What Kind of Energy Are You Bringing?

by Abby on March 28, 2012

Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this spaceI was at the gym, minding my own business while I did my stretching after my workout. Sometimes I pretend to stretch when really I’m just lying there enjoying my final moments of peace before I have to jump back into the fray of writing and toddler-wrangling.

As I was lying there on the mat, a woman came into the room. Her trainer was making small talk, asking her if she’d seen the Oscars the other night. The woman sighed deeply. “Ugh, they were the WORST. Was that the most boring awards show EVER? I mean, Billy Crystal was AWFUL…” She then proceeded to go on like that about her job, the weather, and politics. Her poor trainer. I had to get the heck out of there before this Negative Nellie ruined my day.

Now, I could care less if some random stranger thinks Billy Crystal sucks. Personally, I doubt there will ever be an Oscar host in history who could please everyone from A-list celebrities to disgruntled middle-aged women in Anywhere, America. But that’s beside the point. The point is: one person’s energy can change the mood of an entire room. Or online forum.

“Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this space.” Have you heard this saying before? I have. Probably from Oprah, because let’s face it, that’s where I get most of my life advice.

I’m sure every one of us can think of a person whose energy — good or bad — takes over whatever room they’re in. Whether it’s the hypercritical family member who deftly intersperses jabs at your parenting skills with bright inquiries into the state of your finances, or the upbeat husband who turns even a mundane family dinner into a party.

I’ve noticed, however, that it’s usually the Debbie Downers whose energy has the most power. Why is that? If I’m having a good day, why should I be in a bad mood just because someone else is? Why does one person’s disgust with the price of peaches at the grocery store bother me, just because I’m behind them in line? I’m not sure, but I don’t like it. Why should the negative outweigh the positive?

I am consciously becoming more aware of my moods and my energy, and the effect they have on the people around me. Partly, it’s because of my kids. Children are unbelievably accurate barometers of energy. Several times a day, I notice my 3yo peering into my face, smiling or scowling, reflecting back what he sees.

Because of this newfound awareness, I have become a person who whoops and hollers at a kid’s birthday party to overcompensate for the lackluster employees at the party venue to whom it’s just another one of many events they have to work that day. If I’m in line behind someone who reams out the post office employee for slow service, I make extra sure to be nice when it’s my turn. I crack more jokes. I smile more. I say thank-you more. I give more compliments. (Side note: this is infinitely easier with strangers than, say, my husband. Why IS that?)

If there are any Debbie Downers reading this and rolling their eyes, look: I know I’m not changing the world. But I might be changing someone’s day for the better, even the tiniest bit. And personally, I would rather be the type of person who gives off good energy, rather than infecting people’s souls with toxic negativity. But, hey, it’s your call! I’ll be over there, spreading rainbows and sunshine with my kids. And Billy Crystal.

READ O’ THE DAY: On my new favorite website, Just Be Enough, Kir dares us to be ridiculous and laugh loudly. I’m in!

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Kir March 28, 2012 at 8:10 am

Hi Abby!!!
first, I really liked this post, it’s so true that you have to surround yourself with good energy, good people, laughter and love.

I felt happy just reading this. Also, thank you so much for introducing JUST BE ENOUGH to your readers (I am SO PROUD to write for them and live that kind of BEING ENOUGH life) and for highlighting my piece about being silly…I hope you know that by doing it, You made my day, You brought ENERGY to my day and life. THANK YOU.

(I’ll be subscribing by email to your posts, I love your space. So impressed and jealous of all the writing you’ve done. Seems you have a lot to teach me. 🙂


Abby March 28, 2012 at 10:21 am

Thank YOU, Kir, for reading, commenting, and spreading good energy!


Lou Mello March 28, 2012 at 8:14 am

Love your attitude, it is really so much easier to be nice rather than gloomy or nasty. I know the Debbie and Donnie Downers and I stay clear of them at all costs. I avoid those types of folks like the plague. I used to see if I could change the subject and maybe cheer them a bit, but, apparently they like being the downers.

Golden Rule applies here and it’s just easier for all concerned.


Abby March 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hi, Lou! Welcome back. 🙂 I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered this attitude, but I’m aware of it and trying, so that counts for something, right? You’re right, lots of those people enjoy being downers. They seem to have plenty of company, anyway.


Jan March 28, 2012 at 8:41 am

Thanks for sharing some sunshine and rainbows (and some Billy Crystal) with me this morning. I’m scanning my blog reader this morning and the last blog I read was a real downer. Yes, life has downer moments, but you’ve gotta love the rainbow after the rain!


Abby March 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

Thanks for reading & commenting, Jan!


Ali March 28, 2012 at 8:41 am

For me, having a blog makes me upbeat and happy on days when I probably wouldn’t be as positive. My family reads mine for updates on my son, so there are many days when I have to recall the cute and amusing things my baby does. And, of course, that transforms my mood almost instantly.

Great post!


Abby March 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

You’re right – it forces you to focus on the good stuff. Plus, it’s virtually impossible to be negative all the time with a baby around. Maybe we should lend ours out to the Debbie Downers to see if the kids will rub off on them. 🙂


Nadine Feldman March 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

Like most people, I have my grumpy days, but I try not to infect others with my mood. Often I just need to get outside or exercise or spend a little quality time alone, and the mood shifts. I feel sad for people like this, because life is too short to waste on the petty stuff.


Abby March 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm

A woman after my own heart. Let’s hear it for alone time!


Angie Mizzell March 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm

So true, Abby! It’s one thing to keep it real, it’s another to do it at everyone else expense.


Angie Mizzell March 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

“everyone else’s”… I’d love you if you fix that. 🙂


Abby March 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm

LOL! I’m pretty sure my last 3 comments on your blog have had typos. I’m surprised you haven’t blocked me by now! 😉


Viv March 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm

YOU are a good girl. Having one of those downer weeks and needed desperately to realign my toxic ‘tude. Thanks for checking me, oh wise one!


Sarah March 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

OK, warning: I’m a serious downer. I used to be a lot like you– trying to be extra polite and friendly to everyone I met. Then our daughter died in an accident. Now I try extra hard not to speak to people. I don’t want to answer difficult questions from strangers like, “Oh is he your only child?” I refuse to smile at a mom with small children and ask, “Oh how old are they?” Sometimes people experience really, really horribly cruel things in life that makes them Debbie Downers. Surrounding yourself with good energy and good people as another reader stated is not always enough to change the worst of all possible circumstances.


Abby March 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Oh, Sarah. I’m so glad to see you here. You are not a Debbie Downer. You’re someone who has suffered a terrible loss and is grieving. My heart goes out to you. Knowing stories like yours makes me even more impatient with people who whine and complain over trivial things.


stephanie March 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Abby- thank you for all of the good energy you give off!


jetts31 March 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I’m usually the one making dinner a party. I’ve been known to dance on top of our coffee table in the living room with the kids…oh yeah.


Kelli March 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Great post – just popped over to Just.Be.Enough. I’ll have to start following. Thanks for sharing! Made me think of another site I just started following – http://www.billionclicks.org – about focusing on the positive. Love sites like these!


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