Counselor's Corner: Investing our energy

Fred Cavaiani

Have you ever had a discussion with someone who sees things absolutely different from you? For some people who have different viewpoints it can be very easy to discuss things. For other people it can be very difficult. Some people classify "liberal thinking people" as stupid and ignorant. Some people classify "conservative thinking people" as rigid and dumb. What is the purpose of condemning and judging people who disagree with us? Remember the times in your life when you attempted to change another person's viewpoint to your way of thinking. Think of the energy spent in trying to convince others to think like you, act like you and be like you. Over the years I remember worrying about what I could do to help my adult children live the life I thought they should live. I have come to realize that investing energy in how other people should live their lives is a waste of energy and time. Arguing or discussing politics and religion with the intention of convincing you to think and believe like me is really useless. I can share my ideals and goals with you but only in a manner to share with you what I think and feel. It is not to tell you how you should think and feel or what is wrong with you for not thinking and feeling my way.

How do you invest your emotional and spiritual energy? The other day I was watching our almost 2-1/2 year old granddaughter as she explored everything in sight. Her energy was eternal non-stop. With her energy channeled in the right direction we could send a person to the moon. I was worn out after fifteen minutes of chasing her as she ran from one machine to another at the arcade she was exploring. What a bundle of energy! Watching her made me realize something. All of us are filled with energy. Success and peace in life depends upon how we channel our energy.

Human beings start life with energy. We sleep and rest only to replenish our energy which brings us into all sorts of explorations and relationships. This continues from birth until death. Resting time is simply a time for refueling. Then I began to realize that when I invest my energy into negativity, condemnations and judgments of other people's motives, I weaken myself. I put a wall around the "divine" energy that is inside of me. Years ago I remember raising my voice to one of my granddaughters. I said loudly to her "NO" as she was about to throw something at the television set. I could have done this better. For months afterwards every time someone said "No" to her she broke out in tears. With persistent warmth and tenderness her fear of the word "No" was eventually eradicated. My sincere "No" to her had stifled her energy and spontaneity. She felt criticized and embarrassed. As sincere as I was I have realized that I can stifle other people's energy or push their energy down by my words and actions. I can also do this to myself.

All depression and anxiety is our way of stifling our energy. All condemnations of people, places and things send out a negativity barrier into the world which can become obstacles for the loving energy that is in everyone. I am always amazed at the negative energy some people can pour out on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever Social Media they might use. Many years ago I remember a columnist in a small local paper who could only write about life in a negative condemning manner. After reading his columns I would begin to feel angry. What is the purpose of negativity in our personal lives? How does it help us? How do you feel when someone condemns you for not seeing things their way? I don't think you become filled with warm, fuzzy feelings at these times. Labels put on people like "liberal idiots" or "conservative morons" help absolutely no one, particularly the person using the labels. Yet at times all of us can label people, places and things with condemning or judgmental attitudes. When we do this we stifle our own energy and push people into hurt feelings and negative attitudes. We make it difficult for other people and for ourselves to use our positive energy to bring us into positive actions and feelings.

The positive people in my life lift me up and make it easier for me to channel my own energy in a forward and loving direction. I am beginning to realize that maybe this is the main purpose of life for everyone. To help another person channel their energy in a positive and loving direction is a marvelous goal. We have been given so much energy from birth. Good parenting helps children channel their energy in positive ways. Bad parenting stifles energy and pushes it in negative directions. Good compassion and affirmation of others helps a person to channel their energy in a positive direction that can better the world.

When I am feeling affirmed and loved I am challenged to look within myself and see what the obstacles are inside of me that stop me from being more lovingly energized and positively optimistic. My wounds can surface when I am surrounded by love and compassion.

Psychology, Religion, God and Relationships are all for the purpose of helping us realize that we are filled with positive energy and need to continue this positive energy throughout our whole life. The difficulties in our personal lives need not stifle our energy if we embrace them and bring positive energy to wherever there is difficulty and negativity.

I will make the effort to treat everyone and everything with the energy of positive love and affirmation. My granddaughter has taught me a very profound lesson: Always channel energy in a positive way.

Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Tue, Sep 16, 2014