The Tank Conundrum

Runnin on EmptyI have a problem. I’m an introvert (Myers-Briggs has confirmed it) and I love people.  This creates interesting dilemmas in my life.

During trainings we use a video featuring Wayne Cordiero, a pastor in Hawaii, who talks about filling and draining your emotional tanks.  He says the tank represents our emotional capacity and stability—when the emotional tanks are full, we function optimally.  When the level in the tanks recedes—literally when we are drained—we can function for a while, but eventually we reach burn out–the stage where we have nothing left to give and very little left to live.  It’s a powerful reminder to keep our tanks full.

One of the exercises we do with this video is to make a list of the things that fill our tanks—that help us function joyfully and well.  Then we make a second list of the things that drain our tanks—that zap our energy and our joy.  Parts of my list are easy.  I need time to reflect in a quiet place where I can think and journal and stare into space.  Good coffee goes a long way towards keeping the tank full.  Regular communication with my nearest and dearest gives me joy.  Large bodies of water, particularly the ocean, soothe my soul indescribably.  Those are some of the big fillers.  As for the drainers—clutter, crowds, disappointment, bad coffee, and constant noise drain me faster than a cheetah on amphetamines can overtake a wounded gazelle.

There’s one item that would make bot lists; that’s people.  I love being around people.  I’ve lived in numerous places and have made abiding friends from those places who now live in a multitude of other places.  This weekend is one of those rare times when many of the people I love from all over the world will be in one place with me.  On the one hand, I’m in friend ecstasy.  My tank is filled to overflowing with hugs and news and time with these loved ones.  On the other hand, I’m on the verge of being peopled out.

See?  I have a problem.  I’m not worried though.  I know these are days I will treasure.  This week will be filled with catching up and hugs and tears and laughter.  If I’m wise, I’ll get to bed early.  I’ll skip a session or two to find a quiet cafe and a cup of good, strong coffee and spend some time journaling or staring off into space while I savor the quiet.  I just have to make sure I fill the tank with more than one type of fuel as a steady stream of care and energy exit it.

photo courtesy of Daino_16

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8 Responses to “The Tank Conundrum”

  1. BethMarch 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    Sheryl,

    Hope it will be a really good time filled with enough friend time to fill your tank and not so much that you feel drained! You’ll be seeing some friends from my corner of the world! 🙂

  2. Jen PetoskeMarch 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Sheryl…I’ve only known you for a little while, but I love your candidness (spelling?) and honesty. You are so easy to be around, it’s no wonder you are surrounded by so many who love you! Savor it and rest in it. And please, for goodness sake, have some yummy coffee!

  3. RuthMarch 27, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Wow – balance is so important in all our lives. It seems you have fulfilled the “know thyself” task really well.It is interesting to see how the things in life effect our overall well being.

  4. SherylMarch 27, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    Hey Beth! So far so good! I’ve hugged friends from your corner of the world a few times in the last 30 hours. Wish you were here.

  5. SherylMarch 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    Thanks, Jen! I’m savoring it and have already planned a few trips to the cafe. I’m glad you’re part of my life now!

  6. SherylMarch 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Knowing myself and following through with what I know I should do are two different things. It’s the “saying, ‘no'” to a good thing in order to have room for more good things that I don’t excel at. Hopefully I’ll learn it before it’s too late.

  7. TirzahMarch 28, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    Love this! I’ll be praying for you!

  8. Joy EggerichsApril 5, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    I am the same way! I am an outgoing introvert. I derive energy from being alone but I love people…which often doesn’t make sense to people on the outside, so we can often say “yes” to everyone because we love everyone. Balance and boundaries are key. Thank you for sharing and for checking out my site. Would LOVE to hear more about what you have researched and found on pornography. Blessings~

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