'Drainers' vs. 'Radiators'

Have you ever spent time with a friend, colleague or loved one and left them feeling as if the life has been sucked right out of you? Yet, things in your own world seem to be going well and you felt great before this encounter.
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Written By: Divya LV Jegasundaram

Have you ever spent time with a friend, colleague or loved one and left them feeling as if the life has been sucked right out of you? 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."

"Drainers" are the people 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. 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 my 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, when engaged in fulfilling activities or with people who contributed did the same, I'd leave them feeling as if the world was an oyster, full of every opportunity I could possibly imagine.

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.

My "drainers" and "radiators" were now easily identifiable and staring me straight in the face.

So, what did I do next?

Well, it dawned on me that just we spend time de-cluttering our homes, or we plan for that dreaded annual spring clean but 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. 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?

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.

Also 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.