It’s Not Me…It’s You:
3 Things You Can do Today To Change Your Relationships
I’ve been one of those self professed “Busy people”. I’ve had weeks go by without any real family or friend interaction and have gone around touting how busy I am. I was genuinely busy and often still am. But, I am growing more aware of my busyness. I am finding what is necessary, what is not and what is just a plain stupid waste of my time and energy. Busyness is a drug. It’s a rite of passage, like we are all just working and working and working so that we can call ourselves busy, like somehow that means something. But what is this busyness doing to serve us and in turn how is it impacting our relationships?
The Power of Simplicity
I have spent that past several months trying to simplify my life. This has included taking assessment of physical possessions, emotional space, as well as looking at relationships in my life and how they fit in to this new model of existence. The incredible thing about simplicity is once you start pruning in one area, it makes the transition to other areas in your life almost seamless. They build off of each other. Once I started eliminating bags and bags of “stuff” from my closets and cabinets, I found myself realizing and connecting with emotions and pain that were no longer serving this new way of life. I found myself taking a deeper look at relationships and seeing the ones that were draining me. The people who I spent time chasing and investing in that did not return the favor with as much gusto. The relationships that made me feel small and insignificant and the time that was wasted worrying and hurting.
How Will You Spend Your Time?
Tweet: The beautiful thing about time, is that it is ours. It belongs to us, and we only have so much of it every day. But it is OURS. We get to decide how we spend our time and with whom we spend it. I have realized that I no longer want to spend my time with people who are bringing me down and making me feel small or insignificant. I do not want to spend my time with negative people, people who gossip and complain, because it makes me feel like I need to gossip and complain and that is just a waste of time and energy. I do not want to spend my time chasing friendships. I like to think I am a good friend, I am fun to be around and have things to offer in a relationship, like humor and honesty. I shouldn’t have to chase anyone, we should make time for each other and look forward to seeing each other.
I am not the perfect friend or sibling or spouse or parent. I have, and continue to make my fair share of mistakes and I fail at friendships every day. But I am trying to get better at focusing my time in a more positive, constructive way. I have realized the situations that drain me time and time again, and do not fill me back up. Of course there will be moments that we give and give and give and will never get anything in return. These can be the exception, they do not have to rule our lives. I do believe that busyness has become an epidemic. We fill our time with so much stuff that we do not make room for the beautiful moments. We do not make time for long talks, and lazy afternoons. I know I need to work every day to create more space in my life. More space that I don’t need to rush to fill. In the physical sense, with clothing and gadgets and possessions; in the emotional sense by freeing myself by letting go of the past and not allowing myself to be controlled by my emotions. I think both of these actions ultimately guide what we have to offer in our relationships. They allow us to have more time to invest in deeper relationships and in turn to see what areas and people are continuing to bring us down.
2 Things You Can STOP Today and 1 to START
1. Stop Being So Busy: Make Time & Space in Your Life
Ok I get it, you have a kid, or a really intense career, or a spouse, or a large family, or all of the above plus a million other things. But, we are all busy. We all have stuff on our plates that we need to attend to. We don’t have to let being busy keep us from living. The next time you want to boast about how busy you are or use it as an excuse not to do something or spend time with people, just stop. Catch yourself and free yourself from that excuse. If you are just far too busy to make plans with a friend, or loved one, quickly look at your list of things to do and start eliminating the things that are draining you and bringing you down. I bet you will find a lot of room.
2. Stop Spending Time With Negative People: If They Drain You, Cut Them Out
Negativity is as much of an epidemic as busyness. It is a powerful mood changer and it can really destroy your life. Negative people are people who always make themselves the victim. No matter what is going on, they always focus on what isn’t going right. They are the people who point out your flaws. They put you down, rather than encourage you. They like to focus on mistakes, rather than victories. They like to gossip and talk about people behind their backs. They like to focus on drama rather than good things. You might have some great things going on in your life but they will find a way to steer the conversation to something that will bring you down. Whether it be talking about a family member who is struggling or a million other things that may not be going right. You can try to change the topic, but they will always steer it back there. Just keep your distance from these people. They might be people that for one reason or another you need to be around, but you don’t need to have lengthy, in-depth conversations with them. You don’t need to spend the majority of your time with them. If you need to be around them and they are bringing you down with their negative thinking say, You know, your negativity is really bringing me down, I’d rather not talk about this right now. Your time belongs to you after all, spend it in a more positive way with more positive people.
3. Start to Mirror The Relationships You Want: Be The Change You Want To See
If you do not have the kind of friendships you would like, start being the friend you would like to have, for others. Make a list of the characteristics you would like to see in a friend and start being that person. Do you want to be positive, encouraging, thoughtful, funny? Whatever an ideal friendship or relationship would look like to you, then be that. You will most likely find that other people want that too. Other people are hungry for deep relationships that build them up and do not tear them down. If you are not happy with the relationships you have, look inward. Are you the type of person you would want to spend your deepest, most intimate moments with? The change in our lives always starts with ourselves.
If it’s time for you to clean up the relationships in your life, try following these steps! They might just change your whole world. They have and continue to change mine.