A basic dynamic of energy is that we attract who we are--the more positive energy we give off, the more positive connections we'll magnetize to us. Ditto for negativity. It works like this: Love attracts love. Grumpiness attracts grumpiness. Passion attracts passion. Rage attracts rage. The explanation? This human form of ours is a subtle energy transmitter. We're constantly sending out signals which others on similar frequencies pick up on, and gravitate towards--an instinctual call we may not be aware of. Why opportunities do or don't show up in our lives is a function of this.
A striking phenomenon known by many a therapist is that we often attract waves of patients who mirror our current struggles and joys. It's as if a communiqué is issued to the universe saying, "I'm here. This is what I'm going through. Come to me." For example, soon after I sold my first book Second Sight, a series of patients also had beloved projects that came through for them. A few years before, as I helplessly watched my father losing control of mind and body from Parkinson's Disease, I received a burst of anguished calls from new patients whose parents with Parkinson's were suffering the same harrowing decline. On a lighter note, when the daughter of psychologist-friend got pregnant, my friend's practice suddenly became a parade of expectant parents.
How can we harness this intriguing alchemy to bring yearned-for positive connections to us? The crux is to strive to energetically embody what we want to attract. For starters, take a look at where you're at now. This entails nailing down parameters for what being positive does and doesn't mean in terms of attitude and behavior. Once you're definitive about this, you can strengthen these traits in yourself, and attract the same. Don't worry if you're far from a positive place now. The point of this program is to get you there.
It's an evolution. Give thought to what you value most in yourself or others. Keep a running list in your journal. Here's the essence of how I see it.
Positive persons are:
- * Committed to developing compassion towards themselves and others, and having an open heart
- * Courageous about following their dreams
- * Those who seek to be authentic and believe in themselves, even when externals are crumbling
- * Aware of their dark side, and are trying to heal it * Willing to learn from mistakes
Positive persons aren't:
- * Perfect, phony, or positive all the time
- * Beating themselves to a pulp over shortcomings or a black hole of pessimism
- * Constantly mired in fear or tolerant of letting their hearts harden
- * Squeaky clean do-gooders who neglect their own well-being.
- * Saccharine pleasers who ignore their dark side and unconsciously act it out at the expense of others.
Never forget: we're talking about real human beings with pluses and minuses. What sets positive people apart though, is a determination to do their best, and not succumb to what's negative in themselves or externals. Where some of my patients go wrong is holding idealized expectations, not grasping that everyone--including themselves!--has irritating/challenging/disappointing aspects. Earth to humans: we're inhabiting the material plane with all its foibles. Even so, you can legitimately hope to personify and attract others fighting their way out of the muck with an open heart and sense of humor. These are my heroes and friends. In contrast, someone "too-perfect" feels like finger nails on the blackboard to me. You don't want to be anything like those always-smiling, aiming to please, married-women-robots in the horror flick, "The Stepford Wives." These are the evil twins of the positive person I'm portraying.
This law of attraction will make doors open. But, the root truth of my energy program is that quality of connections, not quantity counts. Understanding this demands that we see beyond our culture's obsession with popularity. I appreciate how inbred the desire may be. High school can be hell for anyone "unpopular." I, for one, felt so agonizingly out of it; the "cool" kids hung on the "upper patio" while I snuck cigarettes behind the auditorium with my scraggly hippie friends. Thankfully, as an adult, I realize that popularity is a mixed bag, which doesn't always deliver happiness. Yes, opportunities may increase. And, of course, it feels good to be liked. But I've seen this need turn into addiction.
I've worked with actors whose self-esteem is inextricably tied to their public's adulation, certain suicide for self esteem. Also without exceeding discrimination mass popularity can lead to confusion and defeat. One patient, a drop-dead-gorgeous model, can't get from the parking garage to my office without a guy coming on to her. This woman has a seeming jackpot of romantic options, but still keeps choosing the most horrifyingly flawed men, a destructive pattern which brought her to see me.
