A friend of mine wants to learn to cook. Right now, she doesn’t cook at all – she’s gotten by just fine without it, but in this new season of her life, she feels like it’s time. The problem is really with why she feels like she can’t cook. She’s totally overwhelmed at where to even begin: what should she learn first? Should she memorize recipes? Learn techniques? Become familiar with common spices?
In addition to being totally overwhelmed with how to begin, my friend is prone to perfectionism. She’s highly detail-oriented, too, so the thought of not following a recipe perfectly, of not cutting the carrots into perfectly even segments, of just getting things wrong, is holding her back.
(“Why am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well, Part IV)
This is part IV of a series looking at how discerning the non-monetary cost of things in our lives can help us figure out why we’re so tired – and how we can live better. Read Parts I, II, and III.
Emotional expenditure is probably the trickiest of life-costs to consider. We know how to track our time, and we have physical indicators of how much energy we have (or lack): but how do we measure emotional expenditure?
Thankfully, (because as humans we are body-soul unities and not brains in jars) our emotions, while not physical in themselves, do have real physical effects. Just think of tears. We feel the emotion of sadness or joy and our eyes suddenly release salt water. Of course, some people’s bodies seem to process emotion more closely than others’ – and even the most highly sensitive people can be unaware of the cost of their emotional life.
What’s to be done? The first step, as with any life-cost, is becoming more aware of the affects of our own actions and that of other’s actions around us. We have to know ourselves well to know what affects us emotionally, and how we process and spend our emotions.
(“Why am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well, Part II)
This is Part II of a series looking at how discerning the non-monetary cost of things in our lives can help us figure out why we’re so tired – and how we can live better.
In Part I, I wrote about shifting our definition of “cost” from that of mere monetary valuation to a more accurate weighing up of the amount of life something requires of us. How much life do we have to trade in to get the thing?
Most of us aren’t used to thinking of cost in terms of life: we’ve been trained from an early age to consider the price tag as an accurate representation of how much something is worth, rather than asking ourselves what the life-cost is to us.
There are three main ways to start thinking about life-cost: time, energy, and emotional expenditure.
“Why am I always so tired?” If you’ve asked yourself this question, you’re not alone. Most people I know are perpetually exhausted! And the reason why isn’t what you might think: while sometimes we genuinely need to sleep more or explore a chronic health condition, very often what makes us tired is a lack of discernment about the cost of things in our lives.
If we want to truly live well, we have to pay attention to the expenses and income of our lives, not just our bank accounts. When we ask how much something costs, most of us are referring to a thing’s monetary value. How much money will we have to give up in order to own (or lease) the thing?
But most of us get money to buy things by giving up something of ourselves: our time, our expertise, our physical labour.
Giving up these elements of our life can make us really tired.
Do you find yourself really sensitive to the feelings of others? Inclined to come away from an encounter with strong emotions you can’t account for? Wondering if others can “sense” the unspoken feelings floating around a room?
If so, you might be what various personality typing systems call “highly intuitive”, an “empath”, or “highly sensitive.” These labels can’t tell you anything you don’t already know, but gaining a deeper understanding of the common experience of others like you can help you to understand yourself better. It can help you to deal with your own experiences better, too.
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