Jill Bolte Taylor, neuroanatomist and author of My Stroke of Insight (2009), had a stroke in 1996. She later described how she could sense the energy of people who came to visit her hospital room during her recovery. From that experience comes her famous quote:
Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.
I agree wholeheartedly that other people’s energy affects us. I have always been sensitive to the moods and actions of people.
I cannot expect everyone to be mindful of their energy, however, as a way to make my day better. People are busy doing their thing…and my comfort is rightfully not the focal point of their daily actions.
So what can I do to protect my emotional well-being? Recently, I found that Facebook was becoming more aggravating than pleasant. People I love and respect shared some callous thoughts on a topic that I hold dear to my heart…and while I don’t dispute their right to their opinion, I don’t need to fill my day reading posts that drive me apart from people in my life.
It is important to curate our lives. We aren’t just responsible for the energy we bring into a space; we must be mindful about the energy we allow into our space. Although we can’t control everything we encounter – an irksome co-worker or a bigoted uncle at Thanksgiving, for instance – we should occasionally audit the media and social environments with which we engage.
I feel much better having practiced what Anne Lamott refers to as “radical self-care.” Perhaps there are some ways you can curate your daily life to protect your emotional well-being, too.
Maybe now is the time to look with fresh eyes.