I heard someone say to me, a long time ago-”You are wasting your emotions. It’s just not worth it”.
That statement has been my mantra for many years. It came from someone who I highly respected as a friend and a colleague, who is no longer in my life. Every day, I am grateful that he taught me this lesson.
What Is Emotional Waste?
Consider the energy you put into being angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, pissed off, or agitated. Your brain, soul, heart and inner being takes a dump EVERY time you Feel negative emotions toward something.
Picture a gas gauge in your vehicle. Turmoiled emotions are like revving your engine and watching the fuel needle plummet toward empty. It takes more energy to feel resentment than it does to feel love, kindness, or contentment.
It’s never beneficial to burn this kind of energy. In fact, it is what will cause chaos inside your heart, brain, mitochondria, and adrenal system.
Take a moment, and think about how your body reacts, when you are pissed at someone or feel hurt by someone’s “off the cuff” words. Your heart rate increases, as your blood flow speeds up. You may sweat, your face becomes flushed and sometimes you tremble and shake. Or, maybe you cringe and feel like crumbling in the bathroom, as you wipe tears of frustration off of your cheeks.
Is It REALLY Worth It?
This is where you need to step back, and analyze the situation. I have worked on this practice for many years, and trust me when I say, I have more than likely added a few years to my “warranty”.
I have learned to step out of my emotional state, just for a moment, and scan the situation to see if it is actually WORTH my emotions.
Think of your emotions as cash. You wouldn’t go to a store and spend your hard earned cash on something that you couldn’t see as “worth the cost”, would you? You see some gadget that looks like it could be worth buying, but when you actually see what it feels like, or looks like, and it’s a piece of crap, you change your mind and don’t buy it. Alternatively, it’s out of your budget, and seems like something you need or want, but you walk away and consider if it is worth paying the money on.
The analogy is the same in an emotional situation.
Let’s Look at Some Examples:
Road Rage- You’re on a busy 5 lane freeway, and there’s a car in front of you in the fast lane that is driving well under the speed limit.
You have choices:
- Get angry, flash your lights, cuss out loud as you get as close to their back bumper as possible, beeping your horn as your blood pressure rises to a boiling point. You change lanes and flip the “idiot” the bird as you pass them in the next lane. You start to pant with your anger, putting your body in distress.
- Calmly change lanes and pass them, glaring at them as you go by. You feel slight rage inside, as your hands tremble on the gripped wheel, but you get past them. Someone up ahead is going to slow, and it starts all over again.
- Patiently wait behind them and listen to your radio, singing loudly and feeling grateful for the moment of calm within your vehicle. You don’t feel pressured to drive fast, as you can just stay and ride out the wait.
Your Boss- You have a report due and deadlines to meet. Just as you are completing one task, your boss throws five more at you and tells you you need to step up your game.
- Feel pissed off and frustrated as you look at your pile of overwhelming work. Grumble cuss words at your boss because she can’t see how hard you are working to make her company look good. Stomp around the office and complain to co-workers.
- Sigh loudly, as you stroll off to the bathroom, wiping away tears of frustration. You consider quitting as you hide in the toilet stall for the third time that week, wishing life wasn’t so hard.
- Take a deep breath, grab a coffee and prioritize the work in front of you, feeling slight empathy for your boss, who is also under the crunch. You consider meeting with her to discuss a plan to complete your goals, as you sip your coffee. Tell yourself you can only work as hard as time and effort allow, and hope to have it done. If it isn’t all completed, find ways to work with your boss to finish it.
Jealousy- You find out, by accident, that your significant other is flirting with others. Maybe they are sending shady text messages, or sharing pics of themselves on Insta, that you would never condone. In fact, you have never seen the photos of them that they are sharing, and you have no idea who this “other person” is.
- Sit at home and seethe. Feel every kind of enraged, heartbroken emotion burns your insides out, as you consider calling both of them out for doing you wrong. Fly off the handle when you see your person, calling them every name you can think of, as you throw plates, cups and photos of the two of you at his/her head. Storm out and speed away in your car, through a blur of tears, planning your escape.
- Plot murders of your significant other and the bitch on Insta- send the “other person” threatening messages and when you see your significant other, you threaten him/her too, as your heart races, endless tears of rage emit from your eyes, and you scream and yell obscenities before you give them the chance to speak. It ends in a screaming match, and ultimately a long night of talking and wasting precious time and energy, as they promise to end it, and never do it again.
- Take a deep breath, tell yourself-”If she wants him, she can have him”. Calmly pack a bag and go to your bestie’s for a quiet glass of wine, as you plan for “the talk” and possible scenarios to make your life better. Know that you deserve better and you will find it. You know that taking time away from the environment is what is best for your head and heart. Face your spouse head-on, asking questions and hearing answers. Weigh the pros and cons of spending your hard earned emotions on them.
All of the above situations have a PLAN C.
It takes practice to have the mind strength to step back from emotional situations and evaluate the importance of your emotional energy and how you spend the “cash” supply of it.
We are all gifted with emotional energy to spend. Unfortunately, just like a bank account, there is only so much you have to withdraw. If you go into “overdraft” with your emotional stress, it becomes dangerous to your mental health and the ability to get it under control.
When you go beyond your cash supply of emotions, it becomes easy to be riddled with Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Guilt, and a huge gift basket of other physical complications. It can cause eating disorders, exhaustion, acne, illness, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure and pain, just to name a few.
