How Full Is Your Love Tank?

With the impending Valentine’s Day holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to write a little something about love.  However, I’m not going to take the generic route and talk about how this is the time of year (or day, actually) where couples all around the globe are getting all doe-eyed and mushy with each other.  Not that I don’t think that’s great, I do!  But, should we just be that way with each other only one time of the year?  I surely don’t subscribe to that theory.

Which brings me to my point.  Love is great, but there really is more going on behind the scenes then what others see.  For instance, do you ever feel like you just don’t have anything left to give?  What about those days when you have done everything possible to make everyone happy, but you aren’t?  Or you love talking to this girlfriend of yours, but you always feel drained after the call ends?  What if a client needed you do complete an already assigned project early as well as a new one that was just handed to you today?  Could you really do it?  Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? 

They certainly do for me and it wasn’t until I learned about the “Love Tank Theory,” that everything seemed to make sense.  The Love Tank Theory was created by two very inspirational and smart individuals-Debra Guzman and Carol Scissel.  I had the distinct pleasure of learning what this theory was all about personally.  You see, I was fortunate enough to work with these to wonderful ladies-one was my mom and the other is a great mentor.  I saw first-hand how they taught this great theory in their classrooms and the reactions it brought about.  Even better, I was able to not only apply this theory in my own life, but I had the opportunity to teach this theory as well.  Let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying then seeing someone actually get what you are saying and apply the principles to their own lives and have it work.

In the most basic of terms, the Love Tank Theory is about the love and attention exchanges that happen between you and others on a daily basis.  When the balance of exchanges tips in favor of the other person, then we feel the effects-i.e. can’t do anything right, tired after talking to one of your most favorite people or feeling you have nothing left to possibly give to anyone, much less a client in “rush mode.”  These are clues letting you know that your internal “Love Tank” is running on empty or dangerously close to being empty.  Still not getting it?  Try this: think of the gas in your car.  How low do you let the tank get before you fill it back up with gas?  We know that the lower we let the tank get, the more chance we have at not being able to get that last errand ran.  What happens if there was an emergency?  Would you have enough gas in your tank to make it?  Probably not, if you are the type of individual who lets the tank go below the 1/4 line.  Now, think about your internal love tank.  How low do you let yourself get before you refuel?  Chances are, there is a direct correlation between the two. 

We get so busy throughout our day trying to meet the needs of everyone else (husband/wife, children, friends, business/clients) that we forget to take the time to meet our own needs.  When it’s too late, we crash!  We feel stretched too thin, overwhelmed and anxious.  When we are in this mode, we aren’t good for anyone, much less ourselves.  Don’t let yourself get this way. 

How can we prevent this from happening?  Learn to recognize the signs.  If you see your friends name pop up on your phone and you start to feel anxious, that’s a sign.  If you dread another snow day because that means your kids will be home with you all day, that could be another sign.  Take a step back and breathe.  Figure out what YOU need to bring your love tank back up again.  It could be as simple as taking a coffee break or turning on your favorite CD and zoning out to it for awhile.  Whatever it is, take heart and listen to your internal self.  Be honest with yourself and learn to LOVE YOURSELF!  Remember that old adage: “You have to love yourself first before you can love anyone else?”  It’s true.  If you aren’t taking care of yourself, then how can you possibly take care of anyone else or your business for that matter?

Here are a few simple and easy suggestions to get your tank full again:

  • Take a pottery class one night a week (or any other class that interests you) and have fun!
  • Got a new eReader for Christmas?  Download a book for it and actually set aside time each day to read a chapter or two.
  • Send yourself some flowers.
  • Color with your kids.
  • Have a new favorite group you love listening to?  Buy or download their new CD and blare it in the car. 
  • Go get that massage you’ve been wanting. 
  • Looking for a change-go to your hair stylist and see what she suggests for a new cut or color.
  • Have a night out with guys or girls and don’t worry about what’s happening at home.

Granted these ideas seem easy or even silly, but have you ever noticed that once you’ve done one of them, you feel happier?  Like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulder?  It could quite possibly be that you are tending to your own needs for a change and thereby filling up your “Love Tank”.  Once you’re full, you can conquer  whatever comes your way.  Just be sure to watch your gauge from here on out.  You deserve it!  So, enjoy this lovable holiday and embrace the love you have for yourself!