I was having a conversation with a friend recently. I was describing my life, as of late, and I made the statement, “I needed to experience emotional poverty to know when I have become an emotional millionaire.”
Emotional poverty is not a term I ever heard to describe state of being emotionally drained or used up. Yet, it describes perfectly how I lived most of my life. I went from relationship to relationship, not romantic either, offering the best of myself and getting emotionally used up in the process. Every situation in my life demanded the utmost of my emotional well-being. It was not until I hit rock bottom several years ago I realized I need to change my ways.
Day in and day out I was doing, helping, listening, and offering advice to others. I would become emotional entwined in their issues. I so desperately wanted to stop their suffering. How could I help? In the end, I was left empty and hollow. When I looked around, none of those people were around to help carry me.
You might think this would lead to bitterness and resentment. I should just crawl into my cave and never come out. I knew that wasn’t going to work for me. I am too much of a helper in life. Isolating myself from the world was not the answer for me. I needed to find a new way, a better way.
Today, I am still very willing to be useful to others. But I am careful to not invest emotionally in situations that drain me. I have learned when I can give, how much I can give and at what time. My emotional health is much like my financial situation. I simply do not spend what I don’t have to spend at any given time. The most important lesson I learned is the more I take care of myself the more useful I am to others. I was not at my very best when I was emotionally spent. I thought I was being selfless by giving until I had nothing to give. It was not so. Are you emotionally impoverished?