How It’s Done:
You can do this.
Envision those feeling as money in a bank account. It also helps to turn yourself into a robot without emotions, just for a moment, as you take a step out of the situation. It becomes easy to visualize yourself stepping out and looking in as if you are a passerby with an outside perspective.
Tell yourself that you can step back out of the environment, and envision the situation as if you are looking into someone else’s problem. Trust me, I do this on the daily. It’s much easier to see your problems through the lens of someone else, right?
As you step back ask yourself these questions and consider your emotional account:
- Is this person worth my emotional money?
- Will they drain my emotional cash and are they worth the price?
- Is this actually MY issue or does it belong to the other person?
- Am I wasting my emotional cash more and more often on this person?
- Is this situation worth my investment of emotions and will I gain a return on it if I’m patient and wait it out?
- Can I have a joint account with this person and be able to share all emotional cash with them in the future?
- Will this person appreciate the amount of emotional cash I am spending on them?
- Would this person spend their emotional cash on me, if the roles were reversed?
- Is this person aware of how much emotional money I spend on them? Can I make them aware?
- Do I want profit, or do I want to break even, on what I am willing to spend emotionally on this person?
In the case of road rage– The answer to all of these questions is a big fat NO. That person has NO idea how you feel in the privacy of your car. They have no idea that you are feeling rage, contempt, frustration and the yearning to punch a puppy. So WHY WASTE IT? Why Empty your tank or your account on them? There is NO return, NO profit, NO share options and NO reason to emit the fuel of your feelings on them. Conduct yourself accordingly, and become robotic. Just because they are not doing what you want them to do, is not cause for your emotional waste. You have ZERO control of what they are doing-you only have control of your reaction.
Your boss may be a different story. Your hard work and commitment to them may seem futile at times, but if you put yourself in their shoes, and empathize with them, you can change your emotional output. Coming up with calm, rational solutions is much better for you and your well being, than wasting valuable time and energy seething and feeling dark emotions. If you enjoy your job and need it to make your mortgage payment, it’s more important to breathe through the problem, looking for solutions and accepting your limits. Are they worth your emotional cash? In some ways, yes, for your own profit. However, they are not worth going into the debt of overdraft. They are worth your time and effort, but not necessarily your emotional drainage. Again, you can’t control your boss’s attitude-only your response to it. If you work with them, maybe they can see the situation through your lens, and understand the problem more clearly.
Your significant other and that word JEALOUSY. Other words come to mind- RESENTMENT, INSECURITY, FEAR, UNWORTHINESS, BITTERNESS, HATE, SOUL RAGE, DECEPTION.
Nope- Not worth it.
Think about it for a minute. (This one was my biggest hurdle). You are with someone who you love, trust, care for, ache for, lust after, want, and invest yourself into. When they take that away simply by flirting with another person, or by having some form of “relationship” with another person, they become unworthy of your emotions. That is the bottom line. They are making withdrawals from your account, without your consent.
Any opportunity you have, to turn the tables and think about what YOU would do, given the same situation, try and envision it. If you know that you would be incapable of causing emotional debt to someone you love, it’s time to re-evaluate the value of the relationship and what the solution could be.
Remember, you never want to pay back someone with negative emotional funds. That just creates more debt.
It is NOT easy to walk away from someone you invest into. But it’s usually what you need to do. Sometimes you can both work through infidelity or indiscretions, but it doesn’t happen overnight and you have to invest more emotional cash than you have in your account-but so does the other person in your relationship. You need to take the time and look at your emotional budget and see if it will allow you to invest further. Once you review your funds, if it comes back in a big deficit, get the hell out. They aren’t worth the price of emotional debt. Tell yourself over and over again; “If she wants him, she can have him and his emotional costs”. Control your reaction and your actions. Only THEY can control theirs.
The next time you are in a stressful or frustrating situation, grab yourself for a minute and step aside. Maybe the kids are fighting at home, or your husband is yelling at a hockey game on TV. Perhaps your boss is giving you shit for not doing a report that she emailed you and you forgot about- you feel your neck hair stand on end, and you fight the urge to scream for it all to “just stahhhhp!!!”
- Step 1- Become robotic. Stop your thought process for a moment, Close your eyes, take a deep breath. “I am a robot without emotions” Remove your mental insides from the situation or physically step back.
- Step 2- Stand outside the emotional ring of fire and look at it as an outsider. Think of what is happening inside your emotional and physical body. Are you sweating? Shaking? Tearing up? Why?
- Step 3- Look at the target of your emotions. Are they worth your emotional energy and cash? Are they worth spending it on? Would they spend this emotional amount on you?
- Step 4- Consider solutions. Maybe you walk away and shake off the stress, or maybe you find an answer to the problem. Processing solutions takes less emotional drainage than freaking out and burning your tank or account.
- Step 5- Move forward, and put it behind you. Feel grateful that you didn’t waste your emotions, and that you have cash left in your account, and fuel in your tank.
Wasn’t that easy?
I am telling you, this will extend your life beyond the warranty or bank account that you have been offered. Minimizing where you spend your emotional energy and stash, is worth it in so many ways. Your mind, heart, soul, and body will thank you. It will provide you with a new found freedom and self-worth.
Once you have a grip on what is worth spending on, and what isn’t, you will see your account grow over time. Before you know it, you will feel lighter, more confident, happier, and more in control of how you and your body react to stress and conflict.
Find your PLAN C and all will fall into place. ❤