The answer may surprise you!
I have a unique perspective about power. It’s not going to sound very sexy or exciting and it might even sound confusing at first. Hang in here with me and read to the end of the blog. I promise you that you will be glad that you did.
Let’s begin with reminding ourselves of what emotional caretaking™ is. It’s when you become entangled with another person’s emotions and/or business even when it comes at the cost of your own well-being, purpose and life. The “cost” of emotional caretaking is often invisible to women, which is why we keep paying it over and over. After all, we are giving – we are doing something good. How could it not be OK?
When we engage in emotional caretaking, what we are giving is our time, our energy, our expertise and often our money. These are your resources and they are limited. You have only so much gas in your tank!
When a friend asks for your help, you’re giving your time and your attention and your empathy. It takes energy to give focused attention. It takes energy and effort to offer sustained empathy. At the end of the hour with your friend you have less resources than you had at the beginning of the hour. It’s like money in your wallet. The more you spend, the less there is. Eventually you need to replenish your wallet. The same is true of your energy. You must recoup and recover. Take a break and rest. Do you? Probably not. Most likely you’re rushing off to handle the priority that you put on hold so you could help your friend.
The time you have left to give to your priority is of a lower or lesser quality. Why? You did not replenish yourself. You did not fill your tank back up. This impacts your results. If you do this frequently your life goals will move forward at a much slower rate, which makes you feel discouraged. You can’t figure out what you are doing wrong. Does this mean you should stop giving? Absolutely not.
To recover your power from emotional caretaking, to be powerful period, is to know what your resources are and to be at choice in where and how you invest them.
It’s not about limiting what you do for others; it’s about being at choice in what you do for yourself.
Think about it. Can you come up with even one example of giving that doesn’t include one of your resources? Every time you give it involves your time. If you say “yes” to one thing it is an automatic “no” to something else.
When you give it also involves your energy; to be a good listener, to offer empathy or to problem solve all come under what is now called “emotional labor.” You are working. It may be a labor of love, but you are still working. Are you honoring yourself for the time and effort and labor you are offering to another? Again, probably not. You minimize the value of what you do as it continues to eat up your resources.
I am barely scratching the surface here in describing your resources. Are you good at calming others down? That’s a resource. Are you a technology wiz? That’s a resource. Are you a health fanatic that everyone comes to for advice? That’s a resource.
What about actual expertise? Did you study for years to learn how to be a financial advisor, a coach, an accountant or a doctor? Your expertise is a resource that allows you to earn money, which is another resource. Do you charge what your services are worth or do you downplay the role of money in your life?
These are important questions to answer because your resources are your source of power in the world.
Your resources are what you create with; they are like the palette of colors an artist uses. If there are no colors the canvas will stay blank. If you give most of your palette of colors away your canvas can never become what you envision, and your canvas is your life.
I help women recover their power from emotional caretaking, meaning that I help you to, 1) identify what your resources are, 2) track how you are spending your resources and 3) redirect your resources to address your top priorities in life so that you can be at choice and create the life you want to live.
Like the artist with her palette of colors, if you choose to share your resources or give them away you do so with full knowledge of the impact it will have on your canvas. And you are at peace with your choice.
Your vision for your life is your canvas. Your resources are your unique palette of colors. You are not selfish if you choose to use the majority of your colors to paint your own canvas. That’s what you are here for – to be the best authentic version of you. Be loving to yourself, give generously to others, and always keep your focus on your unfolding life.
Would you like to learn a quick, foolproof way to know if you are at choice in any one moment? Click here and listen to this podcast, A Guide to Being at Choice, where I give you a tool guaranteed to let you know if you are truly at choice.