Energy: None of that Low-Grade Sh*t

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How do you feel right now? Go ahead, answer me. Close your eyes and feel yourself for a second (I mean without your hands).

That, my friends, is your energy.

And you're not hiding it. It's right there in the open. We're all rubbing against it and shit.


What are you doing with it?

a lit lightbulb on a wooden table

lightbulb you are RESPONSIBLE for that energy you puttin' out—don't even try to front .photo courtesy of

Forgive me for admitting that I was never a religious Oprah watcher. But I’ll be damned if I don’t realize the woman is amazing. 

Several years ago, Oprah was on as I was rifling through my mom’s closet for a scarf to borrow (cool, Megg!). I paused as I heard the show pause. It was essential—we all knew—to hear what Oprah said next.

Brace yourselves:

“You are responsible for the energy you bring into a room”

She repeated it—"You are responsible for the energy you bring into a room."

In the five-or-so years since, my brain hears the sentence repeated by that matchless voice on a near-weekly basis. There have been lapses—times when I’ve failed to remember for months on end.

But invariably a day will come along where everything’s been shit: I’ve woken up tired, been late to all things all day, felt busy without any results.

Then I meet up with friends that night and feel like a cheap piece of tape—I try to attach myself to someone for conversation and nobody seems to stick.

man tied up with scotch tape and post-its

tape is just annoying sometimes, know what I mean? photo courtesy of

What’s happened is this:

I brought my shit day with me. These people who generally love me have noticed without consciously noticing that being near me is wearisome. Even though I’m there in front of them, my engagement is still off somewhere buried under a stack of problems that no longer exist in the present moment.

We’re all guilty of it.

How many people sit down to lunch with a friend or lover and say something along the lines of, “Sorry if I’m in a bad mood, it’s been a crappy day.” And you’re expected to say, “Oh no, what happened?” then listen to a list of negative events that probably have no real relevance to life anymore.

Are we just supposed to swallow this down?

spoonful of capsules

So I just have to take them all, yes? And theyre healthy like fruit? photo courtesy of

A bad day does not excuse the propagation of negativity.

In fact, it should invite the exact opposite. Why do we bow down to a series of punches instead of standing up with optimism and taking on the responsibility of balancing the negative with our own damn fists?

Using prior bad luck to explain current bad behavior is—simply put—lazy.

Yet wallowing in negativity is frustratingly easy. Why do we love it so much?

It’s been proven that when we’re in a bad mood, something as simple as smiling can literally help to pull us out of it.  So we know this...and yet how many of us have actually made a habit of smile-forcing when we’re feeling blue?

It’s mind-boggling.

We decide instead that it’s easier to remain in the mire because we allow ourselves to forget how literally attainable it is to feel better. It just takes a little face work.

woman smiling infront of green screen

a nice healthy dose of forced smiling from yours truly

We grow up inundated with the notion that our life goal should have something to do with serving others, yet we don’t spend time learning how to serve ourselves.

I have certain friends that are consistent sources of negativity. Nothing ever seems to go right for them. And nothing ever seems to get done as an attempt to really change their circumstances.

I’m not writing a guide on how to be a good friend here, but I will say that like it or not, friends will vent. Sometimes it is important to give a shoulder to cry on. We all love and need bitching—sometimes.

But the moment we choose to put ourselves on the receiving end of a friend’s negative energy is the moment we choose to stand across from a charging station.

Do we really want to charge up the level of negative energy in our lives? Or do we want to plug into the other outlet: joy?

european plug plugged into wall outlet

Joy or Negativity: Which is it going to be?photo courtesy of

I want to be always mindful of my energy and how I wield it, and I want to surround myself with people who do the same. In the unexamined life, we are seldom aware of how we affect others.

Here is a reminder for all of us:

We will have bad days, and sometimes they will seem insurmountable. But in the badness we can create one act of good: to think twice before enveloping the people we love.

Not that we should stuff the feelings down and ignore them unmindfully. Work to escape the unexamined and negative life through journaling, self-improvement, and therapy. Those are just a few of the ways we can air out our demons without fanning them onto someone else.

I am energy, and I am the only one responsible for what I bring into a room.

If you’re with me on that, let’s talk. If you’re’s not.

Do you have energy-sucking friends? Lovers? Family? Is that a rhetorical question? How do you handle them?

Am I too harsh to imply that maybe the friends should be ditched?

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