This morning someone was venting to me about conditions at work. It’s complicated. But I realized that I often end up on the listening end of conversations. This doesn’t usually bother me, but today reminded me that taking in other people’s toxicity literally tires me out emotionally. So what could I have done or said to create a boundary for myself?

Consider the situation. I don’t feel I can walk away from the conversation when the other person is in a position that affects my livelihood, like my employer, or a family member or friend who truly needs an ear. In these situations, I can just listen. I don’t have to offer any advice or problem solving solutions.

Don’t think I have to fix anything. Granted, if the conversation is about something I have done or neglected to do that makes life difficult for some one else, I need to take responsibility and address it. But otherwise, again, I can just listen.

Is a solution within my power? And if so, is the other person willing to accept my help? Granted, there are conditions I put on these questions. How close am I to the other person? Am I willing to go all out for this situation? Financially? Time-wise? But most importantly, is this other person willing to help themselves? If not, I will not waste my energy. I am thinking here of the family member who was willing to accept all kinds of financial help, but not get off drugs. I won’t throw good money at bad behavior.

And then there are energetic practices. When I am able to carry the meditative practice of presence into my daily routines, I am more aware of the energy that is present in any given situation. I can choose to avoid someone else’s rage, even as I choose to be responsible for managing my own. I can know my triggers. I can practice detachment.

Energy bubble. Some people advocate visualizing a white bubble of light surrounding one’s self before leaving the house in the morning. Evelyn Rysdyk teaches in her shamanic classes to surround one’s self with one’s Spirit Animal Guide. This teaching includes regular spirit guides as well, or the angels, ancestors, or whoever one’s personal saint or buddha. Feel this being. Take it intentionally into your energy field. You will feel surrounded and uplifted by their gentle protection.

Cultivate psychic shields. I was trying to find the title of a good book by Sophie Richter that was recommended by Galina Krasskova on this topic, but an amazon search is not turning up what I was looking for. Still there are a number of other books out on this topic, including one called Psychic Shield by Caitlin Matthews that I enjoy on my own book shelf.


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