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  • Writer's pictureBernard Beitman, MD

Managing Interpersonal Energy

The benefits and problems of interpersonal energy

Interpersonal energy is probably related to energy radiating from each of our hearts.

The magnetic component of the heart’s field can be measured several feet away from the body with Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID)-based magnetometers. (Heartmath). We can feel variations in the other person’s interpersonal energy in our own heart, if we believe we can.

A friend of mine and I were discussing who was going to make dinner for whom. When I described how I would do it, I could feel my heart drop into a mildly negative feeling. I told her that feeling. And she said yes, she did not like the idea of my doing it. She wanted to make dinner because I had already done so much for her.

By accepting that interpersonal energy is real, we can begin to understand its potential usefulness and pitfalls. As is usual and necessary, we need more measurements from conventional science to support this belief. As that evidence accumulates you can test the idea out yourself by hypothesizing the existence of interpersonal energy and then being open to experiencing it.

As you talk with someone emotionally, ask yourself if what you are feeling in your heart could have something to do with what the person is saying or intending. That feeling may be coming to you primarily through that person's standard non-verbal communication channels of voice tone, facial expression and body movement. Or you may be picking up a communication directly from that person's heart.

The positives

When used constructively, interpersonal energy, like other forms of interpersonal interaction, can become a reverberating, reciprocal exchange that results in mutual, positive, energetic, psycho-spiritual evolution. Each participant receives the energy for their own development and transduces some of it back to the giver. When done well, both participants are elevated.

The negatives

Interpersonal energy can be used to manipulate people and cause harm to both participants. The following story illustrates its negative power potential.

A 22-year-old woman discovered that she could attract any man she wanted out of groups of people. “That one,” she thought to herself, and he would soon approach her. She then discovered that she could get people in the organization in which she worked to do tasks she knew they did not like to do. She found this power both exhilarating and terrifying . Sometime later she participated in group feedback and was told she was misusing her "power of attraction and her ability to manifest". Now in her early 50s, this woman prays daily that she never uses her power of attraction and influence in a destructive way again. She is also trying to find forgiveness for her younger self who was inexperienced with how these energies work.

She used her power playfully, not realizing the possible negative impacts. It was like giving a teenager the keys to a car without teaching her about the rules of the road.

Facebook colleague JY reported this variation on the misuse of interpersonal energy:

“An internet psychologist claimed openly that he was 'a talent scout for spiritual energy’. He only wanted to attract those with a bright, clean, high energy. Guess what happened when he attracted all these bright, divine beings?? Very rapidly it all backfired. Most of them turned dark and demonic via this process of his attracting them. So then he said 'no, no, no'. I only want the really, really good ones, the balanced ones , the healthy ones (ie the rich ones who could endure and sustain his games)… Really, life is so complex. I don’t like to grade people by their energy. 'High quality' can become low quality in days, I’ve seen it, over and over. And I’ve seen the people attracted to 'high quality' energy turn into creepy predators--vampires, almost, to that very energy they are seeking. Interacting with others is as complex and confusing as it has ever been.”

Sustained focus primarily on interpersonal energy can be problematic as JY tells us. There is much more to our relationships than Chi. My intent is to make us more intentional about this neglected aspect of relating that is hiding in plain sight.

The takeaway

Interpersonal energy exists and can be used both positively and negatively. As part of the study of coincidences, interpersonal energy appears to be connected to the simulpathity experience—our ability to feel at a distance the pain and distress and hopefully the positive feelings of people we care about. Those who readily experience both simulpathity and interpersonal energy offer clues to the relationship between the two.

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