Melody Metzger was shortlisted in the 2015 Women’s Journey of Faith Publishing Contest for her book, I Feel Insufferior. Today she takes us through a few tips on how to keep energized and allow others the space to do the same.
Charge your own batteries, and allow your loved ones the time and space to charge theirs in the way they need to. They will be much more available to you once they have done so.
When your phone’s battery is dead, you know you have to charge it in order for it to perform for you the way you want it to. You may know people who throw their phones and smash them to bits when they don’t work, but obviously, it doesn’t help. If the battery is dead, it doesn’t perform. It’s that simple. Charge the battery and it works just fine and will perform; but when the battery is dead, no amount of abuse, pushing, complaining, cajoling or anything else will help. You just need to charge that battery.
People are not much different, but we seem to expect more. Most of us are familiar with the terms: introvert and extrovert. I am not going to get into all of the explanations, characteristics and teachings of it here. For more information, you can study the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. However, the terms are fairly commonly used and understood. Basically, extroverts are the vivacious, outgoing, life of the party people who seem to thrive on having lots of people around and the more chaos, the better. Introverts tend to be quieter, enjoy more one-on-one conversation and need more alone time. Extroverts are the ones who are always posting their every thought, feeling and move on social media, and introverts are the ones who “troll” the wall, make private comments to themselves in their minds, but never post them, because it’s not “their” business.
We do all fall into these categories, but at varying degrees. What we need to understand about ourselves and each other is that extroverts recharge their batteries through external processes—outwardly, with other people. So when they are sharing every little detail of their lives, they are actually recharging. Those of us who are introverts may not understand this, but have no right to judge them. And in fact, other extroverts are responding to them and feeding their needs and recharging each other.
Introverts can and do enjoy parties and exchanges with other people too. However, after so much of these kinds of “external” activities, they need to recharge their batteries internally. Introverts do so with “downtime”. Inward reflection, time alone with their thoughts, processing what has transpired, making plans etc.; and sometimes sharing, yes, but usually with one other person at a time.
As we learn about ourselves and who we are, we can recognize our needs and learn that when we are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, a recharge is likely needed. Trying to force ourselves to perform as we think we “should” is just plain ridiculous. Your phone wouldn’t and you would just understand that it needs to be charged, so why are you expecting yourself to keep going when your Duracell is dead? Or why are you hounding your loved one to “be there for you”? If we recognize that perhaps they just need to charge their battery and give them the space they need to do so, instead of taking it personally, then they will be more than willing to “be available to us”.
We can also take charge of our own responsibility to charge our own batteries. I am an introvert and my daughter is an extrovert. We are often best friends, but this is also challenged when she needs to recharge at the same time I do. She wants to phone me, email me, text me and show up wherever I am several times a day, any time of the day or night, because she is in need of a recharge and has chosen me as the charger. However, since I am in need of a recharge, I am feeling the desire to hide away, run away, avoid, be alone etc. to get my recharge. Are any of you relating to this? It is a recipe for disaster in many families and relationships. My daughter feels rebuffed and hurt, and I feel like a heel.
Of course, as mature adults, when we recognize what is really going on here and each take the responsibility for meeting our own needs, no one has to be offended. My daughter can try to understand my very different needs, respect them and go to any of her fifty other extroverted friends who would love to help her process and recharge each other’s batteries. On the other hand, I can learn to take control of my own needs and own my own limitations. I have a tendency to be frustrated that she continues to phone when I have told her that I need some space. I think she is disrespecting my wishes. Of course, how is she supposed to know when I’ve had enough? I can own my responsibility to recharge and take control by teaching myself that I do not have to answer that ringing phone when I am not fully charged enough to handle an extrovert encounter, instead of taking it out on her when I do answer.
So learn about yourself and your needs. Recharge those batteries when they’re getting low. Don’t wait until they’re dead. Try to be aware of who the important people in your life are. Respect when they need to recharge. Don’t take it personally; allow them the space they need and they will be there for you again.
How do you recharge? Let us know in the comments section!
Wondering how you can enter your own manuscript in the Women’s Journey of Faith Publishing Contest? Learn more here.
Melody Metzger is a Registered Professional Counsellor and the author of I Feel Insufferior. Her book is an easy step by step manual to help people overcome their insecurities and feelings of inferiority, inadequacy and insufficiency. She lives in British Columbia with her family and counsels at her business: Finding Freedom Counselling Services. You may contact her through her website findingfreedomcounselling.com or check out her Facebook page at facebook.com/FindingFreedomCounselling.