Although we constantly strive to maintain an awareness of our connection with God and to do the things that bring us joy, we’re still learning how to love ourselves in this fashion. We may forget a day or two, or let a week go by thinking we can get away without this type of maintenance. Ordinary life presents a host of challenges that, when coupled with our beliefs and attitudes, tend to throw us off balance, drain us, or cause us to “pick up” energies that aren’t even our own. In order to get back in balance more quickly, it is important to “know your flow,” or in other words, be in touch with your mind, body, and emotions so you can detect situations that drain or burden you and quickly respond to such situations in a healthy manner.
Knowing your flow means taking time to become acquainted with yourself throughout the day. It means checking in with yourself to see how you are feeling: whether you are happy or sad, whether you like the situations you find yourself in, what your body requires at any given time, and what the needs of your spirit may be. Knowing your flow means learning to sense or become intuitively aware of the energies that flow through you on a daily basis.
In order to get better acquainted with yourself, try the following exercise. Several times a day, check in with yourself. Ask yourself how your body feels, and how you feel emotionally. If you don’t feel great, ask yourself when was the last time you did, and what happened between now and then. Learn to identify the things that trigger you to get off balance or out of a happy space. Just note these things for now.
As you do this exercise, you will learn a great deal about the flow of energies throughout your mind and body. You will discover when you get hungry and what you crave. You will learn how your bodily sensations relate to your physical and emotional state of being. You will become more sensitive to your own needs. If you persist, you will learn to pay attention to physical signals that tell you when your emotions need attention.
If you pay attention to your body and emotions throughout the day, you will not find yourself so drained and cranky at times. You’ll know when you need something and you’ll be able to stop and figure out how to address your needs in a healthy way. For example, suppose you wake up in the morning, and have a difficult time getting yourself out of bed. You notice that there is tension in your lower back when you think of another long day at work. Promise yourself that you will engage in some pleasurable activity in the near future. Breathe deeply, and watch your back relax.
Suppose you check in with yourself mid-evening after a call to a friend or family member and discover that despite your love for this person, you feel emotionally drained and your jaw is tense. The jaw is about self-expression. Did you feel choked off in your telephone conversation, or as if the other person didn’t listen to you? If so, you will know next time to simply say to the other, “I don’t feel like you’re listening to me and I really need to express this,” or “I really care about you and would like you to hear my suggestions,” or “I really don’t feel comfortable with this conversation,” etc. As you recognize your need for expression, your energy will return.
Taking time to know your flow will assist you in preparing to deal with situations that drain you. For example, I once had a coworker who loved to talk about himself. The first few minutes of the conversation were interesting, but soon after, he began to repeat himself, and consequently bored me to tears. I didn’t realize until I did this exercise that my energy began to drain the minute I saw him walking down the hallway. My jaw would tense up, my lower back would become tight, and I would do my best to avoid him.
As I realized what was draining me, I found that it wasn’t him, but rather my own un-willingness to speak up and end the conversation. Because I was afraid of being rude, I was compromising my time and energy. I learned when he started a conversation to listen for a few minutes, change the topic, or politely excuse myself. I no longer felt drained when I saw him coming. Knowing my flow gave me the opportunity to analyze what drained me and how I might deal with the situation in a healthier way.
For many years of my life, I was a “rescuer” and a martyr. I wanted people to understand my very great love for them and I went tout of my way to make sure they did. If someone wanted my assistance, I would go to great lengths to give of myself, whether or not it was healthy for either one of us. My desperate need to be known as a loving and caring soul drove me to exhaustion on a regular basis.
Over time, and because of some tough lessons and plenty of loving, direct dialogue with my angels, I learned that I couldn’t save or fix anyone if God wants them to learn a lesson. I can only serve as a loving guide. I am now honest about what I can authentically give. I share words of wisdom and insight when asked, and I offer compassionate love and understanding. However, I now know that I cannot do the spiritual work for another, and I accept that as a fact of life.
Knowing my flow helped me see my tendency to martyr myself, and inspired me to seek out ways in which I could serve others’ souls rather than give in to the demands of their personalities. Knowing my flow helps me realize when I can truly give of myself, versus the times when I would be giving out of a fear of being misunderstood.
If you are a sensitive and caring soul, chances are likely you also feel drained by people who desperately want you to help them fix their lives – whether it be the parents who want you to attend to their constant demands, the friends who would rather dump their marital difficulties on you instead of communicating with their spouses or going to counseling, or the spouses/friends/grown children who are depressed and refuse to seek out their own help. The truth is that you are drained by your own self-judgment when you can’t give others what they want.
No matter how needy, demanding, or clingy other people are, they are not the ones that drain us. We, in our unwillingness to take care of ourselves, drain our own energy. This is an important concept to embrace if we are to take responsibility for maintaining our own energy levels.
If you know your flow, you’ll realize that when you feel full, happy, and satisfied in life, you can truly assist people with a joyful heart. You can listen compassionately, offer advice after asking permission to do so, and lend a hand in a very practical manner.
Knowing your flow is imperative to maintaining a healthy energy field. Learn to know when you can deal with difficult people and situations and when you cannot. Learn to know when your body requires rest and food, and when it needs activity. Check in with yourself on a regular basis, and you will find it is not so difficult after all to recognize the situations that drain you.
Once you identify these situations, there are myriad ways you can solve them. Answers often come in meditation. You can pray for a way to solve the situation. You can talk to a trusted friend and ask him or her what he/she would do in that situation. You can seek out counseling, visit a healer, or engage in a group discussion. There are always ways to learn to deal with people and situations, but first you must identify the energy drains.