Friday, May 27, 2005

The Emotional Bank Account


Many years ago, when I was working outside the home for the local cable company, we did an inhouse study program of Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People . Truthfully, I couldn't stand the course. Not because I didn't want to be more effective..... I just hated doing that type of seminar thing at work. We did the typical scenario simulations of having a big empty jar surrounded by rocks of various sizes. The biggest rocks represented family, faith, health and home, while the smaller ones were one's job, hobbies, civic commitments and daily stresses. Someone had to take the jar (representing one's life) and fit all the rocks in it. Of course, the person always just randomly starting shoving the rocks all mish-mash into the jar, in no particular order and they wouldn't all fit. However, (and here's the clincher) if you put the big rocks in first (representing taking care of the important things first) the other small stuff will just flow around it and all fit perfectly. Try it, it works. Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The other topic we covered that has always stuck with me was the emotional bank account. Everyone has this account but they might call it something else. If you think of your relationships with others as a 'bank account' for emotions, it's easy to forgive and forget. Say for instance, you have a friend who is a good listener... funny and warm. You enjoy spending time with this person and they in turn you. Every time this friend greets you with a smiley hello, makes you feel good, listens to you or does something nice for you ... a little deposit is put in the 'bank'. Over time, the total amount of deposit gets bigger and bigger in each other's account. One day, this friend bites your head off for something. Oops! Out comes a withdrawal from that account. You momentarily feel slighted but shake it off because that friend has built up such an account with you, the withdrawal doesn't really affect the whole balance. It's not the accustomed way this friend treats you and vise versa.On the other hand, if you know someone who usually is making withdrawal after withdrawal, you just don't want to be around them anymore or it's not worth the effort. They have drained the emotional account dry and there's nothing left. Does this make sense?

I've tried to use this bank account philosophy when dealing with my husband. He can be a real asshole bankrobber at times. Oh Lord can he make some HUGE withdrawals. However, he also makes big and little deposits all the time. Most of the times, others don't see or hear these deposits, so some might think I get the short end of the stick. My husband has always told me I'm beautiful, no matter what type of freak I happen to look like at the moment. He's never told me I need to lose a few pounds, even though I know I need to (alot!). When he speaks about me to others, it's with kindness and pride. He'll wink at me, rub my back, ask me if he can make me a cock-in-the-tail (his word for a cocktail), make sexuual innuendos towards me and just is fun to be around. He brings me these God awful gifts sometime, but I try to remember it's the thought that counts and his heart IS in the right place. I remember one time he bought me a dumpcart for the riding tractor. He was so proud and I was pissed. I think I hurt his feelings yelling about what a waste of money blah blah blah. However, over the years, I can't tell you how many times that cart has saved our backs, loaded with brush, wood, sand, mulch..... The kids love it because we can pull them around the house and woods in it. It's one of our most cherished yard thingys. Everytime I say "I am so glad we have this cart" he'll look at me and smile...kaching...deposit made.

Okay, so I did come away from that class with a little something after all.

8 comments:

Sue said...

I wish we could have a seminar like that at work, we just have the family bitch sessions. Usually at 8:30 am every morning. I usually wander off in my mind during those times, and then one of them will ask me a question and I'll be like " Huh?"

Sandi said...

Once I read a book about this, and it made sense to me also. I can see where you would not have been overly thrilled to see a dump trailer, espicially if you wanted a ring or something. We were raised in the belief that all gifts must have a practical purpose. Hence the yard equipment. LOL

Janine said...

Wow..this is too much. I just watched Joel Osteen last weekend and he was talking about the same exact thing....the emotional bank account. I believe in signs and this, to me anyway, is a sign that I need to start making more deposits. :)

Sleeping Mommy said...

You gave me something to think about that I really need to think about. Thanks Sheri. Sometimes I think I make more withdrawels from my husband's account than deposits and I need to be mindful of that.

Heather said...

The funny thing is, as I was reading the rock scenario, the first thing that pooped into my head was I would start with the large rocks first. LOL I totally get what you mean, I feel like that and have had friends that just drained the account dry and I had to let go. I think you said it beautifully!!

Melody said...

Sister Kris is a constant windrawal. Sister Terri, has been withdrawing alot the past few years but the deposits are alway very large from her. Hubby is usually at Par and kids are very eratic. The other accounts are often neglected and I should balance them far more often. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

Jeannette said...

...thinking about the "bank account" -it's easy to have some pretty large accounts at your "bank" and not really realize it. I have this friend, her account is HUGE, I know it is, but I often don't think of how large her account is. She is not the smartest person in the world, but a kinder person you will never meet. She's from Guadelejara (sp?) and her English is not very good. The poor thing can't even drive a car or write a check. I've known her for almost 15 years. She calls me EVERY day, just to chatterbox with me for a few minutes. I feel bad because sometimes I'm in a hurry on the phone as I try and watch my 3 year old daughter. My friend remembers the 24th of every month as a special day, being the day my daughter is one year older. :-( I don't even remember to call my friend once a year on her birthday each year, try as I might. There have been the occasional year that on the day after her birthday I realize I forgot to call her. :-( My account with her must be pretty small, but she treats me like I've banked a million with her. I need to do something really special for her, really soon. She means a lot to me.

Jeannette said...

oops, meant "one MONTH older"