As social beings, the quality of our lives is highly dependent on the company we keep. We connect to the world around us through our interactions with others and often find that our moods and general well-being are projections of our relationships. Each individual that we allow into our lives has an impact no matter how insignificant and we must begin to look more closely at how our social investments affect our emotional capital.
Our ability to get through the day is heavily dependent on how we feel. Coping with stress expends energy and becomes more difficult if we are not functioning at full capacity. Much like a battery, our energy is depleted throughout the day. If you were to begin your day fully charged, you are much more capable of handling stressors throughout the day without going into the red; however, if you were to wake up after sleeping only a few hours to find that you are late to work, you are approaching the day only minimally equipped. Because we as humans do not have an infinite supply of energy, we must ensure that we invest our emotional capital in a way that maximizes our profits rather than squandering our energy and feeling exhausted.
Each and every situation and interaction that we encounter requires our energy and must be considered an addition or subtraction to our emotional wealth. In order to profit from our emotional investments, we must first look at what we are spending our energy on. If the majority of your energy goes into arguing with your partner and slaving away at a job you despise, your emotional expenditures are likely leaving you destitute. Do not continue investing, hoping that one day your emotional labor will pay off. High risk does not always mean high reward in an emotional economy.
Feeling stressed and exhausted are your body’s way of telling you that you’re misspending your energy. Consistently interacting with others that hurt or drain you is nothing more than flushing your emotional capital down the toilet, which most of us cannot afford. Consider the way you feel after each interaction to determine if that person is a smart investment. Did you leave feeling rejuvenated after a conversation with an old friend or were you uncomfortable and anxious? If you are not gaining anything from your emotional investments, then invest elsewhere. Think of your hourly wage and then think of a given person or situation you invest time in. Is your emotional return worth the time and energy invested or are you coming up short? If you find yourself in a negative state, you must decide based on your hourly wage, how much time you want to invest into feeling that way knowing there is no return. Most of us are overdrafting our emotional account and putting ourselves in vulnerable situations with regard to our well-being.
Our emotional wealth is important to our overall health. Spending energy focusing on negative people or negative emotions will surely lead to emotional bankruptcy. We must invest intentionally and be aware of whether we are profiting or suffering bleeding losses. Making conscious decisions as to how much you are willing to invest in a person or situation is a form on emotional budgeting. We may find that we allowed ourselves to become too angry or upset over a situation and we are then responsible for recovering the loss.
Understanding that our emotions are a currency that influence our quality of life is the foundation of emotional economics. We are tired, depressed, and emotionally destitute because we make poor investments each and every day but expect emotional wealth. Take time to explore your emotional market and find what makes you feel whole and rejuvenated. Those that invest in their happiness and their passions will often profit above those that invest in that which depreciates them.