to chat with her between presenters. Problem solved.
Yes, it really is that easy. And, really, when it’s not I have to ask myself, “Do I want that kind of person in my life?”
Someone May Walk Away
Sometimes other people do have to be fired, but I haven’t encountered a situation yet that modifying my behavior did not change. For instance, if the conference chatter were upset by my request to talk between presenters, she may well have gotten up and left in a huff.
Yes, absolutely, changing my behavior can result in the other person getting so upset that they no longer want to be with me. Just so you know, that is okay. In order to allow that, I had to deal with my own abandonment issues (which sounds like a post for another day.) Of equal importance, I finally learned that I am not personally responsible for everyone else’s outcomes. I really cannot keep someone from getting upset if they want to, and I can rarely force someone to get upset if they are not willing. In the end, I am not responsible for everyone else, but I am fully responsible for my own experience.
I do not walk away very often these days. It is more likely that someone else is going to walk away from me. Even that doesn’t happen so much anymore. Ironically, more people walked away when I was trying to get them not to, than do now that I know I can’t control them.
I Didn’t Fire Myself
Although the thought of firing myself was shocking and funny, it would be pretty hard to walk away from myself. It certainly served to get my attention back on what I do have control over.
I can only control myself, and I’m not always successful at that.
That’s worth repeating. I am the only one I have control over, and I don’t always manage to control myself well.
With that in mind, why would I think that I could control anyone else, or that anyone else has any greater chance of controlling him or herself than I do of controlling myself? Interesting paradox, eh? If no one is completely controllable, what is to be done?
I’m going to mess up. Other people are going to mess up. We’re all going to be needy, greedy, out-of-control and a lot of other things we’ve been told not to be. And, that is okay. It is only in making it wrong, in fighting with reality, that we create emotionally charged situations which spiral out of control.
No one sets out to become an energy vampire. They are simply coping in the best, often the only, way they know how. If I become angry, resentful, hostile, or judgmental in any way, I simply exacerbate the situation. By being in acceptance, I give myself the opportunity to communicate from the heart. I also give the other person the opportunity to have a new experience. How much better would the world be if this became a common practice?
What would the world be like if we began practicing acceptance with ourselves, then with our families and friends, and finally with the strangers we meet? Paint that picture in your mind. When you’re done, I invite you to join me in an acceptance-fest! Instead of firing anyone, let’s get the love on!