This morning I received some negative Whatsapp messages from someone in my life who I would describe as a drain. It’s nothing new. Pretty much every message I get from this person is like this. It is rather, well, draining.
Later, I joined a yoga online action circle and connected with another local teacher. We chatted over Instagram afterwards. She was engaging and interested in what I had to say and I felt buoyed by our conversation.
People who are drains take and don’t give. They are sad, unhappy, sarcastic. They are victims. They blame others. They’re not much fun to be around. They deplete your energy levels with their constant need for reassurance and leave you feeling totally diminished. They are toxic.
Radiators on the other hand give off good energy. They are full of life, caring and fun. Crucially, they are interested in you and what you do. They are the sort of people who you like to have around because they make you feel good.
Think of people in your life who are in those two categories.
Now… think which category others might think YOU are in.
It’s not achievable to be happy and bouncy all the time. To be honest, that can be annoying! We are allowed to feel shit and vulnerable and sad. It’s important to always be REAL. But you can be vulnerable without being a drain.
Let me make a clear distinction here: when you’re suffering from anxiety or depression there is no way your cup is full enough to be able to radiate any kind of positive energy. I speak from personal experience here.
When I first moved back to the UK after six years in Sydney I suffered from depression. I battled with the weather and felt really lonely. I was also going through a horrendous time with a family member. I’m a naturally positive person but I struggled to feel positive during this period, which went on for a few years. And I had two very young children at the time. Yoga – and therapy – got me out in the end.
I’m not talking about mental states here. I’m talking about mindsets.
What sort of mindset do YOU want from YOUR life? I'd wager you'd rather not be a drain on those around you.
So here’s how NOT to be a drain:
· Start a gratitude practice. Those who feel most grateful for what they have already will attract more abundance
· Become a good listener. Don’t always wait for gaps to give your opinion.
· Smile at people when they walk into a room.
· Dish out more compliments.
· Allow yourself the space to feel gloomy but be aware of the impermanence of that emotion and remind yourself that it will pass. Eventually.
· Support others. Being around positive people is infectious. We need to lift each other up more.
It’s not always easy to remove the drains in your life. Sometimes we are stuck with them. But we CAN work on being radiators ourselves. Even if it doesn’t come naturally to us. It's a practice, just like our asana practice.
We do the yoga ultimately so that we are better people to be around so we can be of service to others. We look in, so we can radiate out.