I’ve been continuing to think about energy as a currency of life, and how it pertains to my own life. It isn’t hard for me to acknowledge that I have a lot on my plate – and I like to set up my life in this manner because I think that a certain level of busy-ness (have you ever noticed that you can write that as €œbusiness?€) equates to life richness and fullness. I like to feel productive, and needed, and that people appreciate my effort and my energy. However, this setup might be troublesome given that I set high expectations of myself, that I am hard on myself, and this is true to an extreme.

You see, I really like to please other people. I might tackle academics, social situations, all of those things with self interest and incentive, but it doesn’t feel good if I feel like I am letting other people down, or I really want people to like me. Thus, I feel like I must excel and be highly impressive in all my academic, social, and personal commitments. it isn’t OK to be average at something, or for someone to not like me, or not be pleased with me. For most of my life, it’s been all or nothing. If I am perfect and meeting the high end of the dimension, great, it feels good. If I am sub-par, it either needs to be fixed or cut out completely. Granted that it takes a HUGE amount of energy to constantly meet high expectations at everything, you might imagine that maintaining this dynamic takes a LOT of energy, probably tires me out, and can lead to emotional distress when I fall short.

So let’s think about what is on my plate, at the moment. Vanessa as a€¦ student, an employee, a room-mate, a friend, a sister and daughter, a future grad student, an athlete, and a woman. With all of these roles come ideals, and I create expectations for myself. In my mind, I must excel in class, at my job, in my relationships, with my body, and falling short even the tiniest bit feels like a failure. That’s really bad. Can I learn to be OK with being average at something, and with the idea that some people won’t like me? Is it OK with me that I might not be able to please everyone, at all times, because it feels really liberating to think that I don’t have to live with that burden.

This comes back to taking responsibility, and feeling like I must be under control. I feel like I must take charge of relationships, and be responsible for doing things so that I appeal to others, so that they like me, no matter what.

If someone doesn’t like me? I feel like it’s my fault, and I feel awful, and I think of what I might do so that they DO like me. I have to work harder to please them, find out what they want, and be that.

It’s time to challenge myself. I am going to live my life, and be me, and remove the personal responsibility for how other people feel about me. If they don’t like me? I leave it up to them to deal with that. It shouldn’t be my emotional burden to worry if I overwhelm people, or take responsibility for managing how someone feels about me. If I want to see or spend time with someone, I’m going to put energy into that relationship, but not worry about pleasing them. I will do my best at everything that I touch, but if best isn’t pleasing enough to someone else, it is their responsibility to decide how to deal with that. And I will continue to try and evaluate myself more in a currency of energy and learn to value shades of gray. I can’t be perfect, I shouldn’t expect myself to be, I only can expect myself to work hard, be squirmy, and remain humble. In doing these things, I think that I might have better relationships, and find fulfillment in this balance.

It seems so simple, but it’s going to be a challenge for me, but it’s a beautiful idea, a new perspective, and I’m excited to try looking at the world through it.

Suggested Citation:
Sochat, Vanessa. "My use, or overuse, of energy." @vsoch (blog), 28 May 2008, https://vsoch.github.io/2008/my-use-or-overuse-of-energy/ (accessed 16 Apr 24).