Sooner or later, hopefully we realize that life is too short to merely settle for what comes along, when we can create a more fulfilling existence by following our own joy. By now, you’re probably very clear on what you don’t want, but are not sure how to follow the path that honors your true desires.
The first step in this process is to listen to that small voice within and get clear on what you do want. Often, in order to obtain clarity on what you want, you have to acknowledge, and then release, those individuals or situations that drain your energy, even if others don’t agree or understand.
One way to start doing so is to make a list of the people, things, or situations that are impeding your growth and dragging you down. You may be surprised by how much you’re putting up with that’s depleting your energy. Ultimately, this process of recognizing and removing your energy drains will lead you to do more important things with your time, which will result in a better quality of life.
Below are some energy drains that may be weighing you down:
• Friends who call you only when they need something.
• Constantly being subjected to the rants of a critical or complaining associate.
• Accepting one-way relationships.
• Continually dealing with angry outbursts by family members.
Several years ago, there was one person on my list who caused me great turmoil because I allowed her to vent her anger at me by phone when she was troubled by something. It could be something she felt I did to her, or just something negative going on in her life. I would get off the phone exhausted, and feeling bad about myself. A friend of mine suggested that I lovingly tell this woman that I couldn’t allow her to speak to me in this way anymore, but would be willing to listen to her if she communicated her feelings in a calm tone of voice.
So I ended up telling her, “I love you, but I cannot allow you to yell at me any longer.” At first she ignored me, so I repeated the request by staying calm but firm, and said if she continued to talk to me in this manner, I would need to end the call immediately.
She was not appreciative of my newfound voice, but I had to speak my truth whether she approved or not. I realized that I didn’t have to settle, or endure anyone else’s destructive, negative behavior. That one action led to many others that put an end to the cycle of “settling,” which enhanced my life as a whole in many positive ways.
Write down five ways in which you’re settling, or putting up with behavior you’re not comfortable with, and the reasons you think you’re doing so. Then next to each item, write down how you’re going to counteract this behavior for your highest good.