March 22, 2011
Detaching Politely Before You Reach Your Limit
From time to time, I still find that being in a crowd for a long period of time is overwhelming for me, even though I have done everything I recommend in my book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You. Advanced preparation and being proactive is the key to avoiding overstimulation. When planning meetings and public engagements, seek venues that are quiet and peaceful. It doesn’t have to be the library or a morgue, but those are options!
Recently, I found a great coffee shop on the east side of Nashville. They serve the best coffee in town, or at least that’s my opinion. So, I thought it was a good idea to meet a colleague there and pick up another bag of the delicious brew for home use. Things started out great about 10:30 a.m., but after about an hour, the room was filling with lunch customers and the conversation volume and emotional energy level was increasing. Within thirty minutes, I had grounded and centered several times, but I had gone past my personal limit. I could hardly hear myself think, much less carry on a conversation with my friend. I wanted to run out the door and get away, but that didn’t seem the professional thing to do. I needed to politely detach.
I said, “Bob, this place has gotten so loud, I can hardly hear what you are saying.” I had to practically scream to be heard. “Can we move to that table in the back of the room?”
He was all too glad to, but moving didn’t help me very much. By then, I was in overload and for the next fifteen minutes, my attention was not on my conversation with my friend. I was trying to tune out the psychic “tips and quips” I was getting about the people at the table next to us. It was past time for me to leave.
“Bob, I am very interested in what you have to say, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to continue our conversation at another time and a different location. I am over stimulated by the energy in this room.” I picked up my purse and stood. “I will email you when I get home and check my calendar. We can set something up for next week.”
He was very understanding.
The next time I met a colleague, I asked him to meet me at a bookstore where there is a coffee shop. This was a much better setting and I was able to work with that colleague for three hours before my hungry stomach started growling for dinner. I wasn’t even over stimulated when I got home.
Empaths need to have the foresight to plan ahead, and most of the time that is doable if you are the one planning the meeting. But, what if you are not the planner, but rather the guest? For social gatherings, such as a party, where there will be a lot of unfamiliar energy, I either stay near someone I know or engage in conversation with someone whose energy feels good—I generally gravitate toward children! If I start to feel overwhelmed, I’ll find a corner where I can observe the action without being antisocial or placing myself right in the middle of things. That position allows me to take breaks without being missed while I go outside or to a quiet room to get away from the cacophony of energy. If my husband goes with me to a social event and I start feeling over stimulated, I can stand near him or hold his hand for a moment to help ground myself with his energy. If I do this several times, he knows I am ready to leave and will look for a way to politely say our goodbyes. If I am going to a function without my husband, I may drive my own car so I’m not stranded if I need to leave.
For more help dealing with energy overload and setting boundaries, see Chapter 10 of my book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings,and Energy of Those Around You.
Purchase the paperback at http://tinyurl.com/EmpathAmazon. The e-book version is also available for Kindle, iPhone, iPad, and other digital reading devices.