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Energy vampire

Isn't it wonderful when you can be fully present, alive, and full of energy with the people you love? There's almost nothing better! But often, we find ourselves distracted, not really present or able to engage in the ways we most desire, because our energy has already been drained.

We've all had the person on our job who habitually interrupts us in the middle of a project just to yack it up. Or what about the "Debbie Downer" that always sees the negative in everything? Or the one who is always avoiding responsibility or judging others? I could go on and on, but I'm quite sure you are probably picturing a couple of people right now who unknowingly drain your ability to engage and be present in the relationships that really matter.

So what can you do when you find someone in your life that habitually zaps your energy?

See that they are people too, just like you. It's important to understand that the people who drain your energy often don't realise what they are doing. Do not be tempted to characterise them or be rude. They are people with feelings and deserve to be treated with respect despite their flaws. You know the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Set boundaries. People will frequently step into your emotional space when you don't provide clear and healthy boundaries. Maybe you need to decide not to take work calls after 6pm or to not allow gossip in your presence. If someone you follow on social media is continually posting things that betray your morality or are filled with drama, decide to unfollow them. If you never think about or mark where your boundaries lie, you can't blame others for stepping over them.

Speak up. You may decide on a boundary, but if you don't inform others when they cross a line, it will do you no good. Clearly and compassionately articulate your boundaries when someone crosses them, and then kindly ask them to respect your limits. "Hey Rick! I know you're super excited to talk about the latest episode of This is Us, but I have a project with a deadline I am working on. Do you think it can wait until lunch?" "I don't take my work on vacation. If there's an emergency, Ann will be able to take care of it in my absence."

Most people will understand and respect your limits. However, if a person continues to cross your boundaries, then you may need to become more firm in your response while staying respectful.

I realise these tips may not cover certain extreme situations, but I am mainly referring to minor infractions related to boundaries. May you have the courage and boldness to set appropriate boundaries, and may the people you love reap the blessing.

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