Energy Management and Impact on Others, Part I


What are the unseen forces that connect us?

Even the question is evocative.  As an academic and scientist, we don’t like to deal with the unseen and unmeasurable.  If we can’t detect it, it doesn’t exist.  However, a subpopulation among us know that this energy/emotional field we invisibly project is real.  I’m not among this population so I have been one of the people denying its existence.  But I’ve seen people sense this energy, even in the apparent absence of visual or auditory cues.

At least I think I have.

OK so I’m not 100% convinced but I’m pretty sure about it.  For example, I think I’m a pretty savvy and self-aware person (haha) and feel like I do a good job hiding how I really feel when I think it’s appropriate to do so.  For example, I may get mad at something but I don’t necessarily want to share that until I’ve spent some time processing it.  (You can teach an old dog new tricks)

But no.  I’m not really hiding my anger because those folks with that radar can pick it up instantly even though I’ve said and done nothing, and have, in fact, made every attempt to mask my feelings.  Folks with the radar can sense the energy of a room before even entering it.  This, folks, is beyond my comprehension, though I haven’t completely discounted other possible cues such as observing the way we hold our bodies, clench our jaws, or the tone of the conversation.  We are experts at noticing such cues (“we” as in the collective “we,” since I’m not that great at it.)

This is not just an intellectual exercise debating the nature of the metaphysical.  This energy factor is important because that energy, whether manifested by our tone or body language, impacts other people.  I may not be able to notice other people’s energy effectively but I do notice mine.  It’s not just my emotion.  That energy includes the feeling in my chest that’s either a tightness or looseness.  When it’s tight, I’m keeping my energy to myself.  I tend to be more closed emotionally to others, and it’s easier for me to go into dominant/command mode.  When it’s loose, I’m sharing my energy with others in an open way and I’m more inclined to go into compassion and empathy mode.     I’m more open to another’s reality and receiving their energy.  The former makes me feel tense; the latter more relaxed and energized.

I believe that other people sense the presence of that energy.  When I’m in open mode, I tend to have more eye contact and smiles from strangers, and I’m more approachable in general.  When you are sharing your energy, others are attracted to interacting with you.   I never understood why students used to think I’m unapproachable as I always invited them to come talk to me with their questions but I believe I can now explain it by energy management.

I think that energy management has to do with presence.  To me, presence means “being present”, attending to the present moment and the person you’re with.  But it also is an important element of the command strength.  My command strength can be a real assh*le if I’m not managing it.  It comes across as a bully.  But by keeping my energy open, that command becomes “presence.”  I suspect this presence is also a sort of stage presence.  It’s a positive energy that draws the eye and attention.   Negative energy can also draw attention but in a morbid-curiosity manner.

So you see, energy management does matter.  If your life involves relationships and influencing people, then managing your energy effectively makes a difference in how you interact with others.  Even if you’re trying to mask it, others can tell whether your energy is kind, generous, positive, loving or angry, hostile, condescending or just generally an assh*le.  Who do you think they’re more likely to want to deal with?   Who are they going to want  to help or listen to?  You got it.  So pay attention and be present with your energy.  Try to be more intentional about managing it and see what happens.

Life Is A Beauty Pageant

Honey Boo Boo and her Mom

Honey Boo Boo and her Mom

I had a dream the that I was asked to emcee a beauty pageant at the last minute and I was horribly unprepared.  As you can imagine, it was not pretty (haha).   At least I was not a contestant.  I’d much rather feel unprepared than come in last in a beauty pageant.

Actually, I’ve had far worse:  Being picked last for the kickball team.  Not that I blame any of those kids (how DID they always get to be the ones picking?) since if I saw myself back then, I wouldn’t pick me either.  Skinny and terrified,  I looked like I’d run away screaming from the ball if it came at me.  It didn’t take long though for them to realize that I was actually a Bad Ass kickball player.  I was never picked last again.

So I learned a valuable lesson at an impressionable age: sometimes we’re judged based on little or wrong information.  Therefore, I should not take these decisions personally.

A similar lesson was learned when I moved from Texas to California in the 80’s.  In Texas, I was completely invisible, especially to the opposite sex.  In California, that completely changed, and in fact, I was suddenly of some interest to the males there.   There was nothing magically more interesting/attractive/relevant about me when I crossed the border into California.  It was the Caucasian/blonde/blue beauty standards that changed, not me. Perception is subjective and relative, and not for me to take as some personal indictment.

So many life decisions are made for us in this manner by others.  School admissions, prospective employers, prospective mates or friends, scholarship or grant reviewers, award committees, publishers, and yes, beauty pageants are comprised of people making decisions and judgments about us based on incomplete, biased, or even inaccurate, information.

Yet we take them so personally. “I’m such a failure; I’m unwanted; I’m unattractive; I’m inferior;  I’m not good enough”.  At the same time, we may also dismiss the positive outcomes as having nothing to do with us. “I got lucky; The others were losers; He’s only interested in me because of …; They felt sorry for me.”  Either way, we find yet one more way to engage in destructive, self-limiting self-talk.

There are certainly situations where I was not selected because I wasn’t as good, as qualified, as accomplished, as pretty as the chosen one.  But most of the time, I feel that if I’m not selected, it’s truly because I was not a good fit for what they were looking for, and the outcome was as it should’ve been.

I wrote previously about how romantic chemistry has to do with finding someone who replicates your childhood wounds.  Therefore, if a male is not interested in me that way, it’s  partially because we are not a good fit.  He is not the yin to my emotional yang or visa versa.  Not a good fit, and not because I’m unattractive or flawed.  It also does not mean that I give up on trying to look my best when I leave the house or work to make myself a more interesting person.

Employers similarly are looking for a person who provides the skill set needed and fits their workplace culture. For example, I may be a shy person who prefers to write, but they may need someone outgoing who is a good talker.  A poor skill and personality fit means it would be difficult for me to be successful there.  Not a good fit, and not because I’m incompetent.  It also does not mean that I quit trying to build my skill set.

A school who does not want to admit me may be looking primarily for the best academic talent and my strengths are… elsewhere.  If academics aren’t my strongest suit, I would struggle in an environment that was so academically competitive.  Not a good fit, and not because I’m stupid.  It also doesn’t mean I stop trying to bring up my grades or hone my other talents.

Or instead of continuing to improve myself, I can just believe these decisions confirm that I’m a worthless human being, feel sorry for myself, and go on a chocolate binge.

I look back on the forks in the road of my life and sometimes wonder, “What if…?”  I don’t really know if the universe, fate, karma, or God leads us down certain paths.  However, I do know that the cumulative Yes and No decisions made on my behalf have led me to where I am now, and that place is pretty awesome.  Things have worked out pretty well despite the multitude of No’s and rejections, because there have also been plenty of Yes’s and acceptances too.  I don’t take those rejections personally any more than I take any of the successes too seriously.

I do believe that things “work out” in the end.  I also believe that the odds for a good outcome are vastly improved if I approach the process with a positive, open-minded attitude and am dedicated to finding the silver lining in a setback.   So the next time I’m asked to emcee a beauty pageant unprepared, I’ll be grateful that I’m asked only to employ my communication, positivity and relational talents on the fly, not something difficult like walking without falling while sporting 4 inch heels.