I used to get duped by Andy, Jeff, Fredrick, NeNe and oh so many other characters on Bravo TV. I’d sit down, intending to watch one hour of their antics, and come back to consciousness three hours later. It provided an escape at the end of an unfulfilling or stressful day.
As I walked my dog at night, I realized I wasn’t alone. The majority of the houses in the neighborhood were emanating the familiar TV glow. My neighbors and I were slowly becoming a statistic. Did you know that the hours many Americans spend watching TV equate to three days of work?
That led to other insights. I realized that the escape didn’t really create an escape – it just delayed the inevitable. The feelings of stress and lack of fulfillment re-appeared once the show was over. Plus, the hours I spent watching TV were holding me back from pursuing more meaningful activities in my life… ones that would generate genuine happiness. (TV has actually been shown to decrease happiness.)
So, I sold my TV. It was a terrifying decision. Single then, I wondered what I’d do on my own at nights when I got home. Yes, during my Bravo detox, I would catch myself wondering how the Housewives were doing. But, reclaiming my nights ended up being more amazing than I could have imagined. My nights and my heart began feeling more alive and fulfilled. I decided the happy balance for me was downloading a one-hour show once a week on my computer.
However, a little over a year later (last weekend) I went on a Bravo bender. After working around the clock for a few weeks on an important deadline, I had a massive energy hangover. Literally I looked and felt like I had two bottles of champagne the night before. There was nothing that would make my glazed eyeballs happier than gorging on Bravo TV.
So, I made some choices. First, I chose to be compassionate with myself for the current state of my energy. I definitely lost my balance, but it was in the name of a meaningful happiness-boosting pursuit. Then, I chose to indulge. I watched Bravo the entire day. It felt delicious.
I had no guilt because I listened to what my energy was telling me and consciously chose to act on it. Hibernate. Relax. Recover. Laugh. I woke up the next day feeling fully recovered, which likely would not have happened had I pushed myself to do anything else. My energy was restored.
What I’ve learned in working with my own and others energy is that being in tune with your energy doesn’t mean being perfect. It means checking in with yourself and making the choice that honors the request you hear. (Whether TV is your drug of choice, like me, or it’s something else, the same rules apply.) If my reason for watching TV is to numb my mind or avoid something, I chose something different. If it’s to help my system recover from being overextended on a rare occasion, it’s Bravo time.