Being a Screen Door, Not a Vessel
Charity begins at home. But sometimes family holiday interactions poke like the needles of a porcupine rather than soothe like warm fuzzies. For some past unpleasant contact can shy you from wanting more despite how cheerful and family-oriented the calendar says you should be. A tip from my coaching buddy Cassandra transforms these potential landmines into connecting opportunities.
Cassandra recommends being a screen door—not a vessel—when encountering negativity. Be it unkind words, actions, looks, insinuations, or expectations; as a screen door, we are present to the person. But the bad energy flows through the holes in our screen. Combining the visual of the screen door with deep breathing provides powerful protection from the usual outcome of being the recipient of such treatment.
The usual response to negativity is to absorb it. In contrast to the screen door, you may have more experience with being a vessel in tense situations. All the hurt, confusion, sting from lack of charity, flows right into the vessel near your heart. There it festers and burns. Your body absorbs the bad energy. You may ruminate over the unpleasant interaction. You may find it difficult to concentrate. You may be extremely fatigued. You may overeat in an attempt to feel better. You may even get sick.
It’s not your job to fix the unhappy souls around you. But you must have a system to prevent the bad vibes of others to infiltrate your being, or it will, at least for a few days and often for longer. Being a screen door helps us detach so we can love our family and friends without becoming a permanent branch of the turmoil in their souls.
Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Love everyone, including yourself, no matter what space they are in, by learning how to be a screen door when necessary.