Our life force is our energy.
As a highly sensitive person, I am very energy sensitive as I am sure you are. Being energy sensitive means noticing the claims and demands on our energy from others. Protecting our life force and being good stewards of our life gift is our job. However being an HSP makes this a particularly challenging job. There are many ways to deal with interpersonal claims for our time and energy. One way is to be aware of ways in which someone can try to lay claim to our life force.
Ways Of Laying Claim To The Life Force Of Another
There are many ways to lay claim to the energies of another person. Some you will have experienced and others you may use yourself.
This list is not exhaustive but it will help you notice when it is happening:
- expectations. This is one we all do at some point or another, perhaps even all the time. We form expectations and they then run our relationships.
- fear. One of the easiest ways to lay claim to another’s life force is by creating fear, or putting your fear on them.
- guilt. One of the big energy thieves of modern life, with guilt we put the burden of our life on someone else.
- promises. When we make promises and do not keep them, we are stealing someone else’s life force, by pretending a level of relationship that we are not willing to maintain.
- demands. When we make demands, we are being entitled to the time, energy and labor of another.
- values. Values are a very useful tool in managing our lives and commitments. However, when we impose our values on others we are demanding that they live on our terms. Even if we have great values, it is important to honor the dignity of another person.
- emergencies and dramas. We have all met drama queens and know how time consuming and draining they can be. They demand that they be put ahead of others and attended to because of their emergencies. If the dramas and emergencies are ongoing, they can serious drain others of time, energy and resources.
- mindsets. A mindset may be a handy way of making life decisions, however, when used in relationships, they deny the individuals the ability to be in the moment and relate on the basis of what is. Mindsets can be a preconceived way of relating that stifles others and therefore drains them when they were expecting a more dynamic interpersonal arrangement. Mindsets include ideologies of all kinds and the demand for conformity.
- identity. Identity can serve many purposes. It can be constructed in order to promote special claims. One example from the United States’ identity: we created the concept of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny to support an expansionist agenda.
- victim role. The victim is an identity that deserves its own special category. We all experience being a victim. It is only problematic when it becomes our identity. When it becomes our way of playing weak and using other people to do our work for us.
- generalizations. Generalizations can be dangerous. When we generalize about people we create discrimination which is systematized energy theft of other people.
- all forms of physical, emotional, sexual and verbal abuse are a demand that someone be who we want them to be and serve our interests.
- projection. One of the most hurtful things we can do is to project ourselves onto others and not allow them their reality and perceptions.
- copping out. When we cop out, we put our work on someone else.
- emotional dumping. Although we all have bad days and need someone to listen to us, expecting someone else to take care of our feelings all of the time is unfair and a way to take their life force.
I am sure you can think of other ways that people lay claim to the energies and life force of another person.
How To Protect Yourself From People Who Want Your Life Force
Self protection for highly sensitive people is a big subject.
Although there are many things we can do to help ourselves including healthy living practices, meditation, and energy healing, we will need to address the energy draining experiences from other people.
In order to protect ourselves there are a number of strategies that are helpful:
- see if you can make a list of difficult people situations for yourself and cut out as many as possible. One of the greatest and most damaging myths is that strong people “take” abuse and that it is OK with them.
- if you want to learn to handle an interpersonal situations better, take one at a time and work on it. Experiment to find an outcome that works for you.
- notice when others define you to you, themselves and others. Reframing our identity to ourselves and publicly to others can help. “No. I am not a wimp.”” I refuse to waste my time on needless fights that waste everyone’s time and energy.”
- since we are sensitive, aggressive people will try to provoke us. Decide that you will ignore them. Most people cannot ignore aggression but it is a useful skill to learn not to react.
- although this may not be a very HSP tactic, it can be helpful to make someone look foolish by not going along with their negativity. Say you are at work, and there is someone who is bugging you in some way. You can ignore their negativity, and find something positive to say (“Nice tie you are wearing…) and let go off the situation. You will be perceived as someone who tried to cheer someone else up. It is a good strategy for handling public baiting.
- let your HSPness work for you. HSPs are interesting. Use it to help others and develop a reputation as an interesting and valuable person. As you do, it will be harder for energy stealers to take advantage since they will not find the social support for doing so.
- be willing to say no to requests and expectations of those who are hostile to you, whether at work or elsewhere.
These are just a few strategies.
Some people who drain your energy will respond to changes you make in what you do including requests for space and considerations. Other will not.
You do not have to take care of relationships and situations that are harmful to you.
No matter what others are doing, you can honor yourself.