An energy vampire can be defined as a person, activity, or thing that drains you of your vital life-energy and leaves you feeling depleted, frustrated, or completely bewildered with emotions that aren’t your own, or at least weren’t yours to begin with but have been imprinted on you.
I learned this term from a dear friend of mine, Veda, in Hawaii– @laveda.ayurveda on Instagram. Being the innately spiritually attuned soul that she is, Veda informed me that the feeling I got after encountering someone particularly negative was due to energy vampirism.
A lot of the time, people don’t even realize what they’re doing when they’re being energy vampires. I know I’ve caught myself plenty of times in the midsts of ‘venting’ and realized I had to take a step back and turn to my journal instead.
But some people know very well what they’re doing and just simply don’t care.
While being compassionate is always recommended, sometimes it’s not optimal for your health to emotionally invest in other peoples’ problems–especially those you don’t even know!
The most obvious cases of energy vampirism have happened to me by complete and utter strangers. You know, those people who scan a room and approach anyone who happens to look even remotely in their direction– zero in on them, and immediately talk at them.
If this has happened to you then you know that in these types of situations the vampire has no interest in what you could possibly contribute to the conversation, even if they feign it for a moment or two, the conversation always shifts backs to them and their needs.
Social media can also be an energy-sucker. So can certain activities that simply don’t serve you, your goals, or add any value to your life and even worse– steal away your time, energy, or money.
Recently I was listening to a From the Heart podcast (@yoga_girl) where Rachel Brathen was explaining how after one of her spiritual awakenings earlier in her life she used to absolutely refuse to take part in any small talk that didn’t serve her and would simply tell the person who was trying to engage with her, “This really isn’t resonating with me. I have to go.” And she would walk away abruptly.
She pokes fun at herself and admits that she wishes she wasn’t so abrasive. While Rachel’s method is certainly one way to avoid energy-sucking activities and people, there are other, more subtle methods to releasing yourself from the bondage of these vitality guzzlers.
- Fill your time and space with things that DO add value to your life.
- Set boundaries. Decide for yourself how long you’re going to give your time and energy to something whether that be Instagram, the stranger on the street who is telling you his life story, or a work project. Once the timer in your head is up– kindly move on.
- Allow yourself to say NO. And don’t feel obliged to give any explanation whatsoever. Your time is your own– you don’t have to justify how you spend it to anyone.
- Smile and walk away. This one is my favorite. If you feel frustrated and can’t find the words to express yourself– don’t fumble over and over in your head with an appropriate exit strategy. Just keep it simple and remove yourself from the discomfort, giving yourself time to recenter and then return to the project, conversation, or activity when you’re good and ready–or don’t.
- Recognize when you are the energy vampire. Often times we steal away our own energy by not setting proper boundaries– or we suck the energy of others by venting feverishly to no avail simply because we aren’t aware and haven’t devised a proper outlet for our feelings.
In our society it’s hard to recognize these things, so be gentle with yourself.
I mean, it’s not like we are taught in school, or university even, how to sit with our feelings and manage them properly (aside from the occasional liberal arts elective). So don’t be harsh with yourself , or others for that matter.
And when it doubt– smile and walk away :).
Be well xx.