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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

What Kinds of People Give You Energy?

One of the great myths of the twentieth century was that time is our most valuable resource. The propagation of this myth led us to read books, listen to tapes, and attend courses about time management. We all invested in planners to help organize our

time, and later we reinvested in Palm Pilots. We were told, “Time is money.” “ Don’t waste time. Life is time.” “Guard your time.” “Plan your time.” “Defend your time.” “Wasting time is wasting life.”

Most of this is true to some extent, but time is not our most valuable resource. The equality that is so often spoken about by politicians but rarely found in our modern world actually exists with respect to time. You get twenty - four hours a day and I get twenty - four hours a day. Nobody gets more. It doesn’t matter how much money you have; you still get only twenty - four hours. It doesn’t matter how well you kick a football or who your parents are; you still get just twenty - four hours. Equality. But some people do an awful lot more with their twenty - four hours than others do. Why? Energy is our most valuable resource, not time.

Energy is one of the most important factors for us to consider in relationships. What types of people energize you?

I’m energized by people who are smarter than I am, people who know things I don’t know, people who have experienced things I haven’t, people who have met men and women of great achievement and extraordinary character and can tell me a little about them. People who have great relationships energize me. People who have achieved extraordinary things energize me. People who know exactly what they want energize me. I am energized by people who are at peace with themselves and their God, people

who have learned to live with their inner demons and at the same time shine. People struggling against the odds energize me. People who are willing to give everything to pursue a dream energize me. Silent heroes energize me. I am energized by people who go out of their way to commit random acts of kindness. People who are striving to become the-best-version-of-themselves energize me.

Who energizes you?

Why do they energize you?

It’s important to know what types of people energize you and what types of people drain your energy. It’s also important to know why different people affect your energy level in different ways.

It is also important not to confuse people with their environments. Some environments energize us at first, but only temporarily. The unknown worlds of rich and famous people can energize those of us who are not used to them, but that energy is an illusion that doesn’t last. Similarly, if you are dating someone who takes you to all the best restaurants, buys you wonderful gifts, and takes you on trips to exotic places, you have to be careful not to fall in love with the lifestyle. You have to be sure that it is the person that interests you, not the lifestyle.

Life is the constant using and replenishing of energy. Physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, we are constantly using and replenishing energy.

Relationships can be tremendously energizing, but they can also be very draining. Too often it is the lower - level secondary relationships (the doorman, the bank teller, our customers, the telemarketer) that drain our energy and leave us spent. As a result, our primary relationship (spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, significant other) and higher - level secondary relationships (children, parents, siblings) tend to suffer.

We may feel that our primary relationship drains us. We may believe that our higher - level secondary relationships drain us. The truth is, however, that we are probably drained before we get to our primary relationship and our higher - level secondary relationships. For example, a man comes home from a long day at the office and his wife wants to tell him about her day and his children want him to play catch or help with their homework. He feels pulled in many directions and concludes that his primary relationship (with

his wife) and his higher - level secondary relationships (with his children) are draining him. The reality is that his energy was already drained when he got home.

In our reactionary world, it is then a natural progression for us to say that the man had to go to work—to pay the bills, to support his family—and that is why his energy is drained, and that is simply the way of the world. But if we are brutally honest with ourselves, we come to realize that we allow people and situations to upset our equilibrium and rob us of our energy. Life is choices. Everything is a choice. We cannot choose the way other people speak and act, but we can choose how we respond to the ways other people speak and act. We can respond calmly or angrily. And how we choose to respond to people controls the energy valve. Get angry, flip the valve, and you can almost instantly feel the energy rushing out of you like the air from a balloon. Stay calm and you can feel an inner strength growing, and an energy being created and consolidated.

Matthew Kelly

From The Seven Levels of Intimacy

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