How Karma Affects Us

Excerpt from “From Burning Out to Burning Bright” by Jennifer Marcenelle.

Most of us are going about our daily lives with no idea that a powerful force is at the heart of every relationship—karma. Karmic relationships are a very important part of our personal, professional, and spiritual growth. Everyone who comes into our life is here to teach us something about ourselves. When we meet people we click with, respect, and adore, they remind us of those qualities in ourselves. When we meet someone and immediately feel a jolt or repulsion—watch out! Whatever they are doing that is rubbing us wrong is a signal to examine ourselves. The more exaggerated the rub, the more important the spiritual lesson. Have you ever had someone hate you inexplicably? Or have you ever immediately disliked an individual? So much so you have found yourself repelled by them? Have you ever dealt with a coworker, a client, or a patient who seemed to be “out to get you”? We’ve all been there. These relationships at their best can be exhausting and at their worst can be Soul-sucking and toxic. Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of both kinds.

I once knew a coworker, Betty, who hated my guts. She couldn’t stand me. From the moment she met me, she absolutely hated me, and this hatred played out over and over in the workplace. As the lead on a project of my design, I needed her expertise from the technical perspective. We simply had to work together. Her hatred for me manifested in many ways: She spoke badly about me behind my back and openly recruited others to join her in the “let’s hate her together club.” As an expert in her area, she provided me with her technical input, and her signature was required for my project to move forward. Needless to say, she made it her mission in life to make every step of the project difficult for me. Paperwork sat on her desk for weeks, only to come back with excessive redlines. I’d work diligently to make her requested changes, only to have the document returned weeks later with another set of excessive redlines. This process repeated itself over and over. After nearly four years, we were placed on a small team of three where we had to work directly with each other and things finally came to a head. I wish I could say I had always treated her with the dignity and respect she deserved, but I didn’t. As embarrassing as it is to admit, in truth, I treated her just as badly as she treated me. She spoke badly about me, so I spoke badly about her. She recruited others to dislike me and I responded with the same childish behavior. We were waging an all-out war, both sides sustaining heavy energetic and karmic damage.

For years I blamed her, even though I knew better. She hated me for no reason, so wasn’t I justified in defending myself?

In the end, we could hardly stand to sit at the same table together. Finally, I realized this had to end. This had gone on long enough, and I deep inside I had to admit that the only person I had to blame was myself. It was time to walk the talk and live by my own spiritual beliefs, face my own actions, and accept responsibility for my role in this toxic relationship. After years of blaming her for hating me, it occurred to me that I knew why. This was old karma. Working closely with my spiritual guide, I was able to recall a past life where I knew Betty. I discovered that around Biblical times I had, in fact, stoned her to death. In that lifetime, we were both women, and I had led a group of people to stone her to death for her perceived crime of the day. No wonder she hated me.

Now, in this lifetime, we had agreed to reincarnate together to work out our karma. The karmic balance had shifted. I had judged her in our past karmic group and she was judging me in the present one. My options? Fight back, get defensive, and continue the endless karmic pattern. I “stone” her, she proverbially “stones me” in endless attacks, and we go back and forth like this for centuries. Or, I could break this pattern once and for all. How? First I had to recognize it. Then I had to accept it. Then I had to be compassionate. I had to forgive her for her judgment and anger in this life, and I had to forgive and atone for my past self. Though I didn’t feel like I had to accept any of her vitriol toward me—as in me, the Jennifer in this life—I had to let our karma balance.

In the presence of a Human Resources representative, I let her have it out with me. I listened to her complaints and all of her perceived problems with me. Her words were vicious, vile, and dripping with hate. Yet I knew I had to receive her complaints with a sense of self-responsibility. Afterward, I apologized deeply. I didn’t explain to her why I had felt the need to apologize in the first place or my experiences with her in our past lives. Since her religious practice and understanding of the Soul was different than mine, it was not my place to tell her about our karmic past. My job was simply to break and end the cycle through forgiveness, love, and understanding. I had to face myself, my own past, and do my best to balance this karmic debt. Afterward, our relationship changed. By no means did we become friends, but we were able to work together calmly and without further drama. Most importantly, we treated each other kindly and afforded each other the dignity and respect that we both deserved.

My experience with Betty was a golden opportunity for me to test myself and to rise above my poor behavior and the bad behavior of others, to ultimately resolve our karmic pasts and heal our way to happiness. Sometimes, I know this is easier said than done. Some relationships can be more fraught, and much more destructive. And sometimes the answer isn’t always easy.

Excerpt from “From Burning Out to Burning Bright” by Jennifer Marcenelle. For more information, visit:

Jennifer Marcenelle MBA, BSN, RN, HBC-HN is a Board-Certified Holistic Nurse with more than 30 years of experience in the medical industry. She currently holds degrees in nursing and business, with a specialization in Holistic Healing for burnout. As an energy medicine practitioner and the founder and CEO of Burn Bright Today, she helps people improve mental wellness and recover from burnout and other challenges. A certified Reiki, Gemstone and Diamond Therapy Practitioner, Marcenelle has dedicated her career to helping people get their life back and move from Burning Out to Burning Bright. For more information, visit: