Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t know how to take care of herself. All she knew was that she was tired of being tired.

When this girl felt physically ill, she tried to cancel her dinner plans … but instead she let a friend override her protests. She showed up at a restaurant burning with fever and flu, then staggered home alone.

When this girl went out and an older, married guy made a pass at her, she tried to move away … but instead she let false guilt freeze her. She just didn’t want him – or anyone else – to feel uncomfortable.

When this girl was exhausted and someone asked her for a ride to a party, she tried to say no … but instead she said yes and spent the return journey sobbing her eyes out.

Every time these situations arose, this girl felt worse about herself. Why did these things keep happening?

Crashing and Burning

She used to like having adventures, but soon she was ill all the time and couldn’t do more than lie in bed and watch Netflix on weekends.

She started hiding from people – even people she adored! – because she didn’t know how to be around others without draining herself dry.

Frantic with fear, she tried to figure it out. Was she not doing enough yoga or eating healthfully enough? What was wrong with her?

Guess What?

That girl was me a half-dozen years ago.

From Drained and Exhausted to Vibrant and Alive

Photo on the left: September 2011, age 26. I’m tempted not to share this picture because I look so run down, but there it is.

Photo on the right: May 2017, age 31 going on 32, snapped spontaneously while working on this post. There’s no filter on either, though I am wearing a touch more makeup in the present day.

Still, the difference is night and day. I look happier, healthier, and more alive at 31 than I did at 26.

Sound Familiar?

Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. One thing that helped me to wake up was this quote by Thomas Merton:

“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace.”

When I read those words, I understood that I – the devoted caregiver, the responsible nonprofit program director, the loyal friend – was living a violent life.

I used to have an “all or nothing” view of energy; I functioned on just two speeds.

Speed #1 was full throttle, all out, doing All The Things! Speed #2 was barely idle, unable to get out of bed, deep depletion.

If that’s you, it’s time to question the beliefs that are keeping you bound.

The Real Question You Need to Ask if You’re Tired of Being Tired

Back in the day, I didn’t realize that the question wasn’t Why are other people treating me this way? but rather, Why am I treating MYSELF this way?

Why am I treating myself with disrespect, with violence? And how can I change that?


Do you struggle to protect your own energy? Join the conversation in the comments below!

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