Touch Greatness

Something Has to Change: Episode 21

Meggan Stephens

5/8/20247 min read

low light stage microphone photography
low light stage microphone photography

Emotional Bank Accounts

An emotional bank account is something each of us holds, often compared to an actual bank account when being defined. With every bank, there are multiple account holders making monetary deposits and withdrawals. An emotional bank account is similar in the way that you are the bank, and each relationship you have is a different account holder. In each of those relationships, whether with spouse, children, co-workers, friends, or relatives, deposits and withdrawals are made through positive and negative interactions. It's important to note the difference and closely examine what you're depositing and withdrawing from others, as well as what is being deposited and withdrawn from you.

Deposits & Withdrawals

A deposit to an account is a credit. In the sense of emotional accounts, a deposit is made through positive interaction, an act of outward support or show of care. This can be a nice gesture of having dinner ready for your significant other after they've had an exhausting day, or simply giving a compliment. Spending quality time or showing genuine interest in someone's day or events are other ways to make healthy emotional deposits. Your positive interactions have a greater impact on your relationships than your words. Hence the sayings, "Actions speak louder than words," and "Don't tell me, show me." Everyone can relate to wanting to be loved through action rather than words alone. There is an obvious disconnect when someone says, "I love you," but their actions don't align.

This leads us to withdrawals. Every negative action is a withdrawal from the emotional bank account. Some common withdrawals include nagging, criticizing, negatively speaking of someone, yelling or screaming, sarcasm, interrupting, or being too preoccupied with your phone or television to give full attention to the person speaking to you.

Balancing Accounts

In every bank account, there must be a balance. There will always be deposits, and there will always be withdrawals. The important thing is to not let the account become overdrawn. The same is true for relationships. A healthy relationship can withstand multiple withdrawals so long as there are consistent deposits. However, consistent withdrawals and minimal deposits can not only harm relationships, but end them all together, or keep them from starting to begin with.

Every relationship begins with a zero balance. You've probably encountered a few people throughout the years who've tried to begin a relationship with a loan. These are people who have began asking for favors, money, or too much of your time right out of the gate. They're known as vampires because they immediately begin to drain you of your time and resources, causing you to recognize immediately that this person is not someone you want to invest in mentally or emotionally. Therefore, this relationship doesn't typically evolve into friendship but rather remains at a distance, acquaintances. On the other hand, a relationship that begins with a deposit has healthy potential to develop longevity and loyalty.

Stephen connects the concept of emotional bank accounts to Matthew 25:8-9. He references the ten virgins, five of whom were foolish, and five of whom were wise. In a nutshell, the five wise had their oil and entered through the door when the Bridegroom arrived, while the five foolish did not have enough oil and had to go buy more. Therefore, the foolish were too late and unable to enter. Stephen explains the oil to be one's spirituality, or mental health. It's vital to keep your own emotional bank account positive, not giving to others what you need or allowing them to withdraw more than you have. Instead, your giving should be out of an abundance. God is not requiring or even asking us to give away our much needed oil. Do not deplete yourself of mental sanity and stability for the foolish who have not taken the opportunities or the time to get their own oil.

He also references Matthew 7:6 which says not to give what is holy to the dogs. Just as we should not allow others to continuously withdraw from us, we should not spend our time making too many deposits into relationships that won't receive them. It could be that you're pouring effort into building someone up, yet they rebuttal every positive interaction with a negative. At this rate, you make withdrawals from yourself in order to balance someone else's account who has more debt than you're equipped to pay. You're not obligated to deposit into bottomless pits.

Proactive vs. Reactive

It's often said that there are two types of people in the world. Either you're one way, or you're the other. In this case, you're either a proactive person, or you're a reactive person. This topic of proactive vs. reactive becomes the part of the podcast that requires a great deal of self-diagnosis. If you find yourself to be proactive, great! Keep on keeping on! On the flip-side, if you diagnose yourself as a more reactive person, do not be dismayed, you can become proactive. After all, you're tuned into this Something Has to Change series because you realize the statement to be true in your own life, and here at Contemporary Speaks, we believe change is possible.


