Unpredictable or confusing actions from friends, family, coworkers, romantic partners and strangers can quickly trigger an emotional response. You can run yourself ragged trying to understand why they choose to conduct themselves in a way that seems so illogical and counterproductive to you: Why are they acting this way? What have *I* done to deserve this? How do they think this will solve anything? What were they thinking??
At the heart of every single action and reaction is a simple principle that, once you understand it, will shift the entire paradigm by which you view others’ actions. When you can accept this fundamental driving force, you’ll be able to release some of your own emotional charge and, as a result, your efforts to shift the dynamic will become much more effective.
Understanding how energetic exchange works
First things first: in order to get a sense of the real dynamics at play, you must understand the important role of energy in creating and fueling relationships and human interaction.
In the broadest sense, energy is the fundamental force that makes things happen. From a classical physics perspective, energy allows for any change to take place in the physical universe and it operates consistently across all systems. When energy is freely cycled between people, it has an amplifying effect and all parties benefit. On the other hand, if one party is putting out more energy than the other (for example, if you warmly ask a friend a question and they respond with a short, dismissive answer), you have spent more energy than was generated from the interaction. The full amount of the energy you put forth was not cycled back to you. Therefore, this interaction created a deficit.
Energy can be used to support or deplete energetic systems. The outcome depends on how energy is being processed and used within each person. Simply put, the easier it is for us to absorb and move energy in ways which serve our goals, the happier we feel. Because everything requires energy to live and to expand, positive energy interactions create more potential to see our goals manifest into reality.
Why trying to figure out other people’s motivations is a waste of time
You’ve probably spent a ton of effort trying to understand why other people behave in ways that you do not find acceptable. You may intentionally or compulsively rack your brain trying to retrace logic that isn’t yours, building up a mental catalogue of all the ways others act that opposes how you would handle the situation.
Unfortunately, not only does this mental activity not actually “solve” anything, you’re simply pumping more and more of your own precious personal energy into the situation, thereby increasing the power of the very thing you’re trying to avoid. Ultimately, you’re directing energy toward the person you feel has wronged you instead of applying your energetic stores toward your own wellbeing.
The overarching “WHY”
Trying to figure out the individual cause-and-effect of every action taken by others is a waste of your time. Instead, understanding what drives every interaction requires just understanding a single, crucial principle: everything everyone does is to get energy.
When someone acts in a way that you didn’t anticipate, it is because (believe it or not) this strategy makes sense to them. Somewhere along the way, this approach has worked to help them obtain more energy. It’s not personal; it’s simply something that they feel has worked in the past.
Obtaining energy in positive, sustainable, healthy ways
The bottom line is that each of us has the goal—whether we realize it or not—of facilitating the absorption of more energy for ourselves. In this way, we’re like everything else in the natural world. You don’t begrudge the sunflower for growing in a way that is designed to trap the most energy as it tracks the movement of the sun. The same principle is in effect during our own cognitive processing and operation.
Unfortunately, most people don’t always recognize how to obtain energy in positive, sustainable ways. Therefore, they resort to strategies that deliver energy in negative, unsustainable ways. It’s a bit like eating: you can either choose to nourish your body with high-energy foods like complex carbohydrates or lean meat, or you can choose to grab a bag of chips from the convenience store. Both will give you enough nutrients to survive in the short-term but the former fuels your body more efficiently for the long run and improves your health, while the latter damages your health over time.
How to spot negative energetic strategies
A negative energetic strategy is one that often manipulates to grab energy from others and does not provide as much positive energy as it takes. There are many examples of negative energetic strategies but here are some of the most common:
- Over-giving (“The Good Person Syndrome”)
The minute you can identify that a negative energetic strategy is at play, you have automatically distanced yourself from it. It no longer has to impact you because you don’t get caught up in the “why” in the first place. Spotting a negative strategy enables you to choose not to engage it. Instead, you can transform your thoughts about the situation, recognizing that someone else’s negative strategy simply means that there is some form of fear or energetic blockage at play. From there, you can work on flipping your understanding of the situation and emerging without inadvertently strengthening the very drama you’re trying to avoid.
Remember, energy exchange is never an issue of morality. That is, it’s not about “right” and “wrong.” It’s about understanding that everyone is using strategies that they believe work in order to get what they want. The question is: are you and the people around you choosing positive strategies that increase the energy between you? Or are you depleting one another’s energy reserves?
These social dynamics are a huge focus of the Energy Think Magnitude program. So many people waste massive amounts of energy trying to understand others, which is actually counterproductive to changing the situation. The bottom line is, if you understand that everything everyone does is to get more energy, then you can stop focusing on the “why” and start directing your own energy toward the “how” of creating a new, improved experience.