Thank you liz gilbert. this is so spot on.
“THE SECRET TO HAVING MORE ENERGY!
Dear Ones –
My whole life, I’ve defined myself as a low-energy person. For years, I would have told you that I get run-down easily, and I’ve always needed about 10 hours of sleep a day to get by. (8 hours is minimum, but 10 is ideal.) I would have told you that I am susceptible to every cold and virus out there, and that, on a group trip, I will for sure be the first person to get sick. On a hike, I would be the first one to quit. I have always been somebody who falls asleep in movies, in class, on park benches. I’ve been known to go visit people at their offices, and ask if they have a supply closet somewhere that I can take a nap.
But that’s all changed in the last few years. I’m 46 now and I have more energy than I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve finally discovered what is (for me, at least) the secret to having more energy. It’s not a supplement, not a beverage, not a diet, not a ground-breaking new exercise regime.
It’s much simpler than that.
Here’s what I’ve realized: If I want more energy, I don’t need to go out and find more energy from some outside source. I only need stop wasting the energy that I already possess on stupid shit.
For most of my life, the reason I was so lethargic was because I was pouring my energy into various external emotional black holes. These black holes included: strings of bad romantic relationships, nasty breakups and desperate sexual encounters; co-dependent or toxic or otherwise exhausting friendships; the thankless work of trying to please people who cannot be pleased; the equally thankless work of trying to save people who don’t really want to be saved; the TOTALLY thankless work of trying to get somebody to love me who doesn’t want to love me; getting involved in other people’s business that is none of my business; trying to pretend I was somebody I am not; spending money on things I didn’t really want or need in order to soothe myself from my latest emotional horror show; taking on tasks (out guilt or duty) that I was never equipped for or good at; denying myself self-care out of a sense of low self-worth; wearing myself out by digging deep pits in which to bury my pathologies rather than healing them…
There were more black holes, but that’s a good starter list.
Any of it sound familiar?
All of those things take energy. Metric shit-tons of energy. So much energy that, of course, by the end of each day I had nothing left for myself. (In fact, I usually STARTED each day with nothing left for myself.)
So I walked around for years saying, “Man, I have such low energy! Maybe I should eat more flax seeds, or something?”
It ain’t about the flax seeds. (Although flax seeds are very nice, don’t get me wrong. But it ain’t about the flax seeds.)
The truth is, as I have learned in recent years, I actually have TONS of energy. I’m a person who was born to be on fire with life. But the reason I was so exhausted until very recently, was because I spent most of my life leaking my energy out (pouring it out really) into all the wrong places.If you blew through energy like I blew through energy, you will be out of energy very quickly, too. For me to say, “Jeez, I just don’t have enough energy!” is like Mike Tyson saying, as he faces bankruptcy after blowing through his 400 million dollar fortune: “Jeez, I just didn’t earn enough money!”
No, Mike Tyson. You did not go bankrupt because you weren’t given enough money. You went bankrupt because you bought 10 mansions, 100 luxury cars, a golden bathtub, and THREE ALBINO TIGERS!
And no, Liz Gilbert, you were not tired because you didn’t have enough energy, or because you weren’t drinking enough water. You were tired because you YOU TRADED EVERY MOLECULE OF ENERGY YOU HAD FOR DRAMA AND TRAUMA.
Fucked up interpersonal relationships were my albino tigers, you guys. Toxic friendships were my golden bathtubs. Trying to please, change, seduce, or fix every single person I met were my 100 luxury cars. It all bled me dry.
The transformation for me came when I started asking myself “Where is my energy going?” instead of asking, “How can I get more energy?”
When I saw where my energy was going, and decided that I didn’t want it going there anymore — that’s when everything started to change. I realized that I had made my life too big, too crazy, too out-of-control. I couldn’t begin to feel the magnitude of my own energy until I learned to create boundaries. Or how to excuse myself from other’s people’s dramas. Or how to stop inventing dramas of my own, the way kids carelessly play with matches until eventually they burn something down. Or how to stop pretending to be happy when I’m not. Or how to accept the fact that the only person I can change is myself (and even then — BARELY!) Or how to get out of the “I will rescue you if you rescue me!” business. Or how to learn to stop saying “Yeah, sure!” when what I really meant to say was “Hell, no!” Or how to measure friendship not by how many “friends” I have, but how deep and true the love is with the tiny number of people whom I can actually trust with my life. Or how to learn to forgive myself and others, and shake it off, and move on.
I write this message to you this fine morning, having just come back from a five-mile run. My thirty-year-old self couldn’t have run five FEET, because she was so weary, so spent, so tired, so jacked-up and wiped out and bone dry and aching and depleted. But my day is just getting started, and I’m fire with all that is to be done. Gonna work on a new book today. Gonna check in with my peeps. Gonna get on my knees at some point and pray. Gonna cook a nice dinner tonight. Gonna laugh with my husband.
Suddenly there aren’t enough hours in the day for all that I want to be, all that I want to do, and for the tiny handful of people who I actually love with all my heart.
Life is smaller than it used to be for me, but so, so, SO much bigger.
So, of course…now I have to ask you: Where is your energy going? What is your albino tiger? What can you let go of, to gain access to the power that is already inside you?