8 Ways You're Wasting Your Emotional Energy

There are many obvious things that cause fatigue such as stress, a lousy diet, or a hormone imbalance, but there are also many subtle factors that can cause a deeper type of depletion: emotional fatigue.

If you're feeling exhausted, here are a few things to consider that might be contributing to that feeling:

1. You're non-confrontational.

Trying to maintain harmony is admirable, but if the cost is stuffing down your feelings and internalizing them, what you're doing is the emotional equivalent of taking the trash from outside your home and bringing it inside.

2. You're ignoring that little voice inside you.

Your heart is like a compass that tells you what direction to steer in order to live your life at its full potential. Unfortunately, our logical voice is often much louder than the gentle whispers of our intuition, and so that's the voice we usually wind up listening to.

The result of that is that we find ourselves in situations — or even worse, we build a life around choices — that logically make sense, but don’t feel quite right and don't bring us the deepest happiness possible.

3. You ruminate instead of taking action.

Maybe you think over and over about a conversation that hurt, or you play out possible negative outcomes until you feel doomed. This is a surefire way to feel drained and powerless. You're using a great deal of energy, but not actually moving forward emotionally or physically.

To break out of that cycle, take action. Often we're afraid that we won't make the “right” decision, so we do nothing. Instead, think of it as a stepping stone to a place ahead of where you currently are that will give you new information that you can use to take more actions.

4. You stay in relationships and friendships out of fear of being alone.

Clutching to people out of fear of being alone is a stressful, and therefore exhausting, way to live. It causes us to accept relationships with people who do not lift us up to a higher place, protect us in subtle emotional ways, or help us grow.

Being alone is not a bad thing, it actually creates a void in which you can discover really important things about yourself that you would not have the chance to realize otherwise and also to intentionally fill that space with things and people that revitalize you.

5. You haven't resolved old pain.

Often, we judge our pain and believe we are not entitled to it, or that we're silly for feeling it, because the event occurred a long time ago, or it wasn’t that bad compared to what's happened to other people. Pain doesn’t work like that. You can't talk yourself out of it. Pain resides on a deeper level, and it must be treated with compassion in order to heal. Eventually you can clear the emotional space for lighter feelings such as gratitude.

6. You aren't clear on how you feel or what you need.

Without this clarity, life is draining. Things may feel painful, but you’re not really sure why, and therefore can’t change them. Without clarity on what you need and what you stand for, it's easy fall into a pattern where you feel pushed, pulled and dragged around. When you figure out your truth, it's easier to make choices that steer you toward the life you want, and you don't waste energy trying to decide what to do.

7. You have not set good boundaries.

Boundaries are actually the walls which contain our energy. When you don’t define them, other people do that for you. As a result things continually happen to us that feel invasive and draining. Tell people what you don’t like and what you actually want instead.

8. You are driven by "shoulds."

Every time I watch a documentary about someone who has accomplished a lot, I am struck by the same thing: they didn’t really fit in anywhere in life and so they built a life that fit.

Living the way we think we “should” is draining on the soul because it's constricting, like wearing clothes meant for someone else. When you create a life that encompasses all of your gifts instead of suppressing them, you feel lighter and more energized.

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