In my last blog, I wrote about five ways that we can refill our tired tanks. Today, I want to write about six ways our tanks are depleted. Often, our energy is robbed by insidious little thieves that we do not even notice. We have to actively guard against these thieves if we are to retain our resilience.
Paying too much attention to what other people think
When we put too much stock in the opinions of others, we focus our energy on what others are thinking about us, rather than what we think about us. Although the opinions of others can be useful, it is counterproductive to constantly think about what others are thinking about us, our decisions, our outfits and so on. It’s valuable to factor in the opinions of those we love and respect, but ultimately, you have to be comfortable with your own decisions in order to make peace with the person you are.
Focusing on what we can’t control, rather than on what we can
All of us are guilty of falling down the never ending terror-slide of worrying about what we cannot control. Examples include the weather, ageing and death, as well as the actions of others, none of which we have any influence over. Sometimes, such worries are a habit or a melancholy miserable pastime that we occasionally enjoy indulging in. When we worry about things that we can never alter, we feel a sense of powerlessness. We feel hopeless. It is far better to focus on what we are able to control, and to take action.
Giving away our power
For many of us, it feels perfectly natural to give our power away to others. We are taught to do this from a very young age. We relinquish power to parents, teachers, police officers and other authority figures. The problem comes when we give our power away to absolutely everyone.
‘If he doesn’t love me, I can’t be happy.’
‘If she breaks up with me, I’ll die alone.’
‘If I lose this job, my life is over.’
In doing this, we place the onus on others to make us powerful. In reality, we are the only one’s who can do this. The power is in our hands, and owning this power responsibly is one of the most rewarding, life-changing and transformative things that we can do. It is also encourages us to walk away from people and situations that do not make us feel comfortable, respected or happy. We have the power to decide for ourselves.
Being passive rather than active
Being passive in life is one of the worst habits to cultivate. Yes, some things do fall onto our laps, some things do just happen and there is merit to being easy going and to relax into the flow of life rather than maniacally trying to strategise and control every facet of life BUT, failing to be active in life is a failure to step up and make things happen for yourself. Yes, an anonymous benefactor could turn up tomorrow and undo all your financial worries a la Pip from Great Expectations. You might win the lottery (but only if you take action and buy a ticket.) With action, you can feel yourself moving towards a goal rather than passively dreaming that it will move towards you. Action is empowering and confidence building. Passivity is frustrating and demoralising.
Thinking that others can make us happy
Other people and the connections that we make with them are hugely important to us all, but we cannot depend on others to make us happy, for this is a conditional happiness.
‘If he marries me, I’ll be happy.’
‘If she’d only keep the house clean, I wouldn’t be so stressed.’
‘If my best friend would stop talking about her ex, we could have a good time together.’
‘If they’d be on time, I wouldn’t be in such a bad mood.’
Make yourself happy and cultivate positive, open and encouraging connections with others, but do not be wholly dependent on them to make you happy, to bring you fun or to save you. Only you can do that.
Forgetting to work on us consistently
The frustrating thing about being human, is that in order to see improvements, we need to do the same thing every day. Hey, sometimes even just to maintain we need to do the same things every day. Every day we need to brush our teeth, shower and get dressed. Sometimes when we make progress, we get comfortable and slip into cruise control. By failing to apply what we’ve learnt consistently, we gradually stagnate and reverse. We stop meditating, exercising, eating well and socialising. The things that make you feel good must be practiced consistently if you want the feel good feeling to stick around! Don’t stop once you get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, keep going. Happiness is not a destination, rather it is made of multiple small actions practiced consistently that build a sense of well-being and self-esteem.
All my love