This might be the most woo post ever. But lately I’ve been thinking about the kind of energy I share with those around me.
We talk about people who “light up a room” when they walk into it. And others who “kill the vibe” with their presence. What does that mean?
I am slowly starting to realize that my own energy affects those around me in ways I don’t totally understand. If I’m anxious, others get more antsy around me. If I’m upset about something, others can sense that and get agitated along with me.
I think I’ve known this for awhile, but thought about it as something I don’t have much control over. E.g. I used to believe that I had a serious, dour demeanor, even if I was in a relatively good mood. (E.g. “resting bitch face.”) And so I thought that others felt that I wasn’t enjoying their company of what we were doing together.
But now I realize that I have some control over the kind of energy I want to bring into a space. This came to me first as an educator. I might not be feeling enthused about teaching something. Or I might feel nervous about my new class. Or upset about something totally unrelated. But I know that if I don’t bring as much positive energy into the room as possible, it’s going to be a harder class for everyone. So I intentionally focused on the kind of feelings I want others to have, and I manifest those feelings in myself — excitement, curiosity, playfulness, empathy. And I’ve seen that it can make a difference in how a class goes and the experience that folks have.
That isn’t reserved for the classroom. I experience it every time I go to the skating rink. I see someone struggling with a move, perhaps looking annoyed or frustrated. I’ve found that if I gently reach out, ask what they are working on, provide any tips if I have time, or just an encouraging word, that it can make a big difference in that person’s experience at the rink.
Or just shouting out someone for nailing a move, or looking fancy, or just feeling the music can make someone’s night. “I see you!” “Let’s go!”
That energy is a power that I and everyone else has, whether we choose to use it or not. I want to get better at using mine to encourage, bring light, spread joy, and elicit kindness.