Episode 78: What is NOT Worth Your Mental Energy
Episode 78: What is NOT Worth Your Mental Energy
Hey all, welcome back to this week’s episode! I know you’re going to find it incredibly useful and applicable as I share 5 things that are NOT worth your mental energy and how to effectively move on from them so you can utilize your mind for what you really want to create and how you really want to feel.
1.) Takers – just because you CAN do TW doesn’t mean you always WANT to
There’s something that I find quite a few clients wrestling with pretty often, especially if they’ve been doing this work for a while and understand the model pretty well. It’s this notion that because you can change your thoughts and because you’re the creator of your feelings, you can be around anyone and “should” be able to be friends with everyone.
And you’re probably nodding your head because you might think that sounds nice and kind but listen, just because you can doesn’t mean that you want to.
Yes, it is true you can absolutely do thought work and be fine around all the humans. You can be in a room where people are loud and abrasive, and even though you’d prefer things a different way, you know that circumstances are neutral, and while it’d take extra effort, concentration, and constant awareness of your thoughts and what you’re creating you could do it.
But again, would you want to?
The first item on our 5 things that are not worth your mental energy is giving in to what I call “takers.” Now, of course, the term, “takers” is a thought and a label, and you have to be careful not to just use it casually because what you tell your mind is what you will see. Your brain will give you evidence to prove it true, so use with caution.
The main idea here isn’t to label people at all but rather to do a self-check in and to ask yourself a very important question, “Yes, I could do thought work, and yes, I could stay in this friendship, this environment but…do I want to?”
You only have a finite amount of mental energy each day, and there are some people that are just different than you are, and that’s great. We love, honor, and celebrate our differences and the variety around us, but if it’s not an easy connection, if it requires a heavy toll in your mental bank account, you have to ask yourself, is this what I want to be doing right now? Is this how I want to be spending my energy?
I know you know what I’m talking about because there are just some individuals and groups that, after associating with them for a while, you feel drained, and all you want to do now is veg, watch Netflix, and sleep. When you notice this about yourself, there are two things that you need to do: 1.) take ownership of it immediately. I recognize that I am feeling this way because of my thoughts and not because of the person or party. It’s because of my thoughts, my preferences, my manual, etc., and all of that is okay.
You’re allowed to be human, to have your own preferences, to like and connect with who and what you want to. There’s nothing wrong with the other person or party. And this is a really important step because sometimes we have a tendency to label the other person as “crazy” like, “Ah, she’s just crazy” or “She drives me crazy,” right? And that takes your agency away a bit and limits you because it’s confining her and your thoughts into a box, and there’s no fixing that. So when you own it, you own your thoughts about it; there’s empowerment and control over it. And nothing is wrong with the person or party in question.
One of my favorite thoughts is, “we love the humans. We are so good at being human,” and it’s true. Okay, so, own it and then decide what you want to do. Note, notice the question – what do you WANT to do? And not what do you think you SHOULD do? Sometimes that’s what we hear, and that’s not the question. The question is, what do you want? And with that, who do you want to be?
This other party, the person can be a family member, someone you’re in a calling with, a co-worker may be and in your mind, you might think you HAVE to be around them. You HAVE to spend time with them. You HAVE to put up with them, and all of that just isn’t true. You get to decide what you want, and if it’s in a calling, a family member, your co-worker, you get to decide what those interactions look like and how you’ll prepare for them and how you’ll take care of your needs afterwards as well.
I’m very careful with how I spend my time and also intentional about who I want to become, so being aware of how you’re feeling around people, what thoughts you’re having about people is important to notice and then to set parameters around these interactions.
I believe in inclusion and connection and never want to write any one off or tell myself that I can’t handle that person because that excludes and limits, but I’m also really kind and loving to myself and know that there are some interactions that I want to approach with extra intentionality and preparations.
It’s okay to recognize that some connections and relationships require extra thought work, and the more you know that about yourself, the more you can prepare and replenish afterwards. But telling yourself you should be friends with them, and you should answer their calls/texts/emails when they roll in whenever isn’t helpful, and it’s limiting you from creating and doing what you really want to be doing.
And you’ll know what I’m talking about because if you’re still thinking and ruminating over the interaction hours later every time you connect, that’s a tell-tale sign that maybe you want to set parameters for yourself with that. You don’t have to do anything you want to do ever. You don’t HAVE to have the conversation, that connection, go to that meeting, that family gathering, whatever it is. You don’t have to, and when you allow yourself to see this you’ll feel a weight off your shoulders. It’s not an easy out or meaning that you just do nothing because you don’t feel like it, chances are because of the kind of person you are you will want to go and do and be but there’s a difference between want and have to.