Let's first take a look at the characteristics of a proactive person. These are people who tend to spend majority of their time learning and educating themselves. They strive for change and desire to move forward, always looking for opportunities to improve themselves. Proactive people are prone to plan and think things through. Their behavior is a product of their conscious choices based on values. Do these characteristics describe you? If so, you're on the right track. If not, read on to see if you fall more in the category of a reactive person.


Reactive people are not the type to be up and on the go. They tend to be lazier, wanting to veg out, scrolling or binge-watching tv. Rarely, if ever, do they take time to study themselves or anything else for that matter. They're often in vacation mode, not really up for doing more than what is asked of them. Reactive people are able to acknowledge a need for change, but they often end up back in the same routines they tried to break away from. They deal with things last minute and waste time on unproductive activities, often feeling overwhelmed when they have multiple tasks to complete. Reactive people focus on things they can't control and allow their emotional state to be dictated by other people and external factors. Their behavior is a product of their conditions based on their feelings.


By this point, you've diagnosed yourself as either proactive or reactive. Once again, if you've come to realize you're a reactive person, do not lose heart. You can change. Take hold of your emotional state. Take hold of your life. As said in previous episodes, small steps lead to great distances, and one percent of change can begin to change the direction of your life. Begin to trade out your negatives for positives. Instead of scrolling social media, take time to read and study. Instead of waiting until the last minute to do something, do it in the moment. A small example of this is taking vitamins. I notice within myself that if I don't take my vitamins when the thought comes to take them, I will forget. Not only will I forget that day, but I will forget the next day as well. Before I realize it, I'll have gone several days without taking them at all. The best time to do something is in the moment.

Beginning With the End in Mind

Much of this series has addressed the paramountcy of social circles. Stephen brings the episode full circle by introducing the last topic with a scientific and biblical explanation of social mirrors. Basically, you develop a sense of who you are and what your life is about from your surroundings. We have brain cells called mirror neurons that allow us to learn and emphasize by observing the actions of others. Simply put, you are who you hang with. You speak, act, and think like your circle. This is why it is unhealthy to spend too much time with certain people, and absolutely vital to spend time with the Messiah and those who spend time with Him as well.

In beginning with the end in mind, you must decide what you want your life to be about. It can be about anything, your family, your job, your sobriety, your happiness. It can be about ministry, God, and building the Kingdom. That's not to say that you shouldn't be happy, love your family, have a career, or stay sober. The point is to focus on your destination and don't lose sight of it. If your focus is on the destination, you will not succumb to the pressures and battles of life that come to deter you. Faith is seeing the outcome. Know where you're going and believe you will make it there regardless of every storm that tries to stop you. Obstacles may come that slow you down, but if you see the end result, you'll keep going.

This perspective can be applied to anything. Maybe today is your first day sober. Begin your journey to sobriety by seeing yourself sober in your last days. Meditate on that. Envision yourself set free, laughing with your loved ones, embracing restored relationships. Maybe today is your first day on a new diet, embarking on a lifestyle change of health and wellness. Envision yourself fit, healthy, looking and feeling better than you ever have with energy and clarity to take on every new day given. Maybe today is the day you decide something has to change. Begin with the end in mind.

Something Has to Change

The "something" that has to change is honesty. We have to stop lying to ourselves and acknowledge where we are. If you've been making deposits into others just to get a deposit back, you're a manipulator. If you give up easily, you're a quitter. Period. The truth hurts but a lie is deadly. Learn to be brutally honest with yourself or you'll never see a need to change anything. Learn to give without expecting anything in return. Learn to push through the pain and the storm. Set a goal for yourself and hit it. Quit quitting and start overcoming.

3 Life Hacks:
  1. Help and give without expecting a return.

  2. Push through to touch greatness.

  3. Define yourself by your willingness to achieve goals.

Some would say life is about discovering one's self. Others would dispute and say that life isn't about finding yourself, but creating yourself. Contemporary Speaks, a weekly mental-health podcast, is taking us further into the analysis of self with another episode of Something Has to Change. In episode 21, the host, Stephen, discusses how deposits and withdrawals are made to the emotional bank accounts that each of us possess. He then helps the listener to identify whether they are a proactive or a reactive person. Lastly, he explains what it means to hold the perspective of beginning with the end in mind. Through each of these topics, insight is given to uncover the true self and life tips to implement in order to become the person you aspire to be.

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