Wasted Energy

I have realized, recently, that I have been wasting a lot of my time and energy.

In my every interaction, I have been gauging the other person’s possible perceptions of me, how I “come across,” and adjusting my actions, my “persona” accordingly.  If I was troubled, I worried that I was annoying or burdening the other person, which only increased the stress that I faced, needlessly.  In happier times, I was afraid that I sounded too cheesy, too cynical, that my views were wrong for the situation, and so on.

We spend so much time and energy creating masks to wear.  And it’s all for naught.

We should be kind.  We should do our best not to hurt anyone, and apologize and try to make amends if we do.  But why is it so important that we are liked?  We fear isolation, but that is not a likely reality.  Think about it.  People like other people, by default.  I know, personally, someone has to cause a lot of hurt, and not try to make amends, for me not to like them.  The odds are, we are not being judged as much as we perceive.  Those who will judge, are dealing with their own insecurities.  Our changing ourselves, or creating false masks to wear, will not help these people.

Pretending doesn’t help anyone.

It’s occurred to me today, how much energy I have, with the focus taken off of making people like me.  Now I have the energy to continue with this crazy decluttering effort in my house.  Now I have the energy to work with my daughter on her therapy.  Now I have the energy to listen to others, to hear their stories, and to give my full attention.  I have the energy to look for ways in which I can contribute.

People will like you.  So please forget about that.  And turn the focus to something that really does matter.

Morning Of Wonder Stock Photo

24 thoughts on “Wasted Energy

  1. YES!!! Bethany!!! It is a terrible waste of time to pretend. If people don’t like me being a goof, then don’t spend time with me. That is how I truly feel, 100%. I will laugh with the sinners over crying with the saints any day, so I surround myself accordingly. Authenticity is indeed, very attractive.

  2. Good for you! I’ve always been shy so it’s been hard for me to share the “real” me but you’re right, people aren’t expecting perfection. In fact, most people like you BETTER when you’re real.

  3. Beautiful post. I have not had that particular problem stated so directly. It jolted me! In a very positive way. I read you because you are open with your struggles – and that is 100% better than listening to someone that claims all-knowing bliss.

    • Ah, I tell my story because we all really just have different versions of the same story. It’s time for all of us to figure that out and stop feeling like we have something to hide. 🙂

  4. ” Our changing ourselves, or creating false masks to wear, will not help these people.”

    And so the next step is to quit doing this with ourselves. We hide from ourselves using various personalities and personas as well. As we remove the heavy armor that we use to hide behind, we feel vulnerable at first, but we find how repressive and heavy that load truly was.

    Dan

    • Wow, you certainly gave me something to think about, Dan! I think for many years I was afraid to find out who I really was. Still working on that one! 🙂

  5. YES!!!! Oh, I needed this today. I struggle with this same thing. I often replay conversations with people over and over in my head and think about what I said and worry about how it came across, etc, etc. This kind of thinking is so exhausting! I think I will print out this post and tape it into my journal as a reminder to myself not waste energy this way. : )

    I’ve been thinking about you wondering how the de-cluttering is going. I will shoot you an email soon! : )

    • Sandy! I’ve missed you, future neighbor… I, too, have been guilty of replaying conversations, picking them apart, and engaging in my other bad habit, overthinking. A lot of times I project my own insecurities on others.

      Ah, decluttering. It’s going. We do occasionally get forest fires up here. I can keep hoping, right? :-p

  6. Oh boy, my comment just disappeared, methinks! If this is comment #2, please delete!

    I struggle with this one myself, Bethany. My home has less clutter, so I will take it as a sign I’m moving in the right direction?

  7. oh boy Bethany, I have spent half my life trying to make people meet me where I want to be met and the other half trying to change people! both self-defeating behaviours. Just keep showing up for your life and put your energy into what you are doing. Keep the energy for you. Onwards! X

  8. Dearest Bethany, thank you so much for my gift from Amazon, I will certainly enjoy reading it Kindest regards Susie Hollams

  9. Thank you for sharing your life and insights with us. I have always thought no one wanted to hear what I was going through so life was always “good” or “fine”. It has taken me a while to realize that I need to be honest in my life (the bad as well as the good) and with my friends. Thank you also for the e-book. I can’t wait to read it.

  10. This reminds me of when Aaron and I were first married. He’s a polo shirt guy, I’m a tank top girl. I always felt like people pitied him, or thought he’d picked me up from the side of the road whenever we were out in public. Living in California at the time did not help. I started buying polo-style shirts, so I wouldn’t look quite so much the charity case I felt I looked. I hated every one of those shirts, and it would take me forever to get dressed, since I didn’t want to wear any of them.

    I am now at the point of only caring about syncing up for family pictures and holidays. Beyond that, I can only say that I hope whomever ended up with those shirts are enjoying them far more than I ever did.

    • Ugh, polo shirts. 😦 They look good on guys, but I can’t do it either. I’m definitely a sundress kind of girl. It is freeing to get past what other people think, isn’t it?

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