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Ep. 13 — Make space for something new in your life


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Hello and welcome to The Optimistic Perspective Podcast.

I’m David The Optimist and in today’s episode we’re going to explore the idea of making space for new things in your life as a result of letting go.

Let’s begin.

I’m starting in mind with the idea that there are going to be people in your life or experiences or communities that you will eventually attach to emotionally in a way that will be vital for you.

Let’s say you’re going to meet a person and you’re going to spend time together and you’re going to connect so well that eventually the connection, the emotional connection that you’re going to have with that person, will be vital to who you are.

That kind of relationship, that kind of connection is amazing.

Understanding emotional and energy limits

If you had it before then you know. If you didn’t have it before then that’s something to look forward to.

But at the same time, at least from my experience, it feels like these kinds of connections, these kinds of relationships, be them with a person or a community or an activity, anything, can put us in a situation where our tank is full.

When I say tank, I mean the emotional or the energy tank because when you look at how much energy you can give or how much emotion you can invest into something, these two things are limited – your emotions and your energy.

You’re going to be able to invest your emotions or your energy into something until your tank is empty (then you have to refill it) or until you are in an optimal state. To reach the optimal state, you need to balance the activities, communities and people, you allocate resources to (emotions or energy).

The more you have these kinds of outer experiences (connection to people, connection to activities, connection to communities), the more there’s going to be those things in your life, then the higher the chances that your tank is going to be emptier sooner.

The need for reflection to make space

That’s the point where I believe, from my experience, it’s time to make a step back and reflect because if you get to a point where your tank is empty, it means that you’ve invested too many resources into all these other things (connections with other people, connections with communities, connections with activities), you’ve invested your energy and emotions into all these things, which is good.

But if your tank is empty, then it means that maybe you should take a step back and reflect.

When it comes to this reflection process, what I noticed is that:

  • it helped me understand if I’m stuck or not
  • it helped me understand if I want to grow or not
  • it helped me understand the point where I’m right now in my life (the moment when I’m going through the reflection process)

Because if your tank is empty all the time, it means you’re constantly giving your energy and your emotions to something else, which can be a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be a good thing.

If you’re surrounded by the right people and you’re part of the right communities and you’re doing the right activities and you’re constantly giving them your energy and emotions, then that’s okay, I guess.

But at the same time, that’s a rare thing and it’s not something that people have in general.

Most people have one or two or three people that they really love and they love spending time with. But then there are people that you don’t really love and you don’t really want to spend your time with. But nonetheless, you do.

And then there are activities that you really love, but then there are some activities that you don’t really love. But you’re doing them anyway.

And then there are communities that you really love and you’re investing your time, your energy, your emotions into these communities. But at the same time, there are others that you don’t really feel like being part of, but you still do.

What I’m trying to say is as soon as you understand what is that you want and what is that you don’t want, there’s something that you can let go of.

Embracing change

That’s the things that you don’t want – you can let them go in order to have more energy and emotion in your tank.

Then you can find new things where you can allocate some of your emotions and your energy.

I’m saying all this because in the past, I used to struggle a lot with letting go because this is what it actually is.

As soon as you identify the things that you struggle to let go, even though you don’t really see them as part of your life anymore, as soon as you do that, it’s what you should do.

But I used to struggle a lot with that, with letting them go, because I believed that as long as they’re part of my life, then they’re there for a reason. But maybe the reason was that they had to be part of my life only for one week or one month, not for 10 years.

I had this idea in my mind that, “Hey, I have these people or activities or communities that I’m part of. They should be my life until I die, for this big period of time.”

Eventually I understood that what I was doing was not healthy at all because as soon as I don’t let go and the more I hold on to things that are not supposed to be in my life, as soon as I do that, then there’s no more space left for anything else – for the things that were supposed to be part of my life.

Realizing the need for change when you have to make space

Imagine, as I said, you have this tank that contains all your energy and all your emotions. If the tank is full, then let’s say, hypothetically speaking, you have 10 empty slots that you can fill it with, that you can fill with people, activities or communities.

After you’ve reached the 10th slot and you fill that in, then your tank is empty. There’s no more space to engage with new people, new communities or new activities.

There’s no more space.

You don’t have more energy or emotions to give. You keep giving to these first 10 slots and then there’s no more energy left.

If you think it like that, then why would you keep giving your energy to the people that you don’t want to spend time with or to the communities that you don’t want to spend time with or to the activities that you don’t want to spend time with?

