Recently, I was doing a consultation with a yoga client. We spent some time getting to know each other over a lovely lunch downtown. During this process she began to tell me about her story; bits and pieces of her life, her history. This included the physical and mental happenings that has brought her to this moment right now. Sharing with me why she felt yoga would be a nice compliment to her life. Near the end of our meeting I asked her if she had any more questions for me.
Oh boy did she ever. She looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Sky are you always this optimistic about life? Or do you find at the end of the day when you go home that you are filled with a bit of sadness?”
Naturally I paused for a moment as this was one of those questions that catches you completely off guard. I exhaled and gave an honest thought to my answer before sharing my response with her. It was one of those questions that really exposes your soul and makes you reflect on who you are every single day.
This was one of those layered questions where I found myself reflecting on scenarios in a way that allowed for meta-cognition. You know, where you see yourself as an “outsider” looking inwards on yourself. The next layer of this question had me analyzing myself on the inside. Questioning if what reflects on the outside to those around me is the same as how I feel on the inside. Is it just a role I have adopted? Or is this person that other people see a true reflection of who I am internally and who I wish to be?
See? I wasn’t kidding there are so many layers involved here, making what looks like a fairly simple question, actually an incredibly complex and deep one. I felt like I paused for a lifetime when in reality it just took a few seconds for me to form my conclusion. I smiled, looked up at her and said just that. I then shared with her that “yes, I am this optimist about life, and I think my mother would agree!”
She smiled and nodded saying that she thought as much but wanted to be sure. I proceeded to ask her why she felt curious about this particular topic? She was checking because she had met many people who give off so much of their energy and light to everyone else that by the end of the day there is nothing left for themselves. Their bright light become dull and they are filled with a sad and empty feeling.
I nodded, reflecting on myself and the people that I know who have experienced this before. Of course at times I feel sadness, I am a work in progress after all. However, more often then not, I do try to see the world and myself in a positive light.
On my drive home that night, I found my thoughts circulating back to this question.
To be honest I have felt this feeling she spoke of before which left me drained and sad. Especially working in the realm of mental health where all I wanted was for my patients to feel better every. single. day.
I would spend the day “entertaining” them in hopes that my energy, ridiculous behavior, conversation, stories, energy etc… would help to brighten up their day. What I found happened was that at the end of the day I would come home and feel completely gassed. As if my gas tank was completely empty.
At the time, I did not understand the concept of conservation of myself. I did not realize that my energy had a cap out. Near the end of the day I did not notice how the smiles felt more forced, how my patience became more thin, how my temper would flare both inwards and outwards more easily.
Energy is not a free-flowing faucet that continues forever and what a wake up call it was to realize this.
Now that I have a better understanding of myself, I know my energy is pressurized. The best way to describe it is to think of a pressurized container that is controlled by a valve. I can let some out and know that the container will replenish. However, if I let all the energy seep out of the valve, I will be completely drained.
What a game changer! Learning about this personal container has helped me manage my energy. Meaning at the end of the day (for the most part), I have enough energy left for my loved ones and myself. This keeps my smile authentic, my patience and my temper more controlled, allowing me to see the world in a bright way.
Have you every analyzed youself such a way? Asking your self if who you are on the inside aligns with what other people see when they are surrounded by you? In doing so do you see yourself clearly?