Over the last few weeks, I‘ve painted the dining room and two upstairs bedrooms, hung curtains, moved out two old TVs, a couch, a love seat, and an armoire. I moved in an elliptical trainer, a spin bike, a different couch, a different love seat, and an easy chair. I ordered a new sectional for the living room, found an accountant, registered an LLC, joined the small business alliance, and participated in a networking group to meet my neighbors. I’ve cold called clinical supervisors, attended the behavioral health consortium, and read four books. I’ve written daily, blogged weekly, and studied tarot. I’ve taken up juicing, Barre, and bootcamp, while continuing to be wife, mom, therapist, and friend.

Now, we can look at this is one of two ways: either I am going through a manic phase and I’m out of control or, for some reason, I have learned to access an untapped treasure trove of energy that seems to have been missing the previous thirty-odd years of my life.

(Hint: I’m not bipolar).

So, what’s changed?

For the past five years I have been consistently and consciously working on releasing anything that drains precious energy from my life: people and jobs, defunct ideas and unhealthy relationships, false belief systems and unintentional living. Shame and guilt have been chased away and replaced with soul-affirming, Universe-expanding, energy generating compassion towards myself.

What does it mean to be compassionate towards ourselves? And why does that simple change in perspective invite so much extra energy into our lives?

Compassion towards ourselves means enforcing firm boundaries with other people and in situations that are unkind to us, even if at first it feels like we are being unkind to someone else.

When that family member or friend tries to guilt us into an activity that depletes us? We disengage.

When someone tries to manipulate us with anger or threatened abandonment? We remind ourselves that we deserve to have our needs met as much as they do. We disengage.

Even if the hefty dose of guilt makes us second guess our decision, we still honor our “no.”

We say no kindly, but unequivocally.

We consciously harness our power and use it to accomplish our own goals and dreams instead of allowing other people to bleed our precious energy from us through petty demands and drama.

Over the past five years, I’ve learned:

  • You are allowed to say, “I can’t. I have a prior engagement,” even if that prior engagement is with yourself.
  • We aren’t supposed to chase people around, begging them to love us. “Friends” are not really friends when the relationship is always on their terms. The people who care about us will honor our boundaries. They will support us in the pursuit of our dreams instead of sabotaging us, or punishing us, for pursuing them.
  • We become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. It’s up to us to make sure those five people are challenging us to grow and be better, instead of pulling us under, using us as their personal flotation device.

Question of the day: What have you done to stop your energy drains? Has your own energy level increased as a result? What are you getting done?

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