I believe we as human beings keep doing that.

We keep investing energy and emotions and time and resources into the things that we don’t want to have anymore in our lives.

We keep doing that. And I did that for a long time.

Personal reflection

I think I stopped around one year ago or two years ago or something like that. And I realized, “Hey, what is it that I’m doing with my life right now?”

I used to have all these people, the same people. I used to have all the same kind of activities and the same kind of jokes, the same kind of language, the same kind of everything.

And then, at the same time, I wasn’t who I wanted to be anymore because I changed.

But when I went back to the same group of people or the same activities, then the person that I became was not there anymore. I was who I used to be, if that makes any sense.

I decided to stop. And the process was kind of… I don’t know how to put these in words, but in a way it was healthy because I got to the point where I am right now and I’m going to talk about it in a second.

But at the same time, it wasn’t healthy because I kind of threw away activities, communities, relationships, people.

And threw away is the right figure of speech to use here, as in, I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t want to be who I used to be.

Right now, things are a bit better because – I mean, I think they’re a lot better because I’m able to look at what I’m doing and to understand after a few days, a week, two weeks, if what I’m doing is something that I want to still have in my life for the next weeks, months, and that’s how I leave my life right now.

Otherwise, if something is not the right thing for me, as in if I’m meeting someone and the way I imagine the relationship to be or the way I’m spending time with that person or whatever happens there is not how I would want it to be and how I would value it to be, then it shouldn’t be part of my life or at least it shouldn’t be now.

The beauty of letting go so you can make space

The beauty is if something is not supposed to be in your life right now, it’s not going to be ever (probably) because then, one year later, you’re going to be a different person. And the thing that you wanted to have one year ago in your life, it makes no sense anymore to have it one year later. And the moments when it makes sense are really rare, that’s what I believe.

Having this perspective allows me to let go of the things that are not how I expect them to be and just move on, I think.

Yeah, it still comes with some frustrations as in “I went through that specific activity and it was, I don’t know, it was dumb or I didn’t like it or something happened that it was at the opposite pole of my values, I don’t know.”

And then I’m going to say, “Okay, I wasted some time or whatever,” but it’s what should have happened in that specific situation.

If I get to engage more than once with some activity without being fully engaged with that activity, which means is not really for me, then that’s what should have happened.

If I don’t make a decision that some activity or some person is not right for me from the start, then something about that activity or that person made me believe that they’re right for me. Going through the same experience over and over again after I learn, it means that that’s how many experiences I need in order to learn.

It’s part of the process. It’s what should have happened.

This mindset of understanding that my tank doesn’t have unlimited energy and resources to give away and my tank is actually limited to 10 slots or whatever (it can be 10, 25, 2, whatever) – understanding that and knowing that I’m not going to be able to have around me all these different things, whenever I understand that something is not right for me, I get to this blissful moment where I am so relaxed and it helps me let go of that person, activity or community so fast, because at the same time, I am excited about discovering the next thing.

It comes with a lot of dopamine, it comes with a lot of energy, energy that I can use in the process of discovering the next thing.

Conclusion: Embracing change in life

To give you a more specific example, I used to go to dancing classes, I think in the last two years to the same school, the same dancing school, and I was going there weekly.

I knew at some point, I knew that it was not my kind of community. But I kept going there, I kept going there, I kept going there.

I reached a point where I was frustrated with myself because I kept going there even though I didn’t want to. At the same time, I really didn’t have any kind of solid, valuable relationships in my life because I wasn’t able to build some sort of relationships with the people at the dancing school. And at the same time, I didn’t have the time and energy and resources to invest in other relationships.

As soon as I decided, “Okay, I’m going to stop with the dancing school,” I love dancing, I love salsa, but I decided to stop going to dancing classes, it took around two or three months to find different people, to find other people that now I can spend time with and I can enjoy the conversations I’m having with them, and it goes really well.

It made me realize that I have the power to build my life exactly how I want to build it but in order to do that.

But I have to let go of the things that are not supposed to be in my life and just to make sure that my tank is not always empty and that I always have some extra energy and emotions and resources to give away to a potential something – potential relationship, potential activity, potential community.

Final thoughts

I’m going to end the podcast with this idea:

I believe that life is unexpected. Whatever we think we have control over is just an illusion and the more we are willing to let go of the things that are not right for us, the more we are able to build the life that we want to have.

Thank you for listening

I hope you found value in today’s episode.

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Thank you for listening.

With love and optimism,

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