“Love Actually” and other musings about emotional energy

In the introduction of the movie “Love Actually“, Hugh Grant muses about going to the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport, witnessing the reunions that happen there and how nice it is to watch. I got to experience that firsthand the other day when picking up my husband from the DFW airport.

I was surprised when I got there because I’d forgotten how crowded the international arrivals gate can be. There were families of all kinds; some holding signs, some holding flowers, some just bristling with anticipation. I was instantly energized and uplifted although it took me a minute to realize why….then I saw my first reunion. Two people obviously thrilled to be in one another’s presence again. Maybe they’d been apart for a few days, or a few weeks, or maybe even a few years….who knows? So I sat down and watched more closely.

The same thing happened over and over. A traveler walking through the door with a searching look on their face….the eyes widening….a grin appearing…..a new purpose to their steps until they physically met their loved one. There were children screeching, running and being swept up into the arms of parents. Not to mention hugs and kisses all around. The atmosphere was amazing, and indescribably beautiful which is interesting to me because picking someone up at the airport is really such a mundane task.

Yet, I found myself reluctant to leave once I’d reunited with my loved one…with all of the requisite hugs and kisses of course. The world we live in is short on overflowing joy and happiness and I wanted to continue to be a part of it. However, reality is reality and my poor husband had spent long hours on a plane to get back home. Asking him to hang out at the airport and bask in the glow of complete strangers hugging would have been a bit much I think.

That experience got me thinking about emotional energy and how we feel and respond to it. It’s one of those phenomena that is nearly impossible to describe, but my guess is that most people understand what I’m talking about. For good or bad, we sense the emotional energy around us. When we are around genuine happiness we are drawn to it. When we are around anxiety and fear, we tense up. We can get swept up in anger and indignation as well as relaxing in the presence of the truly peaceful.

Are we all just emotional sponges?

A friend recently commented about how she doesn’t watch the news because she becomes very emotional and didn’t want to expose her body or mind to that kind of stress. At the time I understood what she meant although I didn’t quite agree with it. After all, if no one pays attention to what’s going on in the world how can we hope to improve it? I think I have a deeper understanding of her point of view after my experience at the airport.

We watch horror on the news and we can’t sleep. I know that happened to me after seeing the Batman premiere early Friday morning, and arriving home to the news of the shootings in Colorado. So we feel grief and even visceral fear about an event that didn’t impact us directly

We get onto FaceBook and start steaming at the rhetoric of some of our “friends” about any number of things. Politics, religion, parenting…you name it.  So we don’t even need to be in a room with someone to feel their emotional energy. If they are angry, and we agree with them, we get angry. If they are angry and we don’t agree with them we get indignant at least and maybe defensive and angry ourselves.

What does this emotional energy do to us? I have to believe that there is an effect, and not just in the moment. We may not have figured out how or why but we do know that there is a link between our physical health and our emotional health. So maybe the best medicine is cultivating positive emotion in our lives while minimizing the negative. Maybe we learn to let go of the people whose energy seems to be unrelentingly  angry and tense.

And just in case I get really down on life and stressed out to the point where I lose my perspective on things, I can always go hang out at the airport. That is where the love is.

2 thoughts on ““Love Actually” and other musings about emotional energy

  1. I love that you posted this, you described it things that I have experienced exactly. Since I’m a life coach, I’ve coached myself to stop doing some of these little things. I don’t watch horror movies anymore because it’s not worth losing the sleep and having those images in my head (there have been times when images from movies popped into my head a year or more later). I’ve also finally learned to stop watching TV shows that suck my energy. And ironically, some of those seems to me the most addicting. So I read spoilers! That helps me not be driven to keep watching them. And I’ve learned that, while I do love Facebook, I shouldn’t read it first thing the morning… Somehow that always gets me riled up about political things and then I’m distracted from the things I really want to get done.

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