What Are You Broadcasting?

What Are You Broadcasting Jason Esswein MS LMFT

Do you find yourself asking the following questions: Why does this keep happening to me? Why do I keep dating the same people? Why do I always end up in these situations? If so, I would encourage you to take a serious, courageous look at what you might be “broadcasting”.

Despite our best efforts to hide our true feelings or fears, we always communicate in one way or another. Communication researcher James Borg asserts that 93 percent of communications is nonverbal: “…the way you say something – using behavioral cues like facial expressions, pace, pitch, tone and posture – can say a lot more than the actual words you select.” So, with that in mind, it is important to uncover what we are “broadcasting” through our non-verbal cues. Once we have discovered what we are truly “saying,” is this something we’re genuinely willing to change?

Creating the same unhealthy situations and patterns in relationships is often the result of things we’re broadcasting without any awareness. This can be seen in many obvious, as well as subtle, ways. For example, driving behavior can reveal the driver’s emotional state so clear it might as well be written on a neon sign. How fast do they accelerate? Brake? Weaving? The tone and volume of voice is also very telling. Do people speak loudly, or so softly that they are practically inaudible? How do people put things down or close cabinets and doors? With an unnecessary amount of force or only what is required? Also, what about their breathing? Do they often sigh as if their time is being wasted when another speaks or do they frequently cut people off?

Whether we want to or not, we cannot not communicate. Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth, 2005) often describes the energy fields we emanate. According to Tolle, “regardless of what you say or do, or what face you show to the world, your mental-emotional state cannot be concealed. Every human being emanates an energy field that corresponds to his or her inner state. Most people can sense it, although they may feel someone else’s energy emanation only subliminally, that is to say, they don’t know that they sense it, yet it determines to a large extent how they feel about and react to that person. Some people are most clearly aware of it when they first meet someone, even before any words are exchanged. A little later however, words take over the relationship and with words come the roles that most people play. Attention then moves to the realm of mind, and the ability to sense the other person’s energy field becomes greatly diminished. Nevertheless, it is still felt on an unconscious level.”

Although “energy field” can sound a little strange to some, we all usually refer to it when asking questions, such as “What was your vibe on that guy”, or “what’s your sense of that church” or “did you get a read on her?” These are all examples of people describing their experience of someone’s energy field. Remember, just because we cannot see something does not mean it does not exist (i.e., microwaves, radiation, radio and cell phone signals). Energy fields are just as real as physical matter. In fact, Albert Einstein discussed how matter is energy, only it is energy vibrating at a slower speed. The implications of this are enormous. It could be argued that our energy field or “broadcast” actually creates our physical reality!

A more obvious broadcast can often be easily observed when hearing the music being played on someone’s car stereo when stopped at a traffic light. People often choose the type of music that mirrors their current emotional landscape (i.e., songs involving joy/connection, violence/anger, breakups/sadness). For example, a woman who just met the man of her dreams may be listening to “At Last” by Etta James or a man who just filed for divorce may listen to “Outside” by Staind.

In order to be more aware of and influence our “broadcast” to others, it takes a willingness to get in touch with (and pay conscious attention to) what we’re thinking and feeling on a regular basis. Are we angry, sad, frustrated, and worried, or are we feeling relatively calm, hopeful, and happy? The more we become conscious of our thoughts and feelings, we will have more choices available to us. More specifically, when we are triggered (when we become upset by a thought, word, or event) we will have far more choices and impulse control at our disposal when responding — versus reacting.

An important question to ask is “How do we want someone to experience us when we’re communicating or simply in another’s presence? There is a saying that “some people bring joy to a room when they enter, others when they leave.” We have all felt lighter when someone has entered our space, as well as better when they left. We undoubtedly have experienced the reverse without even being aware of it; our presence has either added to or taken away from the well-being of others, particularly when we were in a negative state. I’d like to suggest that we all give someone an experience of the world as safe and benevolent rather than hostile and cold. Remember that everything we say and do does one of two things: it creates closeness or distance (rarely anything in between). So, how do we go about even knowing what “station” we’re transmitting?

There are several practical ways we can become more in tune with what we’re giving off energetically. A helpful exercise is to look in the mirror before starting your day. Relax your face and look back at yourself with a “soft gaze.” If someone was looking into your eyes, how do you think they would feel? What might they think? Now, it’s time to set your intention for the day. How do you want others to experience you: present, kind, impatient, or angry?

Remember to pay attention to your breathing. Medical professionals know and emphasize the importance of deep, full, and controlled breathing for self-soothing, calming ourselves down enough to be able to think clearly, and overall improvement in health. Take time to yourself daily (at least 5 minutes 3 times throughout the day) to slow your breathing and allow yourself to feel the various sensations/energies that run through your body. This aids in centering and clarity. Allow those sensations (even the negative, heavy, fearful/panicky ones) to just be, without fighting or resisting them. Resisting what is your current emotional-mental experience only magnifies it, adding further upset (i.e., panicking about feeling fear) to an only temporary uncomfortable experience. This is part of the process of becoming present. The more we give our conscious attention/awareness to these feelings, what Eckhart Tolle calls “pain bodies,” the more they dissolve.

Awareness of how we’re really doing is crucial if we want to have more choice. Whether that choice is how we project ourselves throughout the day, who we select as a life partner, or how we shape our relationships with our families and colleagues, our “broadcast” will always play a central role. Our thoughts and feelings, particularly those that remain unexamined and/or out of our conscious awareness, readily trigger emotional responses and a corresponding broadcast via emotional energy.

Psychotherapy is an ideal environment to explore these thoughts and feelings within the context of a safe and trusting relationship with a competent therapist. Make sure that your potential therapist is open to an “interview” before formally beginning counseling as an appropriate match is crucial. If the right connection does not exist between you and your therapist, effective therapy may not be possible. Above all else, you need to feel comfortable, safe, and free from judgment before it’s possible to trust someone with thoughts, feelings, and actions that you may not even feel comfortable repeating to yourself when alone. Therapy can also help with general communication strategies that can greatly improve our relationships through insight and self-awareness.

Jason Esswein is a licensed marriage and family therapist in south San Jose, CA. He works in private practice with individual adults, couples, and children.


(408) 975-2982

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