Friday, September 23, 2016

Pay Attention to the Fuel Gauge

Before we reach the age of 16 we know enough about cars to know that they require gasoline to run.  We all understand that after about 300 miles of driving (less if you are going uphill or sitting in traffic) you have to fill up the tank. The fact is the car, either Kia or Jaguar, needs something as simple as gas to keep it moving forward.

I’d like to apply that same logic to People. A person can go roughly 5 or 6 days with out refueling (less if your family has had a particularly full or challenging week).  Your week may have included; a change in the schedule at work, someone getting sick, an argument with your partner, or a difficult test that made the week more stressful.

However, rather than recognizing that your tank is running low, we tend to ignore the fuel gauge and keep going, sometimes even after the red light goes on. We would never ever think we could magically make the car go another 20 miles without gas, why do we then think that we don’t need to stop for refueling?

Ever find yourself running late for an appointment, only to jump in the car and realize you didn’t have enough gasoline to get you where you needed to go, and you now had to spend extra time and stop for gas? That is what we are doing by not paying attention to the fuel gauge.

This week I spent 2 hours with a glass of wine and a dear friend. We laughed, swapped stories of our children, and made future plans.  I got up from the patio table and felt significantly lighter in my mood, and while I walked to the car I noticed a larger smile on my face. I realized later on that evening, that there was a calm in my voice I hadn’t heard in a couple of days, I was able to tackle a task I had been procrastinating on, and I fell asleep with a clearer, calmer mind.  My tank had been filled.

What would happen if we begin to treat ourselves a bit better than the family car in the driveway? What would happen if we had real expectations for what we can and can’t ask of ourselves? What if we gave ourselves the permission to refuel on a regular basis? 

What fills your tank??

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