“Run my dear, from anything that may not strengthen your precious budding wings. Run like hell my dear, from anyone likely to put a sharp knife Into the sacred, tender vision of your beautiful heart.” ~ Hafiz
The Banyan Tree is a mysterious, mythological, enigmatic tree that originates in South East Asia.
In many countries it is considered holy. In India, it is thought to be the resting place of the god Krishna. But there is something else that is intriguing about the Banyan Tree…and that is how it is formed.
The Banyan tree cannot grow on its own. It must have a “host” to survive.
It is also known as the “strangling fig” because it grows by planting its seeds in the cracks of another tree or building. As the seeds start to root and grow, it begins to form “strangling” roots that cascade down to the ground from the original tree and then start to build their own root systems. If time is given to the fortuitous banyan tree, its roots will begin to wrap around the host tree again, and again—until, eventually, it will strangle the host tree to death and the original tree will die.
The host tree will then rot away on the inside of the newly formed banyan tree, until there is nothing left of the original tree. The strangling effects of the parasitic banyan tree will be victorious, and the heart of the host tree will be gone.
The beauty and allure of the Banyan tree is quite deceiving.
Like most people who have a heart beat and walk the soil of this earth, there have been several occasions where I have become so entrenched in the midst of interpersonal drama that I didn’t know which way was up or down. The opinions, actions, and thoughts of others around me affected me deeply. It started to be my “normal.” The drama started to take me over. I felt like my soul and spirit were being strangled, just like the host tree is strangled by the the Banyan tree.
When we are in the heart of interpersonal drama, we can start to believe that it is okay, that it is our normal, which only perpetuates further stealing of our core, or soul—sometimes even our identity. But, if we can learn to identify when these “strangling figs” or dysfunctions are taking us over, we can begin to take steps be set free and let our soul breathe.
Here are three ways to combat the “strangling” effects of interpersonal drama:
1. Recognize Energy Vampires.
One of the definitions of the word vampire from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “One who lives by preying on others.”
Energy Vampires are the people we encounter who suck and drain our energy. They can not survive unless we give them our energy. It is helpful to recognize the people in our life who make us feel drained after we spend time with them. If the soul-sucking feeling happens on a regular basis around certain people, there is a very real chance they are energy vampires and will continue to wrap their strangling dysfunction around our delicate souls if we let them.
2. Make it a priority to learn what a healthy soul looks and feels like.
Another great way to break free from dysfunctional, interpersonal chaos, is to study what health looks like. Learning to be healthy can come in many different forms. It could be reading self-help books, listening to Ted Talks that inspire, committing to exercise regularly, talking to people who are emotionally healthy and asking them what they do to stay that way. A commitment to health is a very important step in breaking free from drama.
3. Protect your heart and spirit.
There is a verse in the Old Testament that says, “Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 3:23)
Our hearts and our souls are so fragile and delicate. They are the birthplace of compassion, empathy and love. Sometimes it is easy to feel guilty when we decide to protect our heart, but if we want to keep dysfunctional roots from embedding in our spirit, we need to be a little selfish about guarding our heart.
Just like the elusive Banyan tree, the people around us who cause interpersonal drama can be deceptively alluring—slowly wrapping their vines around us until our soul is hollow like the inside of the Banyan tree. But with soulful awareness, we can live a life free of interpersonal chaos.
Bonus! The Introvert-Extrovert Myth:
Author: Wendy Haley
Editors: Emily Bartran; Catherine Monkman