Where Are You Spending Your Energy?
"It's easy to be liked by strangers. It's very hard to be loved and connected to the people in your home when you're always bringing them your most exhausted self and resenting the fact that the scraps you're giving them aren't cutting it." - Shauna Niequist
I read this quote in an essay in Shauna's new book, Present Over Perfect. And it hit me hard. I'd never realized how our energy levels could effect us this way. That we can give and give and give...but eventually we're out of energy. And how it's easy to get caught up in giving to people in our social networks...responding to Instagram + facebook comments...creating Snapchat stories to share with the world all of the wonderful things we're doing. We give and give in our businesses + to our jobs + the people we work with. But when that's all said and done, do we have anything left for our spouses + kids?
Because before you know it, you're empty + you've got nothing meaningful left to offer those you should be loving the most. So you jump back into the easy things. You jump back into the social networks + Pokemon Go + whatever else you fill your time with. Because that takes less energy + less effort than the deeper soul filling connections of loving your family.
I've spent so much time on Facebook/Instagram, Clash of Clans + reading about sports news that really didn't effect my life much (I actually couldn't even finish this post without clicking over to the Ringer to see if they posted any new stories since the last time I went there when I sat down to start writing). I would hide in the bathroom and read books to avoid interacting with my kids + wife. I would refresh e-mail constantly, just to see if someone had sent something that required my attention.
But all that left me feeling so so empty. I literally spent 90% of my time on things that shouldn't be more important than my marriage + my kids. It's ironic that what I was craving was deeper connections with my family, yet I was not spending my energy that would lead to those deeper connections. And when I'd wake up in the morning feeling empty, instead of doing the hard work I needed to be doing to foster more meaningful relationships with Jenny + the kids, I'd just go right back into the same energy draining patterns/habits. Repeat day after day.
Then something changed. I deactivated my facebook account. I blocked websites that I was wasting time on that weren't adding value to my life (both on my phone & my browser). Before I took on an activity, I asked, will this light me up or will this leave me feeling guilty afterwards? I began working out again + I recommitted to my Wim Hof Breathing/Cold Showers. I forgave myself for all the things I had been doing and focused on devoted compassionism towards myself + my family.
Slowly but surely things started to feel better. I had more energy to play with my kids. Jenny + I stopped fighting. Life feels GREAT again. I physically feel lighter now. There's hope now where before there was despair. There's more laughter where before there was yelling. There's joy + dancing + deep conversations. This. This right now is what makes life worth living.
I hope reading through this sparked some thoughts in you. I'd like to encourage you to take a few moments + look at things you spend your time on. Ask yourself if you feel alive + light afterwards, or empty + drained. Then work towards spending more time on the light + alive activities.
I want to be very clear here this process only works if you give yourself grace upon grace to not get caught up in the negative. Those things happened/continue to happen, you can't go back and change them. You can only be who you want to be in the present moment. Focus on that. Start small + change little things. Soon enough those little things will snowball into massive change + you'll realize how full your life is of amazingness.
I believe in YOU. I'm rooting for YOU.