How’s your energy today? If I sat down in front of you for coffee and asked you this, what would you say? Would you know how to respond? Maybe your first thought would be well I’m kind of tired and a bit hungry. These are all fair and valid answers. But when I talk about energy, I’m not talking about the scale of a toddler on sugar to newborn parent tired. I’m talking about emotional energy. So let’s try this again: how’s your energy today?
I personally never thought too much of my energy levels until a friend pointed out my empathic tendencies. Try as I might, I have a strong predilection towards absorbing the energy in a given room whether I want to or not. And eventually, if that energy was negative or toxic enough, it would seep so intensely into my life that my actions, behaviors and mindset changed. Today I want to talk about how I learned when my energy was off, how I fixed it and how I created boundaries to help keep me a bit more centered. Whether you’re fully aware of how your environment affects you or you just want to be more positive, I hope today’s post will help you set boundaries and build a foundation for a happier life.
Let’s Set The Scene
Thanks to my Goodreads account, I’ve learned a lot about my reading habits over the last few years. You see reading has always been my escape. When I felt off balance or out of whack, I’d do a deep dive into the book world. And thanks to Goodreads, I’ve learned that this tends to happen in September every year.
I’ve spoken before about living in a house with a mentally declining 90 year old. There’s only so many things you can do when dementia sets in. But unfortunately for myself and my mother, the toxicity of living with someone who tends to get very angry after dark, has paranoia and creates an atmosphere similar to a verbally abusive relationship eventually takes its toll. Please know, this isn’t me looking for pity. However before I dive into how I discovered I was off, I think it’s important to understand that it can become harder to pin point the exact moment when you live amongst the toxicity for so long. Or maybe if you’re in a place where there’s a little bit of negative coming from a whole lot of places.
How I Discovered I Was Off
I’m sure there were lots of little signs before the bigger one but there’s always one that tells me I’m off. I become Negative Nancy. My headspace is negative and I’m not speaking life into those around me. I become the person who is subtracting rather than adding into my friends lives. Truthfully, we all have these days and it’s completely understandable. For me, when I notice my thoughts are consistently negative and when I replay conversations with friends I find myself complaining a lot, I know it’s time to make some changes.
It’s a pattern I’ve noticed more than a few times over the years. There was a point in my film career where I found myself complaining more than talking about the great parts of my job. Last fall, I found myself in this same space as well mentally. The other part of this that I’ve learned is that if I don’t catch it really quickly, negative Nancy turns into Bitter Betty. And no body wants to invite Betty to their party.
HOW I GOT BACK ON TRACK
For me, the state of my energy depletion determines my plan to get back on track. If I have done a terrible job of protecting my energy, like I’m a full blown Betty, I tend to go into hibernation mode. I focus heavily on refilling my cup, which is probably more like a well at this point, and limit my social outings. I know if I’m incredibly drained then I’m more like to just continue to absorb the negative. It’s important for me to draw a boundary and put a strong focus on things that bring me joy. Typically I’m one of those people who needs a balance of extroverted activities and introverted alone time to feel centered. But when I’m dealing with an empty well, I become a strong introvert.
I also try to get to the root of the problem. Sometimes I need a bit of space away and more positive energy in my life to truly see the negative. Nonetheless, I aim to find the issue so I can solve it. Where am I letting the negative energy seep in and how can I prevent this from happening again? I look at anything and everything that consumes my time. People, places, tv shows, youtubers, and so on are up for examination. And from there, I start either eliminating, limiting or setting boundaries.
HOW I CREATED BOUNDARIES
If you want to create boundaries and focus on protecting your energy, the best way is to start with the easy stuff and work from there. Maybe this means limiting certain tv shows, Youtubers and social media. You might also need to take inventory of where you’re spending your time and how much of it you’re pouring out vs investing in yourself. Acknowledge that whatever boundaries you currently have aren’t working and be kind to yourself in the process.
Little by little, as you start protecting your energy, you’ll be motivated to set more boundaries and accept less crap. You’ll begin to recognize when something is adding to your life vs subtracting from it. And learning to limit or eliminate that toxicity from your life is key. Draw your line. Whether it’s in pencil or sharpie, it only matters that you draw it. With time, the act of choosing to honor those boundaries will reinforce the line until it’s so thick you know exactly where they lie.
YOUR PEOPLE MATTER
I’m a big believer in quality over quantity. It’s taken me some serious time to make this mental shift but it’s become foundational in my life. If you want to be a happier, healthier person, then you need to take a serious look at who you’re keeping in your life. I like to think of it like a dart board. The center is the goal. We keep the best of the best people there. Those are the ones who inspire us, speak life into us and really help us in protecting our energy. They are also the ones who help infuse the armor we use in the battle of life.
As you move away from the center, each circle has a different level of people. And the ones who truly subtract from your life are on the paper outside the ring. Do we ignore them? Not necessarily. But they aren’t the priority. We can’t create and make this world a better place if we are constantly having our battery drained from one person. This is why we create boundaries.
When you can identity your bullseye people, make them your priority. Those are the ones you need to actively plan to see and spend time with weekly/monthly. You need people who will invest in your life like you’re investing in theirs. And spending time with those people will overflow your cup so that when you do encounter the Bettys and Nancys (no offense to either name, I know lovely ladies that aren’t bitter or negative with these names) of the world, you aren’t a cup being dumped out.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to start protecting your energy. No one else can and will do it for you. Boundaries are good. Boundaries are necessary. To survive this life and becoming a healthier, happier version of yourself, you need to prioritize yourself. You matter. Start acting like it.
How are you protecting your energy? What’s some of the ways you’ve learned to set boundaries? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below! Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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