Be mindful of the “takers” in your life. They come in all varieties and some might be sneakier than others but watch your mental bank account so to speak. Do you feel depleted afterwards? Is it still expending a lot of mental energy even hours after parting ways? If so, check in with yourself and have a heart to heart and set parameters for you out of love for you and love for them.
If you try and just wade through it you’re going to create a nightmare for yourself. You’re going to feel resentful, frustrated, limited, and you’ll start noticing all their “faults” and just create this uncomfortable and draining experience for yourself. It’s okay to set clear parameters with yourself. You don’t have to share this with them. Like, I’m only giving you 1 hour of my time a week – because they won’t understand and they don’t need to only you need to.
I have a friend that fits into this bracket and she’s just so different than I am. The things she says and does are different from what I prefer but I do still like her and want to build that friendship but I recognize in me that I have a lot of thoughts about it so I have to be really intentional with these interactions and maybe I don’t choose to have that call just before I start work or in the morning because I might be thinking about it all day long and that would distract and limit me from doing what I want to be doing. So instead after work, after I’ve done my daily thought work I can be more flexible and curious about them – that’s the perfect time to build and grow our friendship.
So think about your interactions, your takers in your life and be very aware of the mental transaction. It doesn’t mean no or avoid – it really means prepare and prefer – what do you want to do? And what are you willing to do or give to have that?
Okay, that first one was kind of long and loaded because I know we all have our own takers in our lives and you want to be really careful with your mental budget while also not limiting yourself and your connection with others. So let’s move on to our second mental energy drainer to think about today and that’s indulging in what I call,
2.) Dead End Questions or speculation.
A quick definition of dead-end questions are questions that aren’t motivated by love or curiosity but rather are intended to shut down, to diminish, or to limit your growth.
These are questions like, “What’s wrong with me?”, “Why wasn’t I enough for them?”, “Why don’t they like me?”, “Why am I so fat?”, “Why am I so ugly?”, “Why can’t I ever get things right?”
You recognize these, yeah? These questions when you ask them to yourself they’re not really set up to offer you insight, inspiration, or forward movement. These are poised to insult, to berate, to diminish, and set you up for a good mental beating. Not fun. Plus, these take a huge toll on your mental budget.
Remember, your thoughts create how you feel and so if you’re engaging in thoughts like these think about how you’re going to feel?
Worthless, powerless, ashamed, guilty, small, etc.
The true purpose of questioning is to gain a greater insight, perspective towards growth and forward movement. Dead End questions are just that – dead ends. These are not worth your mental energy.
The same is true for speculation. I was recently asked the question, ***I just asked, “Why would you want to know that?” And they responded with, “Well, I don’t know, I just want to know, what do you think?” And again I pressed, “What’s the purpose behind that question? What’s the motivation to want to know that?”
And they didn’t have an answer because it’s pure speculation so here’s what I told them. I said, thinking in terms like that doesn’t really help me and because I can’t know the answer to that I want instead to choose to believe what will serve me and that’s to believe that everyone will. I want to believe the very best because it feels good, it feels motivating, it’s exciting to think forward like that.
And you can do this with speculation – there’s a lot of unrest and unease about the politics right now. And there’s speculation on both sides that can leave you feeling uneasy, uncomfortable, and insecure so speculating isn’t worth your mental energy. Instead, focus on what you want to believe , what will serve you and feel the best for you and then let your brain do what it does best by filtering and finding evidence to prove that thought true.
When you’re speculating, you’re playing with fears and the unknowns, and your brain will give you evidence to prove that this is confusing. You should be worried, you should be confused and see??? Here’s evidence for this and wait, there’s that too so you’re just in this state of indecision, confusion, and unrest. It’s not worth your mental energy.
Decide what feels most like love for you and run with that. Let your mind go to work proving that thought true, and it will because that’s what it does.
Okay #3 – Indecisiveness. This goes right along with what we just talked about but I want to take it one step further and show you why this is such a drain on your mental budget. We do a lot of what iffing. What if this? What if that? What if they don’t like me? What if this isn’t what I thought it was? What if it doesn’t work out? What if…
These create a lot of fear, a lot of scarcity, a lot of thought drama. And the biggest and most common argument I get here is that you think it’s fact. Like you have to rely on the other party or the other side to make the decision for you.
For example, you might think, “I don’t know what this really is – are we friends? Are we not friends? Are we really “dating”? Are we not dating? What do they think?”
I have family members that we never know if they’re coming to an event until they actually show up and this indecisiveness is mentally draining. Are they coming? Are they not coming? Do I prepare more food? Do I not? Do I buy the thing? Do I not?
