I don’t do tension. I had enough for a lifetime when it wasn’t my choice. When you are an adult, it’s your choice.
When I first lived on my own, I realized the coolest thing was my ability to control the energy in my space. I pictured a Keep Out sign on tension. It’s so peaceful to know you never have to be subjected to negative energy in your space if that’s what you choose. You set the mood and create the ambiance for your surroundings. You decide who to let into your space.
When you aren’t alone, it isn’t as easy to guard your space from tension. I had a boss who’d come in one day smiling ear to ear, giving out flowers she picked from her garden, and the next day she was wearing a scowl, barking directives and making dramatic exits from the room. Her tension permeated the office and could shift the collective mood in seconds. It’s hard to not let tension suck you in. Along with a coworker/friend, we’d smile, whisper and say, “I’m inside a waterfall,” as mental imagery to remind us that she can’t get to us and to let her negativity wash off of us. Plus, it made us laugh. You can make a choice to not let tension ruin your day.
My decision not to have tension in my life is a work in progress. Progress over perfection is the goal. When you make mistakes, you just learn new ways to eradicate tension from your life.
Choose healthy relationships. Long ago, I created tension when I chose to date a guy who monitored my every move and turned life into a tension-filled walk on eggshells. Unhealthy relationships—of all types—are ripe with tension. Opt for a healthy relationship with lots of communication and tension dissipates.
Live authentically without secrets. I created tension when I kept secrets—like not telling my parents about finding my birth parents because I felt guilty. As the saying goes, “You are only as sick as your secrets.” Living with honesty can significantly reduce tension in your life, even when it’s difficult to be honest.
Maintain healthy boundaries. I drummed up tension when I couldn’t rise above biting attacks from a (short-lived) coworker because my petty desire to fight back won out. Maintaining healthy boundaries minimizes tension. If you stoop to the level of tension, you only help make it bigger. Setting and maintaining boundaries (your personal rules, guidelines and limits)can significantly reduce tension in your life.
Tension is constricting and confining. It’s like a dark cloud. And it’s a real happiness killer. Fortunately, you can significantly reduce your tension with your choices.
I choose to live somewhere cheerful, bustling with people and upbeat.
I choose joyful relationships.
I choose not to be around people who yell. Yelling is a tension-filled space where I don’t want to live. It’s a boundary I set because there are more intelligent and evolved ways to communicate.
I try not to create tension for other people.
I choose to protect my environment from tension.
Oprah learned one of her favorite quotes from Stroke of Insight author, Jill Bolte Taylor, “You are responsible for the energy you bring into my space.” And it’s so true. Wouldn’t it be a better place to live if people took responsibility for the energy they bring into a room? But until you can find a way to control other people (kidding!), shouldn’t you at least control your space?