What kind of energy are you putting out into the world? We all have an energy field around us: it is an extension of the energy associated with our inner thoughts and feelings. You have no doubt had the experience of entering a room, or a home, where, just before your arrival, two people were in conflict. Although they may be smiling, you can feel the tension in the air.
You may also know of people who have “good energy.” You always feel better after having spent time with them. Even a short conversation on the street, or on the telephone, can lift your spirits. They always seem to be happy, upbeat and positive.
Then, there are those whose energy feels very toxic. Around these people you may feel tense, unsettled, wary, distrustful, and even physically ill. Sometimes you feel violated by such energy, especially if the person is directing it towards you.
I believe we are constantly reading the energy of others, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. It is a built-in, instinctual trait. Others too, read, or feel, our energy. The climate in a home or office is the result of the combined energies of the people who are there.
Unfortunately, just as one oil spill can contaminate a large portion of the ocean, so one individual with negative, confrontational, or toxic energy can contaminate an otherwise positive environment. Laboratory experiments have also shown that such negative energy can result in suppression of the immune system in those subjected to it. Ongoing exposure to such toxicity can pose a health hazard!
This is a little like second hand smoke. The individual who is putting out the toxic energy is first compromising his or her own inner environment. The frustration, anger, annoyance, or impatience the individual experiences internally, if not owned, dealt with and transformed, is often directed towards others. Due to differing capacities for handling this energy, it may be even more harmful to the recipients than to the one creating it. Children are extremely sensitive to the anger, judgment and criticism of parents or teachers. Some individuals are powerfully affected, as a toxic outburst may trigger memories of difficult or traumatic events or circumstances in their past.
Historically, in our culture, we have not been terribly conscious of the affect of our energy on others. There seems to be a sense that if one is angry or frustrated with a store clerk, a child, a partner, or a driver on the road, it is okay to vent those emotions. Justification for these “toxic spills” seems proportional to the amount of inner turmoil the venter experienced. This sounds dangerously like the abusive partner who says he would not have had to hit his spouse if she had not made him so angry.
The truth is we all must take responsibility for our own emotional ecology. We cannot blame others for the way we react. We must do our part to contribute to a healthy emotional climate wherever we are. We can often diffuse the toxic effect of another’s energy by refusing to engage it. For certain, meeting the toxicity of another with our own toxic response is a recipe for disaster. It perpetuates a downward spiral from which there is no positive outcome. When this happens, the negative physiological effects are even more pronounced.
Our first task is to ensure that we maintain a healthy inner state. We do this by giving up all judgment, criticism, blame, gossip and negative thinking. We do this by giving ourselves other options besides choosing anger or frustration. We get our egos out of the way. Is this a tall order? You bet it is. Once you make a conscious choice that you want work towards this, you can utilize techniques such as meditation to keep you balanced and calm. You can activate your inner observer, to gain awareness of your reactions. Not only will you begin to clean up your little corner of the world, but you will become a role model for others.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit www.gwen.ca