If someone is taking advantage of you, leave them without ill-feelings and focus your energy on the people who are open to giving it back.
I read a great article about “nice guys” by Doug Sandler, which was posted here on The Good Men Project on February 20th. It really got me thinking, and not only because throughout the article I kept feeling as though he was writing about me. It was more than that, though. I kept hearing the words in my head that so many friends and even exes have told me throughout the years, “they’re taking advantage of you.”
Whether the people from my past were or were not taking advantage of me is not important to this conversation. It’s highly debatable, and I imagine a mixed bag anyway. Instead, what I would like to focus on is energy, or more specifically, the energy exchange. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone where you walked away feeling intelligent, or funny, or just fantastic? It is likely that the person that you were talking to was giving you their energy during that conversation. Some of you guys may have even left that conversation on top of the world and later told the same story to someone else who left you feeling confused, gullible, or even a bit dumb. That exchange was with a person who was taking your energy. It was the same story after all, so why wouldn’t you feel the same way after both conversations? Right?!?
Being a nice guy, one of my strengths is giving energy to others. I genuinely care about them, so I give them my attention when they are speaking. It’s more than just listening though. It’s the verbal and physical cues that are given to let them know that I am interested. It’s the questions that are asked that dig deeper into their story, or the reply of a shared experience that puts us on the same wavelength.
In turn, when they feel my energy, they do become more interesting, wittier, and more creative because they have the confidence that we are on the same level. Their walls come down leaving them free to turn the conversation into a performance without fear of being laughed at. By doing so, their energy is being given back to me. Both of us leave the conversation full of energy, understanding, and most of the time, genuine happiness. This is energy exchange at it’s best.
The people in my past who were warning me about being taken advantage of were coming from a place of scarcity. Those same people usually have walls up because they are afraid that others will take their energy. It’s not a good feeling for any of us to have our energy taken. We have all felt it before, and it can bring you down quickly at best. At worst, usually after a long period such as with a significant other or spouse, it will destroy your confidence and self-love. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.
The people who are coming from a place of scarcity never want to feel like that so–up go their walls. “If I give someone my energy, I will have less of it, and they may take advantage of me.” This is a problem because if they aren’t open to giving energy, it will never flow back to them fully either. They will never feel like they are full and that will make them even more likely to not want to give away energy. It’s a downward spiral.
If you come from a place of abundance, you will freely give energy to others knowing that it will flow back to you. In fact, when you start giving energy to others, you will realize that you feel even more energized after the exchange than before. It’s as if your energy coming together has multiplied leaving both of you with more than when you started.
This is a huge realization because you know that when someone has drained you that you can fill back up by giving energy to someone else who is open to the exchange. Using this secret weapon will improve relationships with friends or coworkers, with your children, with clients, and especially with your significant other.
I am the host of the Veteran Resource Podcast where I interview a different veteran-focused non-profit every episode to better inform veterans of the tens of thousands of organizations that are out there with programs and opportunities to improve their lives. After almost every single interview, I stop recording and the guest starts gushing about how incredible our conversation was. Some say they do interviews all the time, and it has never felt like this. That is because I give them my energy throughout the entire interview. We both leave feeling on top of the world and for many of them, they end up with an interview that is the best they have ever given. There has even been about five where I had so much energy that I couldn’t get to sleep hours later. I just laid in bed smiling at the ceiling. How would you like to feel like that on a regular basis? You can!
So what if someone really does take advantage of you? I am reminded of a training CD from Tony Robbins in which he told a story about his father-in-law who used to have a garden every year. One of his friends asked him if he was going to put up a fence around it because some of the rabbits were getting in and eating some of the vegetables. He said that he wasn’t concerned.
His friend said, “well, what if they eat half of your vegetables.” His father-in-law replied, “then I will just plant twice as much.” I have the same advice for you. Don’t be afraid of being taken advantage of. Don’t be guided by fear. Open yourself up to others and if someone is taking advantage of you, leave them without ill-feelings and focus your energy on the people who are open to giving it back.
Photo: Flickr/ Pray 4 Serbia