Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Reservoir

I subscribe to a blog called the Happiness Project. I came across it at a point in time when things felt a bit bleak for me. Most of my life I've been a cheerful person, but the last few years have tried me almost to the breaking point. Although a number of things that occurred are by no means the worst I've experienced in my life, they felt like almost insurmountable odds.

Then today, she posted this quote from Samuel Johnson:

It is a common mistake on the part of cooler, self-contained natures to assume that those who have a giving and ebullient character are what they are only because they cannot help it—that they are fed from a spring that will never stop rather than a reservoir that can be exhausted. Hence the feeling of stark disbelief or unpleasant shock on the part of others when the reservoir of effort and energy—for it turns out to be a reservoir—is almost gone….the principal reward for those who give lavishly rather than meagerly is the expectation that they remain true to form and continue to give.

And burst into tears. Yep, now I understand. Hum, now to figure out how to refill the well. I think my trips to Argentina are the beginning of that renewal. I felt the best I've felt in years during my last trip.

I try now to limit time spent around those that would drain that reservoir. Like Johnson said, those without the reservoir would drain us completely dry without thought to our own emotional energy. Because they think our energy/joy is limitless, they don't think to help us renew. Ask me how I know.

I used to be the ebullient person. And I remember every day what I've lost and how badly I want to be me again.