The following exercise isn't intended to summon the hoards, though it could. If you're energized by lots of people, it'll help you attract the right kind. If you like a smaller circle, it'll enable you to distinguish quality. So, whether you get a high from circulating at parties, or like me, tend to talk to a single person the whole night, one style isn't preferable. It depends on your disposition. Whatever's your way, I'll teach you to magnetize positive circumstances by emulating attributes you resonate with.
Energy doesn't simply have an on-off switch. Just as a radio emits has a volume control, you can adjust your vibes. You can amp them up with some people, tone them down with others.
Here's how to boost your positive signals.
1. Identify your best parts and speak from them.
Pinpoint your finest qualities. Perhaps irreverence, sensitivity, compassion, humor--then project them to the world. By speaking up and stepping out of your comfort zone you're enlarging your energy field. Before meeting new people or going to important events prime yourself. Take a break for an inner pep talk. Think, "I'm not going to focus on my insecurity but on a strength; I'm going to feel and trust the positive energy inside me. I'm going to claim my full power." Such a selective attention device puts your best parts front and center. Then, perspective shifted, it's easier to confidently move forward. You can't overdo this approach. Use it routinely. Making a choice about where you're coming from focuses your energy.
My patient Dee, a single mother and flight attendant, lost her job. For months she was unemployed with three children to feed, sinking into despair. Dee's way out was to fire-up her beloved spunky self again, and give it a voice during job interviews. She did this by taking quiet moments each day to focus on that part of her that said, "Go-girl!" She just sat there, eyes closed, inviting that positive energy back in again. Such conjuring spurred Dee to apply for positions in the fashion industry, a gutsy career shift she'd fantasized about, and now made real. Let Dee's struggle and success guide you.
2. Extend heart energy outward.
Love creates an irresistible charisma, a warm glow that makes us and others happy. You can send it in any situation, a nurturing that won't drain us. How? Focus on your heart center, and envision something you love. A flock of seagulls. Your son's smile. A blooming rose. Then, during a conversation, inwardly ask, "Let love flow through me." Feel it rise from your chest; notice a sense of heat, serenity, a radiance. These vibes move outward. People soften around them, feel safe, want more. So, when standing by your boss start pumping away. Loving energy smoothes the rough edges of any circumstance and facilitates rapport. Try it even if you don't like someone, but seek to get along better. Our loving heart can melt the feistiest curmudgeons. It conveys the sense of what Buddhists call the "groundless ground," an ultimate secure place that stabilizes us from the inside out. Others pick up on this primal draw. Without heart, people are energetically wobbly, despite outer confidence. (For instance, a spiritual teacher who talks a good game but doesn't emit heart energy is an imposter). The kinder we are to ourselves and others, the more love we communicate.
3. Regularly Meditate
Happiness can be increased by meditating. Cutting edge brain research confirms that we all have a certain mood set point, a range of feelings we usually inhabit. But with regular meditation, It's been shown that we can alter our habitual moods towards the positive. Use this method. When feelings surface during meditation, monitor them. Focus on what's uplifting, not the swirl of negative emotions. As you've done before, use the breath to center yourself. This inner turnabout transmutes pessimism to something higher. Subsequently, your vibes change; others will respond.
4. Commit to Emotional Housecleaning
A fact I'll keep trumpeting: healing negativity prevents toxic build up in your energy field. Consistently chipping away at the negative makes room for more light in your being. Self-awareness is our greatest ally against fear and its bullying cohorts. When these brutes appear, it allows you to say, "I know you. Now scram!" Psychotherapy, introspection, meditation, journaling, and/or talking with friends all further healing. As negativity remits, your energy becomes more alluring and positive connections will gravitate to you.
Judith Orloff MD is bestselling author of the new book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life upon which these tips and article are based. Her insights in Emotional Freedom create a new convergence of healing paths for our stressed out world. An assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, Dr. Orloff's work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, and in Oprah Magazine and USA Today.