A new year always brings a desire to hit reset in a sense and be better than the previous year. On average, people stick with these changes for about 3 months. Seeing as we’re in “get right” season, we may as well start it off right with getting rid of mess. By “starting it off right” I mean purging all of the stuff you don’t need at all and organizing the stuff you don’t need right now…to include people. As a matter of fact, mostly people. If you are still reading my thoughts since this thing started, you understand me by now. If this is your first one, I may seem a bit off, but it’s cool, stick with me.
I used to have a buddy that was always wherever the good times were. Parties, hanging out at the dorms, if there were girls around, he was ready and willing to be present. Let any kind of issue pop up though and he was nowhere to be found. Somehow, despite being a life sucking leech, he was always quick to ask for help when he needed it. It didn’t take me long to figure out his character, but he was still around leaching money, food, and good energy. Finally, after several months of soul searching, I stopped entertaining these antics altogether. Sure, it was funny to clown him from time to time, but the only thing seemingly good about his presence was acknowledging his negative energy with negative energy for laughs.
It was easy to completely ignore this man’s existence once I focused my energy on personal growth. That’s not to say I became like him, I simply matured. This level of self-awareness came relatively early in life for me, so I don’t have many examples of leaches successfully taking anything from me. Trying to take from me is another story. I have observed it in others, usually with people that are draining them in a non-binding relationship. It’s not good in binding relationships either, but in these instances it’s typically more difficult to sever ties because you lose something by doing so. For clarification I see binding and non binding as follows:
|Business Partner||Friends/Significant Others|
|Greasy, Greasy Grandmammy|
Further clarification is needed. As I see it, binding relationships come with legal agreements that you may have to go through the justice system to cut off. You shouldn’t be trying to cut your kids off, but child support will be on you if you do until they’re grown so choose wisely.
Non-binding relationships are the ones that you keep at your discretion. Sounds cold blooded to put family in the category, but they are and that’s usually our biggest vulnerability. To a certain extent, they’re always going to be around, it’s just how you interact with them that may need to change. Constantly hitting you up for money, always bringing drama, coming to the function empty handed, leaving with a big ass plate…you know! Probably saw a lot of this the last couple months. Those are not relationships you necessarily need to hold onto just because you have more recent shared ancestors.
I say all that as a person that bends over backwards for my family. I acknowledge some of the familial relationships I have are one-sided in the give and take category, most are not. However, I only engage or entertain them when I have the energy to do so. It’s not that I don’t love them, but it’s counterproductive to my journey to constantly stop for someone that isn’t going where I’m going. With family, there’s always love and holidays so completely cutting any of them off is unlikely. They’re like suits and good quality shoes. Can’t take’em everywhere, but you keep them because you really can’t replace them. Neighbors, co-workers, boo’s and BAE’s are like underwear and socks, it doesn’t take much to overstay the welcome, and they are easily replaced when things go funky.
On this journey through life, I’m fully aware that we’ll all have baggage, I’m just saying pack light. Just as a normal person isn’t taking a couple of suitcases for an overnight stay, you shouldn’t be packing all these extra people on your path to living in your happiness. I can guarantee, you don’t need all these folks, any more than you need those 8 outfits for an overnight stay. However, excuses like “maybe I might need them” or “I see the potential here” or “but we go way back” are what keeps those bags heavier than necessary.
Clearing the excess baggage begins with recognizing that it’s excessive to begin with. This requires understanding where you are, what you have and where you want to go. It also requires acceptance that if you truly want to go there, everyone and everything can’t go with you. Those people that add positivity to your life and propel you forward, keep them, the ones that hold you back and add drama, donate them to Goodwill. Progressive people are always going somewhere, so those types must evaluate what’s helping and what’s hurting more often than those that are content with their lives or those that are complacent in life.
“Human progress is neither automatic, nor inevitable. Every step towards goals requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle”.Martin Luther King
It’s not easy for everyone to lighten the load of negative people. It’s especially difficult in binding and familial relationships. However, all progress comes with a bit of discomfort and sacrifice. So, if you are on a path to getting financially, mentally, physically, and emotionally stronger then your ultra-critical auntie, pessimistic cousin or self-serving significant other may have to sit this one out. One must commit to self-love, self-care, personal happiness before seeking this with others. If not, you will have these heavy bags for nothing.