You’re salivating aren’t you? Promiscuity? This is going to be one juicy post! What in the world could CK be alluding to with such a provocative title?
Well, you’re definitely right, the title is titillating, and if it evokes the concept of doing you know what with lots of you know who’s, you’re on the right track.
But I’m not talking about sex here, people. I’m talking about a totally different form of spreading the love, as it were. And honestly, it’s not about love. It’s about promiscuity.
I’m talking about merging energetic boundaries, the way people’s energies and emotions merge during sex. The surrender of self-containment, autonomy.
I’m talking about over-identification, hyper-sensitivity, taking on and filling up with other people’s energy and emotions – in the name of love, empathy, connection, caring, relationship.
If you’re swimming in other people’s emotional soup, then you’re energetically promiscuous. And like sex, unprotected energetic promiscuity is not without its risks.
When healing practitioners come to Energy Healing Institute, we spend a large chunk of time on this issue. Burnt out healers get that way from taking on the emotions, energies and burdens of their clients. They’re dealing with a level of promiscuity that unravels their autonomy and self-awareness, diminishing their energetic boundaries. And doing so can cause implications across the board – body, mind and spirit.
And in case you’re reading this post and don’t serve as a healing practitioner of one sort or another – you’re still a son or daughter, spouse or partner, friend, colleague, professional. And if you’re feeling what ‘they’re’ feeling, I have a feeling your energetic boundaries are out of whack.
What is it about our societal conditioning and programming that makes us all believe that the way to be loving, friendly, caring, in relation is to feel someone else’s emotions?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and tell you one of my most important criteria for choosing a healer to support me in a healing process: their ability to hold their own space, regardless of whatever emotions or releases I might be experiencing. A healer who feels my feelings creeps me out, makes me feel panicky and squirrely inside. I want to run, escape, get away. I feel slimed. They’re my feelings, my emotions, it’s my drama, my story, and I didn’t go to see the healer to merge, I went to release and realign within myself.
Therapists are trained to work with counter-transference – that’s the technical term for over-identifying with their patients and their experiences. Therapists learn to navigate the space of transference (when the client projects his or her stuff on to the therapist) and counter-transference in the clinical practice setting, but even they are at risk of burnout, because they’re not trained to think in terms of the energetic promiscuity that takes place.
If your pet just passed away and you’re grieving and a client comes in with a story about his or her pet nearing the end of its life, it’s easy to jump in there and commiserate. To feel the client’s deep sadness and grief of losing a beloved pet through the mirror and the lens of your own grief and loss.
Easy, yes. Appropriate, no.
So try this.
When you’re with a patient/client, or you’re being a son, daughter, spouse, partner, friend, colleague, professional, and someone is unloading a steaming tray of emotion, imagine pulling all of your energy out of the interaction. Not your attention, that can stay put. Not your compassion, that can infuse the interaction. But your energy – pull that out.
Imagine that your energy is contained in a balloon, and that the balloon is influenced by the space between you and other. Yet it’s YOUR balloon, so you can regulate how tightly you hold the string so that it doesn’t waft into the other’s air currents.
Sometimes it’s helpful to physically pull back as well. If you find yourself leaning in to the other person’s story, lean back. Shift your position so that you are separated, distinct, contained within your own space.
If your attention and compassion remain connected to the interaction, you won’t leave anyone in the lurch, and the interaction can complete without the merging that takes place with energy promiscuity. You’ll feel better, they’ll feel better, and you’ll be able to honestly say, ‘it was good for me.’
And if you want to know more about how to create effective energy boundaries, consider joining the group of people who will be attending Energy Awareness, Part 1 and 2 this September. EHI is offering a 30% discount on Human Anatomy & Energy Anatomy as well as three free clinics to participants of the September Energy Awareness course. We’d love to have you join us.
And keep your vital energy flowing.