I was listening to Sam Harris in the Waking Up meditation app and he said that emotions last moments not minutes. And if we can just give ourselves a few seconds of space to let the energy of that emotion enter our consciousness and sit there before we react, we could save ourselves a lot of heartache.
We only have so much energy to use each day. We have an energy budget. And if we choose to use that energy on worry or stress or blowing up in answer to an emotion that pushes our buttons, that decreases the amount of energy we can use for other things on our to-do list like growing our brains, or supporting our self-care, or helping others, or fueling our body with healthy food.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” We are not being persecuted when things are said that we disagree with or things are done differently than how we might have done them.
Perspective is everything. If we assume that everyone is trying their best, everyone has good intentions and everyone, including ourselves, makes mistakes, we will save a lot of our precious daily energy budget.
What will we do with today’s energy? Will we invest it in learning and growing and moving and sharing and loving and hoping? What should we focus on? And how will that make us feel? Depleted or content? The choice is ours. Let’s give ourselves a handful of seconds to sit with our emotions and then use our energy in a way that fills our cup.