Ah yes, Spring Time is here. We’ve already sprung forward (anyone else sleepy after that?) on our clocks and many of us have cleaned or are in the planning phases of cleaning our homes. It is possible, we have opened our windows to allow for fresh air to flow through our homes and clear out stale air. SOME of us have even managed to clear our closets and donate items to our local non-profits that serve individuals who experience life differently.
I am not that person. However, I did STRONGLY consider dusting my baseboards. Did I do it? NOPE! But, let me tell you about what I have been up to.
Releasing! If you read my blog in December, thank you! If not, here is another easy chance to read it --> https://www.inspiredboldness.com/post/the-release-and-the-reconciliation <-- In this blog, I discussed releasing people that are no longer in a space to love you as you wish to be loved and learning or Relearning not to expect yourself from others. This blog is a second step into releasing and spring cleaning.
Let’s talk about serving.
I bought a vacuum eons ago. The vacuum initially did exactly as it was intended to do, but eventually something went wrong. It was no longer vacuuming as well. Dirt was being left behind and I was having to work twice as hard to do the thing I needed to do which was clean house. I kept the vacuum for longer than I should, but eventually, I replaced it. I am not big on waste, so if something is working and I am using it, I am keeping it. But, the vacuum was no longer serving its purpose. It was occupying space where something useful could be. Something that served its purpose. I was in the store and saw a fancy vacuum on sale and grabbed it. It was more than I’d ever spent on a vacuum so I wasn’t convinced it was going to do that much better, but I was willing to test. So, I vacuumed the new carpet. It had been on the floor for a mere week. I used the old vacuum and it seemed to clean, but then I broke out the new one. The new one picked up so much more. Where did that dirt come from?! It was a new carpet and we do not wear shoes inside the home. I’d held on to something that didn’t need to be present. It wasn’t doing what it was meant to do. The purpose was no longer being served.
So, if something is no longer serving…it means it is no longer helping you get to where you want to be. In order to find out if something is serving or not, you need to take a moment to think about what, who, how and where you want to be. I wanted clean floors, the old vacuum wasn’t getting me there. Do you want to be a mentally healthy, happy person with a thriving business? Maybe the body you want that can do what you want it to do? Perhaps you want a cute lil puppy living on a plot of land in a tiny house off the grid growing your own food? Great! How well will that work out if you are surrounding yourself with people who operate contrary to those goals? What about the ones that actively seek to sabotage you? Looking inward, how will this go if you hold onto beliefs about yourself and the world that do not aide in the progress toward your goal?
If you want to be able to touch your toes again is it serving to spend hours with someone who begrudges your efforts, makes fun of the difficulty you are experiencing or disparages you because you cannot touch your toes now? How do you feel when you are in that person’s presence? Take a moment and think about it. Do you feel good? Angry? Defensive? Sad? A mix of emptions? You stated your goal to yourself and that person told you that you can’t or you shouldn’t or you won’t. But, YOU want it. YOU see the benefit for yourself. How do you feel about your goal in that person’s presence?
We should make it clear that everyone is not going to pour into you at all times. Even the folks who love you with the fiery passion and devotion of 1,000 suns will not be able to pour into you at every single moment. But, there is a difference between not pouring into you and taking from you. You may be able to hang with neutral, but too much negative either you are going to stop telling this person your desires…or you are going to end up in a battle. You may not be the confrontational type, but that battle may not be with them. It may be with you. You may be in a space where you battle you to determine if you want to be present in the relationship any longer. And, you have every right to determine that. But, I just want to point out that it is likely that this person, this individual you call friend…has been doing this for quite some time. Reflect back on your relationship go back to the beginning and the middle. Has this person previously made you wonder if your stated goal is worth it. Venture back to a few weeks before you expressed this last desire in your mind’s eye. Drift on back and think on your experience and relationship with that person.
