Desperate to Eradicate the Complain-Drain
Everyone is always talking about their “a-ha’s”, these moments of realisation. I call them “big red firetruck” moments; you can’t miss them.
Working with the weekly call topics is always amazing for me. This process always starts with the crunchy opposites and frustrations “detoxing” – the what’s-not-it flushes out and becomes really obvious. This week, thinking about what I need for the next few months – or the next “grade” of my vision – has flushed out a huge a-ha about how I operate socially.
I’m that person everyone tells their secrets to! I would say that’s because of what I do for a living – Homeopath – but that’s not really true; I’ve always been that person. l am honoured by this for sure, and I am really only interested in people for who and what they authentically are, BUT this also means I attract a lot of negative social reality: complaining, gossip, ranting, opinions… l find this not only uninteresting, but really stressful. In the practical I find myself locked into a corner in a private conversation at parties, or ignored because people are embarrassed about the conversation they had with me at the last party. In the “professional” I find myself giving free consults all of the time (again, locked in a private conversation) or completely rejected because I stepped in with a solution when the other person was just looking to vent. That’s a great way to end one of those conversation, absolutely, but these are social engagements and it translates into friction and not being liked. It doesn’t feel good for me or the other person. And worse, these conversations kill any word of mouth clients I might get. I’m perceived as difficult or “ineffective”. It took me a long long time to realise and understand that those conversations hurt my business. People never actually do the solutions I suggest, but they translate it into having “tried Homeopathy and it doesn’t work”. On a personal level that hurts too. It doesn’t feel good at all to be the person people avoid at parties. And finally, on a physical level, this really affects my energy levels. Forget the sensitivities or how perceptive I am, there’s that for sure, but mostly it’s just exhausting. When people get in that kind of social interaction, they are just detoxing or they become really heavy and negative.
It can literally take me an entire week to recover from a dinner party.
This topic landed perfectly. I’m really fed up with this pattern in my social interactions, and I’d also like to have more energy to put towards living my life, rather than being the dumping ground for others. I NEED that. I’d like to exercise more. I’d like to write more. I’d like to read more fiction. I’d like to have more zen to reflect to my clients. I’d like to make more jewellery, and I’d like to stay up late learning Instagram to sell more of it. Quite simply, I’d like to have the energy to extend outwards, as all the pieces of my vision are requiring that next. Because I am by nature an introvert – and super conscious of how that impacts my energy levels and causes me to “go dark” – I need to learn to manage this better.
Funny too, it’s one thing to complain about it, and another to actually do something about it. I have been moaning about it for years, complaining and whining that my energy is so dragged down by people’s complaining. A few months ago, I noticed that in myself, me doing a ton of complaining. It’s kind of like that door is open, so I complain too, gets mixed with my need to match the other person, not be “too happy”. As soon as I would notice myself complaining, I’d stop, change the subject, whatever. The other person is pretty open to that – mostly… but that’s another story; some people want the conversation in that spot – and I noticed it really changed the dynamics of the conversation. I didn’t have a lot to talk about, so the space got filled with more of their complaining.
Excellent. Fortunately I was really conscious of all of this – wanted it to change – so I took lots of action. I left the room. I ignored it. I stopped commenting. I changed the subject. These all worked of course, but only as deflectors, and only for a short time. The conversation would generally move back to the original location. It was so so frustrating, and because I was actively trying to change it, it went from draining me to producing the opposite reactions. I became red hot around it. I found myself storming out of conversations, rolling my eyes (a DISGUSTING thing to do to someone, just disgusting), tisking and shaking my head, once or twice exclaiming “oh gawd, whatever”, also laughing at people and shit disturbing.
Laughing and shit disturbing is my thing. It happens when I am so angry and unable to express it or resolve it, so I just turn the whole thing into some sort of game. It is absolutely unproductive, and historically people don’t find that funny at all. OR they get nervous. Really nervous, and I win. Super unproductive. BUT because it was in this particular context – desperate to eradicate the complain-drain – I instantly noticed that people were responding to my social push back.
Enter this call topic: what do I need? Well, I need to be creating gentle boundaries, and also new habits around this social engagement style. I have discovered that it is in fact possible, and the success of it his happening really quickly. First of all, I think it has everything to do with me declaring to myself that it is indeed a required change. Then, it took ME noticing the behaviour in my bad ass self. The shift for me is not just thinking the solution is the complete removal of that conversational variable. It’s both a current conversational style and a family conversational style. It’s everywhere. Next, it took me realising that I could ask people – not directly, people are really hurt by that – with my behaviour and comments to not do this, or let them know in some way it’s not OK. That’s still bumpy, but it works. The more I practice consciously, the more gentle and polite I am delivering that message, and that’s so so important to me. So many of my social interactions are with close family and friends. In the classic introverted heart, my peeps are sacred ground. I love them with every cell, and they feed that deepest part of me that is just as terrified of separation as I am desperate for it. There is no such thing, and at that place we are all just ether.
My big phat a-ha, as promised:
I can take ownership of the conversation, even before I get there. The one beautiful thing I have learned in life thus far, is that “energetic sensitivity” is a 2 way street. it is in fact the conversation. I use intention to weed out the parts of the conversation that drain me or I have a physical aversion to (anxiety). Before I go to a social engagement, I am clear about what I want the conversation to feel like and be about. In a way, I ask them for specific information and to give me a specific kind of energy. I do NOT think all the way to their house about the things I do NOT want. And in the moment, when we slide down the old path, the subject change skills I have crafted over the last few weeks (albeit explosively) get picked up immediately. It’s amazing.
This is so totally empowering for me, and what I’m noticing quickly, is that it is for them too. They get to enjoy that part of themselves too. So much of our social interaction is spent co-miserating, and the reality is most of us don’t like that at all. It’s a habit that is leaving our social space. Somehow they are noticing in ME that particular open door, and they choose to walk into that room instead. I’m noticing it is a space people are choosing to be in really easily. My shift in perspective around it – intended interaction vs boundary against unwanted interaction – is making all the difference.
And I love love it. I need it.