Well a lot has happened as of late… bringing up a million lessons along the way. (Which I promise to share as time and sanity allow.) But as I am currently trapped on yet another plane, there is no time like the present.
First, the good news… I recently accepted an incredible job offer from one of the top companies (that I ever even dared to dream about), making more than I ever have before, doing work that will challenge me and require me to use all of my skills almost every single day. Woohoo!
Now, the not so good news… I have to relocate about 2,000 miles from Houston to Seattle. Can you say “big change”?! And massive stress?? Uprooting to go across the country after 19 years is one thing… moving from the house that I’ve been in for almost 16 years is quite another! Vastly different from all my moves when everything I owned fit into a pickup truck…
Which brings me to the topic of the day… my recent discovery of the magic of tidying up. Needless to say all this moving and shaking in my life is requiring a great deal of clearing out stuff and junk. Well, as you may be aware, Marie Kondo’s philosophy is to get rid of what does not bring you joy. And as I have begun to move into this process in earnest, I recently noticed something… this applies to people too!
There are approximately four types of people in your life. (Of course, there maybe more, but this is what I have seen so far. However, I am open to revising this if experience bears out additional information.) So of course, it begs the question, “What should be done with each group?” Here is what I have figured out, but your mileage may vary.
The first group is made up of those people that you look to for help, support, and maybe even love… whether they have ever given you a single drop of any of this or not. They can be friends, lovers, family members… you know, those that are “close.” But these are the ones that when you gather up enough vulnerability to ask for help, or support, a hug, or even just a shoulder to cry on, are going to begin by telling you all the reasons why they can’t, or they’re too busy, or it’s inconvenient for them, or you are weak for not being able to do it yourself, etc…. without even hearing or asking the “when” “whys” “hows” or anything. They are also usually to first to demand your assistance when situations are reversed.
I’ve run into many of them lately, and beyond “not bringing me joy”, I have found that they actually suck the joy right out of my life at any given moment. So, what’s a girl to do? It’s really quite simple… leave them on the curb for heavy trash pick up with all of the scraps, broken bits, and other bags of rubbish that just seem to accumulate when you live in a place too long… and leave no forwarding address. Life is much freer without these energy sucking vampires around. Besides, they are taking up space that could be filled with one of these other types of people. So why waste your bandwidth?
The next group is usually about quantity rather than quality… even more so in the age of social media! These are the people that aren’t particularly close. You may not even have a real conversation with them on an even semi-regular basis. Hell, they probably don’t even know your phone number! You may not even know them off-line. But, they actually follow your life… liking, sharing, and maybe even occasionally commenting on your posts and pictures.
Keep these people. They are your cheerleaders… and you are going to need them. They see you from afar, in a “big picture” kind of way, and for whatever reason they think more of you, and believe more in you than you do… especially on “those” days. (You know the ones… when it’s all too much, and way too impossible, and you’d rather crawl under a rock and hide than do anything.) These are the people who prop up your spirits and dust you off when you feel like you are doing nothing but face plants. Definitely keep these people… and listen too them! We can get entirely too close to ourselves and the problems to see the truth or get perspective sometimes. We all need that outside view… and to see ourselves in the eyes of people that genuinely like us.
Now we’re getting to the people that are much closer to you. The ones that have been around forever. Not necessarily everyday… but these are the ones that just show up. They keep an eye on you, check in, see how you’re holding up. These are the people that you sort of take for granted. You know that if you asked them for help or assistance they would absolutely step up… with a smile on their face and joy in their hearts… but you rarely do because you don’t want to put them out or bother them. (Besides, you are also probably too busy making yourself crazy trying to get that from those withholding people we already talked about… sad to say, but true. Or is that just me?)
Hang on to these people… there is usually far fewer of them. They are valuable… but only as much as you let them be. Learn to ask for help and then learn to receive by letting these kind souls help you. If it makes it any easier for you, think about how great you feel when you get to do something for someone that matters to you without wanting or needing anything in return… Now, let this other person get a shot of that! Why would you want to deny them that opportunity?
We have reached the rarest of all the groups, and you’ll be really lucky if you have even a couple of these in your lifetime. (I have been blessed to discover that I have about a half dozen of them and I am overwhelmed.) These are the people that show up and offer help before you even know you need it. And not in that “let me know if I can do anything” way… But in that “I can do this to help” way. I’ve had people offer to help me sort, pack, let contractors in, cover me while the timing and cash flow work out, do the cross country drive with me… the list goes on and I’ve barely scratched the surface on the process of what all needs to be done.
With these people I suggest that you open your heart and your spirit and drink in all the love and compassion that is being offered to you. I know, it feels foreign, and more than scary… but we’ve talked about the power of vulnerability before. (If you don’t remember, go here.) Practice some true humility and accept the gifts that are so freely being offered. My personal thought is that you won’t make it without them… and you sure will learn a thing or two in the process. (Both about yourself and the generous spirits before you.) Hang on to these amazing people like your life depends on it… because it probably does.