When energy is short and we have to ration it, it can be tempting to focus the little we have on the needs that are the easiest to meet. But we have many different needs and filling up on one doesn’t fill the holes left by others. No matter how satisfying one pursuit may be, we are unlikely to be truly happy unless we balance our needs.
I find it much easier to obtain the rewards of my creative activities, my writing and my studying, than to meet my social needs. I’m also pretty good at living a healthy lifestyle, eating well, meditating and participating in very gentle regular exercise. The rewards of all these efforts are easy to obtain at a pace I can easily manage.
But when it comes to having fun and spending time with others it just seems a lot more difficult. For a start, unless the others are going to be kind enough to come to me it usually involves getting out and about, which is a chunk of energy just for travelling. Then I’ve got to find an activity that can be short and undemanding enough not to wipe me out, but something that my company will also enjoy. Then there’s the whole issue of my company understanding my limits and feeling confident that they’re not going to push me too hard (it’s hard enough to resist without their encouragement).
Unfortunately, because my other needs are so easy to meet, I’ve got into a bit of a lazy habit recently of just choosing to ignore my social needs. I have a friend I speak to once a week and another I see once or twice a month and along with my family contact I accept this as being enough. But in reality, it rarely is. Another pitfall I have fallen into is that I’m so careful about my energy economy that I’m very reluctant to risk investing energy in activities where the payback isn’t guaranteed to be high. Whilst I think that it is wise to plan how you use energy, a life completely absent in risk in unlikely to be a fulfilling one. If we all had a guaranteed formula for meeting all of our needs, we would all be very happy and we’d probably have achieved world peace already. Instead we have to grow and learn and test things out. I’m sure if I risked investing a little more of my energy in my social needs, I would experience a few more rewards. This will definitely be one of my new year’s resolutions!
What needs do you have that you find too much of a hassle to bother with? What risks could you take to balance your needs a bit better?
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