My energy, your energy…

Take responsibility for the energy you bringHave you thought about how different environments and people affect your energy? Can you pinpoint what it is that you are sensing or reacting to? Are you aware of your own energy and what others might be picking up from you?

I have been caught in a drain-game for many years, without really understanding it. I knew I was more on the introverted side: a person who needs solitude to recharge and quiet to think. My way of dealing with it, was to give myself a lot of alone time – but often not until after I had been in environments that sapped my energy. It made me stop and try to figure out what it is that I am picking up on. What is draining me? Here is what I have learned so far:

I believe I have what mainstream psychology refers to as the . Like one out of every five people, I process sensory information differently, more deeply, with more awareness of subtleties.  I know I am sensitive to high pitched sounds (Les Miserable produced a massive headache), motion (I jokingly say I’m motion-challenged), strong smells (perfume equals instant headache), and high-stimulus environments. An example of the latter is my experience in cubicle-land: I was utterly exhausted by the end of the day, without realizing why. It was not until I moved to a different office (still cubicle-land, but this time quiet), that I realized just how much of a toll that the previous high-energy, high-stimulus work environment had on me. Others revelled in it, but for me it was like a slow (and other days fast) leak of air from a tire, leaving my flat by the end of the day.

Not only does my brain seem to pick up on all of these subtleties, it seems to get hung up when things are incongruent. When I am around someone who is sending out mixed messages, my brain seems to go into over-drive trying to sort through all the information to figure out what is “true”. For years I thought I was simply picking up on incongruent non-verbal cues (their tone of voice, the look in their eyes, the tight edge to their smile), but now I’m realizing it is something more: it is the hard-to-explain feel of their energy.

Hard to explain is right. I have been trying to read up on energy fields, chakras, and how our bodies (as energy) interact with all the energies around us…and I’ll confess: I’m struggling with it. My analytical mind keeps jumping in with “this is too far-fetched”, yet deep inside it resonates with me (and scares me a little bit). So I have been finding myself doing a bit of a dance: once step in, half a step out. But during this early part of the dance, one thing has become clear: even if I do not fully understand it, I have a responsibility for the energy I put out to others and the energy I allow in.

As a result, I have begun to be more aware of my own energy, my congruency (or lack thereof) and the choices I have. When I know I am in a bad head space, I try to stop, breathe, center myself, refocus, and choose to share an energy that is respectful, true and light. I want to be congruent, so it is not about faking a positive, upbeat energy – it is about consciously shifting myself so I can be more appreciative of the present moment, rather than being caught in a loop from the past.

I believe that when we are disconnected from ourselves – when we are grasping, groping, running, hiding, attacking, pushing — our energy reflects this. And since I have not learned how to protect myself from the heaviness of this energy (or replenish myself), the one step I can take is to try my best to share energy that is what I call clear (neutral) or bright (energizing, positive, peaceful), as often as I can.

The more difficult one for me, is knowing how to deal with other people’s energy: what I allow in. Being aware that you are sensitive to others’ energy is one thing, but knowing how to deal with it is another. Right now, I still have more questions then answers. How do you not absorb the energy of others? How do you connect with someone on a deep level, but not have their energy attach to you? How do you replenish yourself or learn how to protect yourself so you are not sapped in the first place?

These are questions I want to find answers to, for I believe that if I want to be truly present in my own life and in the lives of others, understanding how I am on this energetic level is part of the puzzle. If you would like to join me on this journey, here are some articles and books that I have begun to explore:

  • The research of psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron on the HSP Personality Trait: there is a of one of her papers published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, information on her  (including a self-test) and her bestselling book .
  • has a huge number of articles on hypersensitivity/HSP.
  • Transformation Talk Radio has an interesting talk on . The title is a bit misleading, as it talks more about the range of experiences: from those that are highly sensitive to those that are true empaths.
  •  and  are on my bookshelf. A shorter article by Alberto Villoldo, PhD. (author of Shaman, Healer, Sage), can be found online: .
  • An introduction to the seven major chakras, can be found online: . I have dusted off my copy of  (which goes into chakras in great depth) and am going to give it another try.

If anyone would like to share their experience, recommend books or other ways to tap into and understand this world of energy, please (please!) start a dialogue by leaving a comment.

6 Responses to “My energy, your energy…”

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  1. Kim says:

    Hmmm. I haven’t heard of HSP before. I feel like I may have some leanings in that direction, but not everywhere in my life. Do you think it is possible that select areas are more sensitive than others (i.e. congested areas, over-stimulating environment but I don’t feel like I’m hypersensitive to people’s emotions)? I have been more and more aware of when I am absorbing the negative energy around me. Perhaps I’ll try Ana’s approach and see if that works. I also notice that some people have positive energy, but periods where they ooze bad vibes that immediately changes the energy between us. I have no doubt that I may have that same effect on others, at the very least times when I’m stealing others’ energy. Thanks for the post!

    • Diane says:

      Kim: From what I’ve read, a person can be sensitive in congested areas and over-stimulating environments but not hypersensitive to people’s emotions and still have the HSP Personality Trait. The question on Aron’s 27-item scale relate to all senses – only one directly links to the mood of others (check out link in post). If you’re not a fan of true-false, you can answer the questions using a 7-item response (from 1 “not at all,” through 4, “moderately,” to 7, “extremely”) which Aron used in her research study (as per PDF link on post). My experience with being sensitive to the energy of others has less to do with the HSP Personality Trait and more to do with possibly having some Empathic abilities (??) – still exploring the whole energy field to know where I fit / what I’m experiencing.

  2. Jenny Hunt says:

    Hello Diane,
    My daughter and I have talked about this many a time over the years. We have been able to irecognize individuals who sap energy and have self-identified as empaths. (Though unpredictably so.)

    I will share your post with her and I am sure it will stimulate another good discussion. She and I both tend to examine things from a scientific rather than spiritual point of view. Mainly, I think, because we have the vocabulary and context to explore in those terms.

    Part of the reason I felt I needed to leave my last job was that I became aware that I was not bringing the positive energy I should have to my work. I need to think about this more.

    As always… thanks for bringing my thoughts to a focus.
    Jenny

  3. Ana Pouzada says:

    Hi Diane,

    I relate to the issue of being HSP. When you have to work with the public in general on a personal level, be it counseling or someting simple like checking other people’s eyes, inevitably the “sponge problem” arrises. Too often we soak up the patient’s energy and most of the time we don’t realise that it is happening. Visualizing ourselves in a sphere of white light seems to be a recommended aid for maintaining our own energy level and avoiding being “bombarded” by the other person’s vibes. My problem is that most of the time I forget to do it before it’s too late!
    I look forward to reading what else you share with us!

    Big hug

    Namaste

  4. Loreen Graw says:

    Hi Diane..I am pretty sure I am HSP as well. I wonder if it runs in families….
    L.

    • Diane says:

      Loreen: The readings I have done refer to HSP as an “inherited trait” although I did not see anything in the research papers I read that specifically addressed how and to what degree it is passed within familes. I would hope that if the term “inherited trait” is being used as frequently as I have seen, there should be research out there somewhere.

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