We hear about energy all the time. Clean energy, green energy, sustainable energy. Wind power, water power, solar power. What about people power? What do we do with our energy? How do we expend our energy during the day?
Here’s a scenario to consider: A guy’s girlfriend breaks up with him. He’s filled with despair, is tired, has no energy. He’s dirty, hasn’t showered in days, his apartment’s a mess, he’s a mess. His girlfriend calls. “I’m so, so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking. Please, please forgive me. Can I at least come over and talk to you, explain what happened? He says she can come over in two hours. Suddenly he’s full of energy. He cleans the apartment, changes the linens, showers, does a load of laundry, gets dressed and runs downstairs to the small market to get some basics. He’s bursting with energy.
It’s possible that this, or something similar, has happened to you, So the question is – where was all this guy’s energy before his girlfriend called? And how did he get it back?
The answer is, of course, that it was always there. And, he was using it – all of it. He was using all of his energy to feel bad – and doing a great job! It takes a LOT of energy to be miserable.
When I was still in college, and in love with someone I had been dating for some time, we went on a date that was just strange. He met my aunt, who interrogated him – a scene out of a Woody Allen movie, believe me. We saw a movie that upset me, and I got emotional. Basically, it was not a fun time. So the next Tuesday – the day he usually called me to make plans for us to go out – he didn’t call. I had felt something was going to happen, but this was really bad. No communication at all. I cried.
The next day I went to my classes, had a great day, and a great week. I spent time with friends on the weekend, and came Tuesday night – no phone call. I was devastated. I cried, I was sobbing at one point, curled up in a little ball. Sadness personified. But then I went to classes for the rest of the week, spent time with friends on the weekend, and worked on a paper. Next Tuesday, the same thing happened – no call on Tuesday, tears and sobs.
After a few weeks of this, something strange happened. I was sitting in my bedroom crying, and I needed to get a tissue. So I went to the bathroom, got a tissue, went to the sink to rinse my face, and looked in the mirror. The reflection of my face, crying, sobbing, made me break into hysterical laughter. It was so very funny. I was putting in so much effort to be miserable every Tuesday! How long would this last?
Not long. I realized that the situation was that my boyfriend had left, and I had a life anyway. So the next day I went to my classes, engaged myself in living happily, and the following Tuesday I went out with friends. I reclaimed my “Tuesday night energy” and reclaimed a portion of myself that my emotions had been controlling. I didn’t even think about whether or not my boyfriend would call – and he didn’t. It was okay. I was okay.
So – what I’m trying to say is that in most cases, no matter the tragedy, heartbreak, upset, eventually you will come out of it and feel yourself again. I am not discounting the pain of the death of a loved one, the loss of something deeply significant, or the hurt of being misjudged or found to be unworthy. What I am saying is that it helps to take the time to mourn, or to examine your pain. But then there comes a time when you reclaim the energy you are using to be unhappy, and put it to better use.