Would you rather have 4 quarters or 100 pennies? It takes less energy to carry four quarters then it does to lug around 100 pennies. This is how I look at my relationships now that I am sober. The 100 pennies are what I call energy vampires, they suck the energy right out of you. While the quarters take up less room and are a lighter load to carry. They are more valuable because they are adding to your energy and not taking away from it.
Here are 5 traits to look for in a quarter
1. They have a similar lifestyle
Have you ever heard the saying, you are a reflection of the 5 closest people in your circle? It’s very true. When you hang out with people who are workaholics, you start to emulate those traits. If your closest peeps are into working out and staying fit, you are more likely to implement fitness into your life. When you have certain goals in life it is important to have someone you interact with regularly that shares similar goals. For my sobriety it was important to find someone who was also living a sober lifestyle to interact with. If I only interacted with drinkers, it would be hard to sustain sobriety.
2. The energy between you is give and take
It’s very important to have an even energy exchange with the people you are spending time with. How do you know if the energy exchange is even? By the way you feel after an interaction with them. Here’s an example. When I was a drinker, there were certain people that I needed to drink to tolerate. If I knew so and so was going to be around me my first thought would be, “I’m gonna need a lot of alcohol to get through this.” If you feel this way about someone that is a HUGE indicator the energy exchange is not equal. They are actually taking from you and not giving back. I call these people energy vampires. These are the people that wear you out. When you leave them you feel like you need a nap. With even energy exchange you feel the opposite. When you are with someone where there is an even give and take of energy you feel heard. The conversations between you are natural and engaging. Time seems to fly by and you can’t wait to see them again. You leave them feeling like your battery has been recharged.
3. They inspire you to be better
To inspire someone you have to truly believe in them. Not everyone in your life is going to truly believe in you. This could be for many reasons, none of them having to be directly with you. The most common reason would be jealousy. An energy vampire can feel very insecure. They use people who are secure and thriving and take that energy for themselves. They do this by cutting you down to their size. By placing their own self doubt into your head. This is a very toxic relationship. If there is someone in your life that always seems to find the negative in your situations or aspirations you need to protect yourself by limiting what you share with them.
4. They have a trait or habit that you want to achieve
This goes along with being inspired. Have you ever met someone and thought, “Wow, I wish I could be like them.” You admire their work ethic, drive, or zest for life. Maybe they have overcome a struggle that you wish you could overcome. These people can sometimes be intimidating. I have experienced this and thought, there is no way they would want to interact with me. This is so far from the truth. These are the people you want to reach out to. Telling them that you admire them feeds their soul just as much as they’re inspiration feeds yours. You will both get an equal energy boost out of that exchange. Just as long as you come from a place of gratitude and not jealousy. You don’t want to be an energy vampire. Statements like “I wish I could have what you have. I am so jealous.” can be a turn off. Saying “Thank you for inspiring me to be better’ will go much further and create a bond.
5. They are confident in the relationship
My deepest connections are with people who want me in their life. They don’t need me. And there is a big difference. Once again, an energy vampire needs you. They are feeding off your energy and so when they are feeling low, they call on you. If there is someone in your life who seems to always need your advice, your time, and your attention you have to set strong boundaries. This might look like not responding right away, or telling them you feel overwhelmed by their constant need to connect. You could also silence their calls or text during the time of day when you are trying to focus on yourself or having down time. With a healthy energy exchange you can go days, weeks, or even months without talking and there isn’t jealousy or resentment. They understand when you need space or don’t text right back. They know that your time and energy is valuable and they respect that. When you connect you pick right up where you left off as if no time has passed. This is because you are both confident in who you are, and therefore energy is evenly disbursed during your interactions.
Drinking attracts energy vampires
Alcohol is a depressant, so it’s no wonder energy vampires prey on us when we are intoxicated. Energetically we vibrate at a lower frequency when we are drinking and that is very attractive to them. While we think drinking will help us get through these interactions I have learned through experience, it’s actually harder to walk away. Now that I am sober, I put my needs first. I excuse myself when I need a break. I will opt out of events or parties when I know there will be energy vampires lurking in every corner. If I can’t opt out of an event, I acknowledge the feelings of being drained and exhausted when they happen and I cut out early. Only when you are sober can you recognize these cues.
Know how to spend your energy
Once you have determined who is feeding your energy and who is draining it, you can make a conscious effort to spend it wisely. It won’t surprise you when I say, spend more time interacting with people who fill your cup then the ones who are emptying it. This could look like scheduling a coffee meet up with one of your quarters when you have a long day ahead of interacting with energy vampires. Or vice versa, meet them for lunch or dinner after energy zapping interactions to fill you back up. Remember your quarters will always make you feel energized, so anytime you feel flat or low it should be an indicator that you need some time with them. At gatherings, be sure to excuse yourself from the energy vampire that backs you into the corner and starts telling you their traumatic life story. As an empath, this can be very hard, but you have to save yourself and your precious energy. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings, they will find someone else willing to listen. They always do.
Let’s not forget how much energy it takes to stay sober.
Sobriety should always be the number one thing you put your energy into. That means even less energy is available for people and things that don’t fulfill your life. Be sure to give yourself plenty of down time and grace as you heal. If there are people who can’t respect that, then you have to let them go. Don’t spend your energy trying to convince them otherwise.
Yours Truly Sober,