Here’s the answer, you decide. You don’t wait for them to offer their input. You get to decide. Instead of looking outward and waiting for them – becoming a victim and needing them to offer answers, relief, and certainty -you can create it.
This is even true with things like medical diagnosis and the like. You can decide everything is fine, we’re healthy, it’s going to work out great. And I know a part of you is like, “eek…I don’t know. I just have to wait and see,” and in the meantime, you’re a mental mess, and it’s just draining your thoughts and your energy. You don’t have to wait. Make the decision now.
Yes, we’re healthy – and you are until you’re not. Until you’re given other information to think about, why not run with the thought that will serve you most and be the most productive for you?
Yes, we’re dating, we’re together until we’re not – how different does that confidence feel over the unsure, doubting well…I don’t actually know what we are or what this is. Like we’re waiting for the other party to decide for us.
Stop guessing, stop what iff-ing and start deciding! You DO know. You know enough to move forward – run with it!
4.) Books and other media that doesn’t spark JOY or at least curiosity
I think is one of the most subtle mental energy wasters and depleters that we have. It’s because you’re scrolling or because it moves quickly passed it doesn’t really register that this is mentally draining but the tell tale sign is how you feel after you put down your phone, after you close the book, after you turn off the TV.
What was the cost of that activity? And is it worth the price?
I’m really careful about my personal social media account and what I allow myself to see when I’m scrolling – even friends and family members – just because you know them doesn’t mean you have to or want to follow them.
If it’s depleting your mental energy rather than adding to it, is it worth the cost?
I used to be one of those people that had to finish a book because I started it, like I can’t stop now! I’m already 60 pages invested into it! So I’d suffer through a terrible book just because I started it and then the cost afterward was even greater because instead of costing me an hour, now I’ve spent hours and I’m not motivated to pick up another book immediately.
Have you experienced that? Where you read a really good book and you just can’t wait to get your hands on another and start another book?
Or you read a dud and you just don’t feel like reading anymore right? The cost is far greater than just finishing or powering through.
This is the same with all media. If it doesn’t inspire you, move you, motivate you, have you pondering in productive ways then maybe it’s too expensive.
It’s not worth your mental energy – don’t waste your time pushing through something just because you started it. You can stop at ANY TIME. I love to think that it served it’s purpose. It is complete and now I can move forward creating what I want to create and feeling more certain and confident as I do this.
5.) The last thing we’ll touch on today is thinking about things you CAN’T control – if it’s out of your control it deserves to be out of your mind – Thanks Emily for reminding me of that quote this week
This is a huge blocker in the confidence department because you’re trying to find certainty in things you don’t have a say over. It’s like worrying about the weather and while I’m worrying about the weather I’m also not moving forward toward creating or becoming. It’s just a mental energy waster.
I don’t have to worry about what other people think of me because it’s none of my business first off and secondly, I can’t control what they think nor would I want to. Instead I want to invest my mental energy in things that I can be certain about, things that I can control and things that move me forward in productive ways.
I don’t need to know what they think as long as I know what I think. When you’re wrapped up in their heads and painting a story of what they’re probably thinking of you who is tending to you brain? Who is painting a story of what you think?
This is such a big mental energy waster and you don’t have to engage. You can feel the urge to want to know, to want to speculate, to want to make something up and NOT answer it.
You can make the decision to focus on what you can control, what you do have certainty over, and from that space you can create confidence.
I don’t know what you think about me and that’s okay because I know what I think about you and that’s what really matters. Utilizing your mental energy on that focus will create forward movement and momentum.
It’s like the concept of changing the what if’s into even if’s.
What if they don’t like me or like what I said?
Even if they don’t – I liked what I said, I meant it, I liked how I showed up
And you can even feel it now, the certainty, the self-validation, the energy that’s being added to your brain budget, right?
Our minds move in so many directions each day and we have to be choosy over what we’re going to invest in. We have a finite amount of mental energy per day and like foods, are you investing in things and thoughts that will offer you the best returns and leave you feeling healthy and confident?
Be mindful and careful of the mental energy wasters – the takers in your life, the dead-end questioning, indecision, books and media that don’t spark joy, and the things you can’t control.
When you cut these out of your life or are mindful and intentional with them you’ll notice that you have more energy and thoughts to devote to your wellbeing which plays an active role on your level of confidence. When your thoughts are good, you feel good, you do good, you create more goodness.
You’re the creator and curator of your energy instead of looking back and wondering what happened and why you’re depleted and feeling lost.
These small tweaks account for huge returns in our brain budget. Okay, all, that’s what I’ve got for you this week! Talk to you next time!