Posts Tagged ‘energy draining’

Love Tanks Can Be for Energy Too

Photo of my daughter and my dog, taken by my step-daughter

Many of you are probably familiar with the book, The Five Love Languages.  In the book, Chapman describes love tanks.  As long as there are continuous deposits, your love tank will never be empty, and you will in turn have plenty of love to give.  Relationships begin to break down if one of the people involved has an empty tank.

I think it’s similar with emotions and energy as well.  As long as there are continuous deposits of energizing activities, positive communication, and affirmation of who you are, there will be plenty of positivity for you to give back to the world.

The last year, not only drained my love tank, but also my overall emotional tank.  I have a loving husband and daughter.  I know they love me.  But there were too many withdraws from other areas my life.

Someone Ought to Write a Vampire Book That Takes Place at a High School

Teaching uses a lot of energy without a lot of return (unless maybe you are paid in hugs by kindergarteners-my high schoolers don’t hug me-thank goodness!).  There are some nice kids, some that want to blend into the scenery, and those that will suck from you any remaining energy you have.

There aren’t a lot of “atta girls” in teaching.  Parents of high schoolers don’t call you up to say, “Great job on the unit, little Billy couldn’t stop talking about it.”  I’ve only had two students write thank you notes.  The only time I hear from the administration is when I’m missing some paperwork or forgot to do something.

Heck, my students say, “I don’t have a pencil” instead of, “May I borrow a pencil, please?” In fact, I had one student that would say, “Screw it then, I just won’t do the work,” when I asked him to use please as part of his request.  It sounds little, but twenty situations just like this over the course of a day, is draining.

There are not a lot of kudos in step-parenting either.

Being a step-parent to tweens and a teen is very similar to teaching.  Just like my students, the may respect me, but they don’t love or appreciate me the way my own kid does.  I don’t get hugs and kisses, and “I love you” notes from them.  I give as much as a parent, but the return on investment is much smaller than regular ole parenting.

Just like in teaching, they will probably appreciate what I did for them when they are all grown up.

I get it though.  It’s part of the job that I signed up for when I married my husband.

My point is, I don’t hear, “That’s awesome” or “Good Job” very often at all.  Most of the feedback I get is, “This is stupid (dumb or boring)”, or “Why do we have to …?”

This summer was a shock to my system.

I got positive feedback.

The first was when I went to a coffee shop to install some of my photographs on consignment.  The woman in charge of the displays couldn’t stop gushing over them.  She pulled the customers into our conversation, so she could gush some more.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do with positive attention.  I was caught completely off-guard.

Then I started doing some freelance writing in one of my favorite topics, sustainable agriculture.  While I was doing my first interview, the interviewee, asked my opinion about the topic.  A leader in the industry wanted to know what I thought about an issue?  Stunning.

The editor that hired me for the writing job said something like “Nice job,” or “Good article” or something like that.  Amazing.

At the end of an interview with one of my agricultural heros, he said to me, “Thank you for the work you do.”  Ahhhh.  So nice.

Each little thank you.  Each atta girl, was simple.

I started to wonder.  Do some people get thanked at work?  Do some people hear, “you’re doing a good job” or “what do you think about this idea?” on a regular basis?

And then I remembered.

Yes.  Yes they do, I’ve had those jobs before.

That’s what was missing for me in the last year.  Each simple act of kindness and gratitude gives me a little bit more energy to face my day and push ahead.

This summer I’ve had the energy to laugh.  I’ve had energy to be courageous.  And I’ve had the emotional space to think creative thoughts.

Remember to say “thank you” or “I appreciate what you do” to someone today.

Let’s keep these tanks filled up.

Note: As I was finding links to The Five Love Languages, Chapman has a new book called, The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.  I think it would probably be a pretty good read, especially if you are a manager of people.

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