You have to protect your time and energy, boo.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned is that my time and my energy are a privilege, not a right! And it’s a lesson I intend to share with anyone who has not yet realized that.

There isn’t a single person on this Earth who is worth wasting your time and energy for.

Please stop wasting your time and energy on people who don’t deserve it. If you’re going to give away a piece of yourself, do it with reciprocity in mind. They may not give you the same thing (and that should tell you something), but here are three things you should be giving to anyone you’re giving your time and energy to.

  1. A listening ear. We all like to be heard–and we deserve to be. There is nothing wrong with sharing your thoughts, your worries, or your story to those who are willing to listen to it. This includes friends, family, and/or random individuals… if you’re giving your time and energy to them, then I’m talking about that person particularly. The people who love you will listen to you rant and rave for hours–and then hug you, curse you out, or hold you depending on the content. Don’t be an asshole and not allow them to respond in their own way to whatever it is you’re ranting or raving about, either. You should be able to have honest, open conversations with anyone you choose to give your time and energy to.
  2. A genuine laugh. For the love of God, PLEASE don’t give your time or energy to someone who can’t even make you laugh. You literally deserve MUCH better than that. I’m a firm believer that laughter and love are what fuels the mind and soul. If you don’t have those, you don’t have a whole lot to bank on–trust me. Again, it’s about reciprocity. If you’re a stick in the mud, then no I’m not talking to you. You have to be fair when expecting to receive something from someone. Are you offering anything worth the exchange? Have a sense of humor. Don’t take things so seriously and take the chip off your shoulder so that someone out there can show you what it’s like to laugh from the gut. I’m talking about that laughter that will cause you to grow an extra ab or two! If you’ve never experienced a gut-wrenching laugh before from anyone, then you’re probably the problem. I’m just keeping it real!
  3. A challenge. Give your time and energy to the person who makes you work for theirs. Just writing that sentence turns me on. Seriously. You don’t have to look at it from a romantic standpoint either. You shouldn’t have friends that don’t challenge you to be better. You shouldn’t really put up with the family that isn’t interested in pushing you to be your best, but you DEFINITELY don’t need to give your time or energy to a potential relationship that you don’t feel challenged by! I’m not talking about a headbutting challenge either. I mean pursuing someone who challenges you to do all the shit you don’t really want to do, but that you need to do! It’s never comfortable at first, but it isn’t supposed to be and the person you are giving your time and energy to is sure to appreciate the effort to take that challenge head-on… I promise!

So be stingy with your time and energy! There is a whole lot more to look for and expect when you’re giving someone a piece of you, but again… make sure you’re receiving these three things at the very least or cut out of there at the very first chance you get!

This article was originally written by Editor-in-chief of Prime Fifty-Two, Isis Nezbeth, and can also be seen on Thought Catalog.