Written By: Divya LV Jegasundaram
Have you ever spent time with a friend, colleague or loved one who leaves you feeling as if the life has been sucked right out of you? Completely deflated? Low on energy? Your personal drive plummeted to the ground? Yet, things in your own world seem to be going well and you felt great before this encounter.
So, why the change?
A few years ago, I came across an article discussing the "drainers" and "radiators" as individuals or environments in our lives. The "drainers" being the people or activities that absolutely suck the energy, drive and enthusiasm out of us, whilst the "radiators" bring the joy, happiness, fulfillment and drive into our lives. There seems to be a general increase nowadays in the number of people wanting to better themselves, whether it is physically, mentally, emotionally or materially. There is also a burning desire among many of us to be more introspective and mindful, so we set out upon a path of personal development, attempting to create and live a life better than we could have ever imagined. But what do we do when our circle of friends, family or supporters don't want to live the same way? How do we live life by our own standards, follow our own dreams and yet maintain the relationships of the ones we have become so used to?
Upon embarking on this journey of self-discovery and improvement, I found myself getting more and more impatient with either certain activities or people in my life. I paid attention to how my energy and mood would immediately shift when I became subject to particular people and environments. My inner voice would scream at me to "get away" from the environment that was creating this feeling. Yet, I would stay.
Was it out of duty? Obligation? Being polite? Scared to offend? Fear of being not liked?
I wasn't sure.
On the other hand, what a world of difference I would experience when engaged in fulfilling activities or with people who contributed towards me feeling as if the world was my oyster, full of every opportunity I could possibly imagine, encouraging and supporting my dreams, visions and goals.
What was my inner voice saying now? Where was the nagging?
Instead, that voice was singing happy songs, soaking up every ounce of positivity that I possibly could. Now my internal dialogue was focused on how I could spend more time doing what gave me this incredible sense of happiness, or being around those who were contributing towards this sudden burst of invincibility, energy and personal growth. My drains and radiators were now identifiable and staring me straight in the face.
So, what could I do next?
Well, it dawned on me that just as we spend time de-cluttering our homes, or we plan for that dreaded annual spring clean, perhaps even the treacherous exercise of sorting through our closets discarding all the things we don't like or use anymore, how often do we step back and take a good look at who we are allowing into our lives? How often do we take the time to evaluate the activities, friendships, and relationships we have and decide if they are empowering or disempowering us? What would our lives look like if we could move away from the 'drainers' and instead surround ourselves with the 'radiators?'
Well...if only it was that simple.
I had to find a place for the unnamed category of people who sit comfortably between being draining and radiating. Through victories and defeats, good times and bad, successes and failures, these are the people who have been there for us. So how can we just spring clean them out of our lives?
The answer is- we don't.
What we can do is learn to become consciously aware of the impact that this person is having on us, embrace and acknowledge the good that they have brought into our lives when we have needed it, and mindfully take the time to re-energize ourselves after such encounters. Doing this successfully will empower us to maintain the relationship in a manner that doesn't continually affect us negatively.
As humans we are creatures of habit, and so it goes that most choices we make will be based on what we know, along with past or current experiences. Life is certainly easier when we can just carry on doing what we have always done.
However, how can we expect different outcomes, different successes, and different results when we don't change anything in our process? Do we continue to act the way we've always acted? Speak the way we've always spoken?
This realization for me, as it may be for you, was a time of discovery, change and hard decision making. It certainly wasn't easy to detach myself from the people that I had become so used to leaning on and become so accustomed to being drained by. This was all outweighed by a feeling of liberation. A happy soul. A peaceful mind. Energy renewed. Finally, the heavy weight of my 'drainers' lifted. Going through this process of self-discovery, I have also been able to identify the times that I am either being that 'drainer' or 'radiator' to others and so with that awareness in check, I now choose to only radiate.
What do you choose?
Divya LV Jegasundaram is an Internationally Certified Fulfillment Coach & Master Spirit Life Coach, Best-Selling Author (co-Authored '20 Beautiful Women: Volume 2'), mentor and speaker based in Toronto, Canada. Born and brought up in Oxford, England, Divya moved to Toronto as a Bank Manager for one of the world's largest banks before changing her career path to Life Coaching where she specializes in fulfillment, empowerment, sales, business, mindfulness and wellness. Divya is known internationally for her work and has been both recognized and honored for her career success and service to society. Social work, charity, focus, ambition and a strong personal drive have been inherent qualities that Divya has emulated in all aspects of her social, family and professional life. Different life experiences piqued her interest and passion for helping others to formulate, shape and achieve their goals, dreams and desires. Her ability to affect others positively is born from a patient and understanding temperament, a strong will, extraordinary drive and a humanity that radiates and embraces those around her. Divya is also kept busy being a wife and raising her two daughters to be beautiful women of the future.