William Liao

March 26, 2021

Protect your energy

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jenny Wang gave an insightful talk yesterday about the importance of protecting our energy.

I think her points are especially relevant given that many members of our community are being stretched physically and emotionally in the wake of the pandemic, the suffering in the AAPI community with the rise in hate crimes, and the tragic shooting in Boulder, Colorado.

Here are my notes based from her talk that I thought some may find helpful: 

Defining Energy

Energy is made up of 3 finite resources: time, emotion, and desire. 

These factors have to be considered in our work, the people engage with, and the spaces we decide to put ourselves in. 

Just because you have time on the calendar doesn’t mean that you have the emotion or desire to engage. 

Helpful practices & mindsets

When you receive a request to commit energy, it can be helpful to: 

  1. Pause 
  2. Initially say “no” in your head. 
  3. Understand that you do not need to provide a response right in that moment and you can ask for time if you’d like and provide a response once you’ve been able to think about it.

“Don’t give away your energy as if it were unlimited or free”:
every time you give your energy away to something you don’t want to, you are borrowing/robbing it from something else. 

“Be intentional with how freely you agree or with whom you engage in”

The two ways we encounter desire

Scenario 1

Sometimes we push through the lack of desire because we’re working towards a longer term goal that is in alignment with where we want to be: e.g. choosing to show up for a workout even when we don’t have the desire because it helps us make progress on our longterm goal to be healthier. 

Scenario 2

Any other instance where we are giving energy that doesn’t serve any long-term purpose is simply someone requesting something of us. 

It’s okay to say no

“You not wanting to do something is enough of a reason to decline” 

“Other people’s sense of urgency, anxiety, and frustration is not your problem. You don’t need to say yes just to make other people feel better.”