Self care takes many forms, and one of those is feeding your emotional piggy bank. Learning how to keep your account balanced is a helpful exercise, which I am going to show you now.
Today was a rough day for me in therapy. You see I am carrying some emotional baggage from my trip back home to Vermont, and I am having a lot of trouble unpacking it. Today's lesson was all about feeding my emotional bank account. As soon as she said it my first thought was "What the heck is she talking about?", but within a couple of minutes of talking about it, and her showing me an example it just clicked with me. And when it did click I immediately knew that I had to share it with you guys.
The way it works is actually pretty simple. We are going to start with a $100 balance in our account. Each time we encounter a negative aspect, we are going to debit our account. When we do something that has a positive impact on us we are going to deposit into the account. The goal is to at a minimum break even and even better, to have a surplus in our account. Here is an example:
It is totally up to you how much you assign each item. For me personally I picture it as a gas tank that holds 100 gallons. How much does each thing drain my tank or refill it? As you can see in the example above an argument with my husband is pretty emotionally draining - over 1/4 of a tank!
The idea of an emotional bank account was made popular by Stephen Covey (who is responsible for some kick ass organizational systems) in his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People". He describes it as a relationship, with amounts of give and take at any given time. This account is impacted by the people we encounter every single day.
The beauty of this system is that it doesn't matter if you are a custodian or a CEO - everyone starts on a level playing field. And the simplest things can really have an impact. Let's say you did an awesome job on a project at work, and the boss stops at your desk to thank you - that's a deposit. Maybe you offer a ride to a friend because it's "on the way". That's another deposit. Stuck in traffic on the way home and flip off the guy who cuts you off? That's a withdrawal.
But that's OK. I mean after all, we are human beings. We are gonna screw up from time to time. It isn't about dwelling on those mistakes, but on how we offset them with the positive. It is about cutting ties with the people and things that drain our account faster then we can replenish it.
I have created a printable workbook for you to practice the ideas behind an emotional bank account. It also includes a list of some of the things that add to or subtract from your emotional bank account. This is also a great lesson for any children you have as well. This important idea can teach them to be mindful of how they treat themselves and the people around them. Taught young, this can help make your child a selfless person, not a selfish one! For a little bit more of an in-depth look I have also included another workbook that is used a lot for families. You can download one or both - whichever fits your needs!
There is a movie that touches on the idea of an emotional bank account. It is called "Pay It Forward" and was released in 2001. It starred Haley Joel Osmet and Kevin Spacey (before alI that drama about inappropriate behavior!) It's the story of a social studies teacher who gives an assignment to his junior high school class to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action. When one young student creates a plan for "paying forward" favors, he not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but he sets in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness which, unbeknownst to him, has blossomed into a profound national phenomenon. You can rent it for under $3 as of today 6/9/2018.
What are some ways that you can think of to add to your emotional bank account, or have you tried this activity before? Share your thoughts and comments below!
24 years of tarot experience, 20 years experience as a mom, and a lifetime of knowledge is just rattling around in here!