07/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

How do you Want to "Spend" Your Time?

When a friend of mine came over last night because things at home were again too tense to handle, we began talking about how his life has been for the past several months. His concern, he said, was about doing the right things for his son, his wife, his job, his dog... everything but himself.

I listened, thought about all he was saying and asked him one simple question: how do you want to spend, or use up or pay out, the rest of your time in this life?

Instead of thinking about it in such a complicated way by constantly considering what to do to make everyone one else happy, or take care of everyone else's feelings, I proposed that he simplify it by asking himself that one question. If he answers it by making choices to spend his time in a positive, healthy way it will automatically be the right choice for his son, his wife, his family and everyone else in his life.

When we pay out or spend we usually get something in return and expect that something to work, not be defective and certainly not abuse us in any way. I pay the electric bill, I get electricity. I pay my car payment and I get to keep my nice car. I am paying out in order to get what I want or for my needs to be met.

But if my car was a lemon, my electricity didn't work, the new computer I just bought didn't operate properly, I would not continue spending money on something that didn't work. I would see if the problem could be fixed immediately and if the problem was too severe and a fix wasn't possible, return it for a new one.

Why don't we do this when it comes to spending the most valuable thing we have... our time? Why would you keep spending it on something that isn't working?

My friend has been in a relationship that is controlling and on both sides, buttons are being pushed nearly every day that escalate into hurtful words and actions they both end up regretting and from which they feeling further pain. People in his life have been alienated because he has chosen to spend his time in and on a relationship that has serious problems; one that demands he not have outside friendships or activities that don't include her. Her fear, jealousy, anger and resentment issues, coupled with his own unresolved issues, has left him emotionally bankrupt.

The same kind of scenario showed up in a conversation I had with my mom this morning. She too is spending her time on a relationship that is defective. She has been complaining about her situation for months. At some point we must look at our life and ask ourselves if the way we are spending our time is worth what we are receiving in return.

It has to start being about you and how you want to experience life, time and how you choose to exist for the rest of the time you are here. If you seek harmony, do whatever you need to do to have that. If it is spirituality, do whatever you need to do to achieve that, and so on.

The simple truth is that by choosing to pay out your time to positive energy, healthy relationships and experiences, you are choosing to get a product worth every precious ounce of your time. Ask yourself today how you want to "spend" your time. Ask yourself if what you are getting for the payout of your time is defective and causing you to become internally bankrupt, or if you are experiencing an amazing return on your investment.

Ask yourself how you want to experience life; how you want to exist with the time you have left. Ask yourself if it is time to choose a new way to invest your time.

Spend wisely!

Watch the movie premiere of Held Hostage on Lifetime Movie Network starring Julie Benz and Bruce McGill based on Michelle Renee's life story and debut book of the same title July 19, 2009!