Truth Bomb Tuesday: To avoid energy vampires, we need discipline.
Most times, we choose the wrong discomfort.
I think this is probably true generally. When we make a bad choice in life, it’s rarely because we chose the painful option over the pain free option.
Most times it’s because we choose the wrong discomfort. We chose the option that minimised short-run pain but maximised long run pain.
I’m speaking generally here but today I’m talking about something in particular.
And I’m trying to explain why so many of us end up in situations that are draining us of vital energy – when we’re giving our precious life energy to someone when we know deep down that it’s not the best use of our energy.
And I think the thing that trips us up is our own generosity and an awareness of our own powers.
So we might see someone who’s in a bit of a mess. And we might be well aware that they’re in a mess of their own making. And we can probably see that there’s really no possibility for sustainable change.
They’re in a hole that they can’t get out of, until they make that choice for themselves.
But we can also see that we could get involved and make things better at the margin. We know there’s some good we can do. Even if we can’t fix it, we can see that if we got involved, we could make things better.
And that sets up a discomfort. Knowing that you could help – seeing very clearly the good you could do, and not doing it – that’s uncomfortable.
It’s hard to hold ourselves back and not get involved.
And that’s true even if we know that’s not the best long-term use of our energy. Even if we know that getting involved in their story means spending less time on our own story – means less energy going towards our own dreams and ambitions and endeavours.
And so we’re caught between two discomforts. It’s uncomfortable to not get involved. It’s uncomfortable if we do get involved.
But most times, in my experience, my people choose to get involved. They sacrifice their own energies to support someone else’s story.
Because humans are fundamentally caring and generous (despite what you see in the media.)
But also because we have to deal with the first discomfort in the here and now. Every time we tune in with that person’s situation, we have to deal with the discomfort of not getting involved.
That happens here and now, and then again and again.
The discomfort of having sacrificed our energies at the alter of someone else? That’s a problem for tomorrow.
And we always discount the future.
As a result, we choose the wrong discomfort. We don’t have the discipline and mental toughness to ride out the short-run discomfort, and as a result, we plop ourselves in long run discomfort and disillusionment.
It takes discipline and it takes toughness. It takes knowing what you’re about and what you want to achieve in life with real clarity.
But it’s a discipline we need to cultivate.
We can’t achieve great things if we’re always selling ourselves out to avoid the wrong discomfort.