Has this person been supportive? Neutral? Or a Vampire? We are not always functioning at 100% So I am not asking you to review your relationship with this individual 6-12 months after the passing of someone that meant the world to them or after any major life event. NOPE. I am asking you to review the relationship outside of times of strife and hardship. How does this person make you feel in times of plenty? How do they make you feel when all is well? How do they engage with you when you are doing well and they are struggling?
Storytime! I was accepted into a program that is notably competitive. I was excited and a friend decided to take me out to celebrate. We’d just finished an established hang out with a larger group of people and we were choosing to go to another location to celebrate. Somehow, others caught wind of the continued hang out and joined us. They were not invited, they just overheard a conversation. We arrived at our location and there they are…alrighty. So, we all grab one large table and chatted for a minute. I ventured over to the case alone to see what I am going to pick out for dessert. They all looked delectable, but my eye was caught by a select few. While looking, an uninvited woman approached me. Doing my best not to stare slack jawed at these tasty treats she introduces herself and asks what we are celebrating. I told her my good news. I was exceedingly proud and excited. I was just accepted into this competitive program! She immediately turned rather sour. Not mean, not rude…just not congratulatory. She advised she’d applied for the same program and hadn’t heard back. She then began quizzing me on how I received notice. She continued to express her upset and kept looking at me like it should have been her and even wondered out loud what she was lacking. So, now my celebration becomes me getting interrogated in front of the dessert case.
I just wanted chocolate!
Her sour mood continued through the evening…leading my friend to comment later…what and who was that? No idea, my friend, no idea…but she became known as Wet Blanket. I’d known her for mere moments and in that time, she already took from me. I was not as good with boundaries at that time and felt the need to take care of her since she appeared so downtrodden. I am not suggesting that I should have been rude. No, not at all. But, this would have felt better for me if I would have been a bit more concise and precise with my words. I wanted to celebrate my accomplishment with friends. I showed empathy without boundaries and she took the ball and ran with it. There was no stopping her. Go Sports!
Now, that established her as someone who would not take a large place in my life. That was the case and is the case. Because in our initial engagement, I wasn’t able to fully celebrate because I took on the role of caring for someone…that wasn’t actually invited to the party. So, what about you? Are you spending time around family, friends, co-workers, place of employment, neighborhood that is sucking the life out of you? When you leave their presence, do you feel happy or sad? Again, I am not talking about every single encounter. No one is perfect, so we are focused on most of the time. When you part ways with that person do you leave feeling loved, challenged in the best way, excited? Or, are you feeling tired, drained and potentially mistaken for a loaf of bread? If you are feeling like a loaf of bread when you leave them, but you walked in feeling like fine wine…ya know…maybe it is time to reconsider the relationship. This is irrespective of the relationship.
If your sister makes you feel like a steaming heap of trash when you leave her presence and you feel this way 80% of the time you are in her presence you may want to reconsider the time you spend with her. You cannot reconsider the relationship, but you can reimagine how you engage with her and how often. Limiting calls to 15 minutes? Monthly visits in a public location? Only seeing her at the changing of the seasons? Holidays and other major family events only? No interaction at all to keep your distance and your peace? Figure out what is going on, what you need and what would be most beneficial.
Please keep in mind that the Vampire may not only be a person who you see out in the world. Your spring cleaning could be clearing the mistreatment of yourself. Are you caring for yourself in the way that you deserve to be cared for and in the way that you care for others? Are you putting your boundaries to the side and allowing yourself to be treated in ways that cause you sleeplessness nights? Does that belief that you are unworthy need to be resolved and sent to the depths from which it came? Think about it in your quiet moments. You could consider journaling if that helps you to get your thoughts out of your head. But, reflect on what, who and how you are trying to be…and if this person, circumstance or situation serves that purpose
So, if you want to go ahead and clean those baseboards. Grapple with the cobwebs, dust and old clothes. But, also look at who surrounds you and how they make you feel. Do they need to go the way of the Dodo or my old vacuum cleaner in your world?