As I learned more about yoga over the last few years, I was taught about the value of ahimsa, non-harm of self and others. Even beyond the yoga world, it seems that this idea of kindness to all is everywhere I look lately. Loving all living things, as we are all connected. I love this concept, but I recently discovered a deeper clarity around it. To put it simply, I was taking these values of loving, kindness, and giving to others way too far in my life. My relationships were at best unbalanced, and at worst unhealthy. In attempts to not be judgmental of others, I refused to look at the truths of some of the people I was surrounded by.
Now, I still believe that kindness and love are extremely valuable. However, I am learning to be honest with myself about the effects that certain people have. The reality of life is that there are some people in the world who are energy draining. You can become aware of who these people are in your world by tuning into the responses you feel in your body when you are in their space. I often respond by feeling suddenly exhausted, getting a headache, or feeling sick to my stomach. Sometimes I feel tension come over me, or a new pain somewhere. When you have a specific response around a specific person, it often means that you are feeling their energy, not your own.
For me, it is important to remember that often these people have no real concept of their energy- they are unaware of their ability to change it, control it, or even how it affects those around them. We are all doing the best we can with our own individual levels of awareness. And this is where non-judgment plays a role. I make my best efforts to recognize where a person is coming from and to accept them as they are. However, I can accept and even love them without continuing the relationship. I really try to control my speech around these issues, creating a clear awareness around the reality of the energy I feel without slandering the source. In other words, this isn’t a call to abandon a friendship and then proceed to talk all kinds of crap about the person. If and when you choose to walk away, let it be a clean break. Otherwise, you are still feeding them your energy as you engage in all the drama you are creating around them.
My most recent lesson has been this: It is best, it is okay, it is right to honor your own wellness and remove yourself from someone’s space if they are draining your energy. In fact, because you are avoiding energetic harm to yourself, doing so DOES follow the principles of ahimsa.
So what if, in order to remove yourself from this person’s space, you have to cut off a relationship and that could hurt them? Are you causing them harm? Is it a question of whose well being is more important? Is one of you more valuable than the other? This is a challenging place to be, to say the least. I believe that there is a difference between HURTING someone and HARMING someone. The Universe carries us through many shifts and changes that really hurt, but in the end, those hardships fueled our growth. The changes were positive, once we processed the hurt. I do not believe that we are meant to live life without ever feeling hurt, because it is just so essential in our evolution. Therefore, there are going to be times when we will need to cut off certain relationships, and it may hurt someone’s feelings. Guess what? It is still okay to put yourself first and honor what you need. Ending a connection in a respectful way does not cause harm.
All in all, I’m starting to look for an energetic balance in my relationships with other people. Recognizing which friendships honor both parties involved, and feeding those connections. Achieving balance in my life has been a long term lesson for me, focusing on this one aspect of that has made all the difference.
Are you aware of any relationships in your life that are unbalanced energetically? Have you considered what the affects are of maintaining connections with people who drain your energy? How are you feeling about protecting your space and your energy by cutting those ties? My advice to you is this: love yourself, and always find a way to honor what you feel.