After you have curated your emotions and established a more positive way of engaging with yourself and the world around you, the focus switches to respecting the energy you want to maintain and in many ways, setting boundaries around what you will and won’t tolerate.
There is a common misconception that people who are genuinely happy must live favored lives — void of struggle, hardships, obstacles and trauma. We all know that isn’t true. Happiness is a choice, an intention, and daily practice. The more time you’ve spent in investing in your happiness, the more protective you become of it.
I recently had a discussion with a friend who said to me, “Sometimes you can anticipate the drain from a certain experience or interaction. Those interactions aren’t for me and I don’t feel obligated to endure them.” Anticipate the drain! (Insert the clapping hands emoji for that last sentence.) We know what experiences and what people don’t serve us, and when we are aware of that but choose to tolerate it anyway, we become accustomed to hurting ourselves. We become accustomed to settling for less. We make the frustration, the agitation, and that drain the new normal. It’s impossible to be our best selves, knowingly subscribing to that which does not serve us.
In addition to being mindful of the experiences you engage in and the people you surround yourself with, it is also important to realize that there are times where you’ll need to surround yourself with no one. We deserve to reflect, ruminate and sit in solitude. Alone time is crucial to your happiness. It allows you to decompress, evaluate your emotions on a deeper level, and just build yourself up. Saving energy for yourself is a necessity. It is not a selfish act. Being kind to yourself allows you to be even better for others.
These anticipatory drains don’t just happen with people and experiences but also with some of the choices we make as individuals. Take a sincere audit of your behaviors and actions, and assess how much joy and positivity they bring into your life. Knowing better and choosing less than that is never the recipe for the life you wish to live.