I’m embarrassed. I wrote the post on Friday about my final day of work, and I forgot to include what might be the most important thing that I learned while working there. All the lessons and concepts I wrote about are transferrable to so many different areas and aspects of life. It’s important to listen to what the terminally ill have to say, but it’s also important to listen to others, especially those in your life who you care about. It’s important to hold space for others, it’s important to be able to compartmentalize, and on and on the list goes. The most significant for me, though, the one I use on an almost daily basis, is put your energy where it is being received.
In the grand scheme of things, my omission worked out. The concept I forgot to include was arguably the most important, important enough to merit its own blog post. It can mean different things to different people. For my boss, it meant spending more time with the families that wanted to hear what he had to say, not that he wouldn’t spend time with other families, but I don’t see the point of lingering with people who are dismissive or disinterested in the things you’re telling them. You’d want to spend time with the people who are receiving you, receiving your energy, giving you that positive vibe. It means several things to me.
Friends: I’m blessed enough in this life to have a lot of friends all over the continental US, and even in other countries. I know that I don’t deserve that, and that I question other’s judgment, but I’ll absolutely take it. Some are closer than others, and some I’ve been friends with since I was in preschool. It’s amazing to see how these relationships grow, how they progress, and how you’re able to share experiences as you both move into the next stage of life. As nice as it is to have an abundance of good people in my life, sometimes, for whatever reason, you grow apart from someone. Maybe they move away, or you just grow into different people with different interests. Sometimes they marry someone, and the couple chooses to draw into itself or into their families, and you lose touch. It’s important to recognize when this happens. It can be an incredibly tough choice to make, but you have to know when you’re the only one putting in time and effort into the relationship. You have to know when it’s time to sever ties.
Relationships: Admittedly, I haven’t been in many since I become a legal adult. I’m dating a bit now, but I’m really waiting for that person who excites me, who gives me that rush. The relationships I’ve been in have all taught me something, and have made me a better person overall, even though they didn’t work out. I’m single right now, likely will be for the foreseeable future, and that means I have to be able to recognize when the person I’m texting or contacting just isn’t as into it as I am. That asymmetry can be draining, and it’s harrowing to have that moment when you realize that this has become a one-way street, that you’re the only one who cares, that you’re annoying the other person, and that they’re too nice to tell you that this isn’t going to work. When you experience that moment of clarity, you have to be able to do a dead stop, or eventually wean yourself off of that person. If you have intense feelings for that person, breaking the bonds can be very difficult to do, but it will only make the pain worse if you continue to hold onto something that isn’t what it was or never was. Don’t chase people who don’t want to be caught.
Family: This was a tough one for me to write, for many reasons. I do consider myself a family man, someone who would do anything for anyone in his family, someone who is closely connected. It’s also tough because I’ve never really had to cut anyone off in my family, but I know people who have. The relationship just became too toxic, and they had to take a step back. I can’t imagine having to make a decision like this, can’t imagine the emotional toll that it would exact on a person. I may not have either or my biological parents, but I have a stepmother with a husband who are both incredible, a sister and stepbrothers who are great, and five extended families that are all fantastic. I know that I’m blessed in this regard, and I hope that the day never comes when I have to stop putting my energy towards certain people because it just isn’t having the effect that I want it to.
Put your energy where it’s being received; definitely a concept to live life by. Put your energy toward the people in your life who deserve it, who will hear you and receive you. Don’t waste your time in dead-end relationships and with people who will not give that energy back to you. Your personal relationships should boost you up, give you that shot of energy you need to keep going. They should bring you endless amounts of fulfillment. When a relationship in your life stops giving that to you, then you know it’s time to walk away. Stop trying to bail water out of the boat and just let it sink.
I’m not saying that this is easy, and clearly it isn’t. We can’t always explain why we want to stay attached to these people, even though they aren’t providing any benefits, even though the relationship is well past the expiration date. You may hold onto something much longer than you should, but don’t get hung up on the time that you’ve wasted; you’ll never get it back. Be happy that you realized your energy wasn’t being received, and that you had the strength within you to let go.