3 Things You’ll Never Miss Once You Get Rid of Them
It’s a brand new year and with it comes our resolutions, those promises we make to ourselves to better our lives. It may be a healthier lifestyle, including more exercise or a focusing on better food choices or perhaps even pampering yourself a bit more by pursuing a craft or activity you really enjoy.
Adding new goals to our lives is a positive move forward, but there sometimes it’s important to think about subtracting, which can also have a positive and stress-reducing effect. Like the pounds you drop or the bad habits you lose, you won’t miss these once they’re gone either.
It all seems so innocent and quaint at first, the “hellos” and “how are yous” until before you know it, they’ve transformed into “could you help me’s” and “I need you’s.” Suddenly, you’re asking yourself – wait, what? Who are these people, and why am I devoting more time and attention to them than to my own family/best friend/people I truly love — those whom I see far too little of as it is? How have these “acquaintances” insinuated themselves into my already way too busy life?
With soccer games, dance, after-school tutoring, and myriad other activities our children are involved in, it makes sense that we run into the same people on the daily and engage in polite chit-chat. However, when you realize it’s becoming far more than chit-chat and not something you’re interested in taking to the next level, just keep that perspective and set your boundaries. We worry so much about hurting others’ feelings or seeming rude, when in reality, we need to remember that acquaintances are not in the close friend category. Be polite but firm.
We don’t get to choose our biological family, and while some of us love and cherish our blood relatives and in-laws, there are those we want nothing to do with. The reasons are endless – they drink, use drugs, smoke, take advantage of our hospitality, display inappropriate behavior in front of our children (and ourselves), or they may be full of bitterness and rage due to past family dysfunction and/or issues.
Just stop. You owe them nothing. You especially do not owe them your time, care and love at times of the year when, for better or for worse, family comes together for religious ceremonies, holidays, or something as simple as a birthday party. Your joy should not be overshadowed by crippling anxiety worrying about this person’s arrival and behavior. You end up the babysitter, checking constantly to be sure this person isn’t disturbing or upsetting anyone when your attention should be spent happily mingling with those you love.
It isn’t them that’s screwing everything up, it’s us, allowing them to attend these gatherings, enabling them, and worse, teaching them by extending the invitation, their offenses are excusable and tolerable.
We are the ones with the power to set boundaries for them and for ourselves. If a stranger showed up at your child’s eighth birthday party drunk and belligerent, would you allow that person to stay? Of course not! Again, boundaries are essential. Inform this person that his or her behavior is inappropriate and upsetting, and although you care, you cannot condone certain behaviors. Let this person know that there is always a place your table if and when he or she is willing to earn it.
Quality time and life are short. We say it all the time – “They grow up so fast, before you know it, they’ll be gone!” It’s true. Make a list of all the recurring commitments you have and prioritize them. Some, of course, we enjoy and they bring us great pleasure, i.e. sporting events our children are involved in, clubs we or they belong to, and that’s fine. But, take a really good, long look at this list. Eliminate the ones that you do out of sheer obligation, you know, the one’s you say to yourself, “Ugh, I just hate doing this but if I don’t host this weekly <insert hated commitment here> they’ll think I’m a selfish jerk!”
You can politely tell everyone involved that you can no longer host this event because you need more time for yourself and family: “I’m so sorry, I simply don’t have the time right now. I hope you understand.”
Anyone who thinks you are a “selfish jerk” for wanting more time for yourself and family isn’t worth your time anyway.
Selfish is a funny word. We associate it with negativity, ego, and vanity.
In reality, it is something we need more of in the true sense of the word – self-ish – “of and for self.” Your stress levels will reduce drastically making these few changes; and the great news is — you won’t miss them. If, for some strange reason you find you do, invite them/it back into your life.
We need to stop blaming everyone else in our lives for the way they negatively affect us, our families, and our quality time. WE have the control to change what and who we allow in our lives.
Do everyone you love a favor, set boundaries and stick to them. When done with love and respect, it not only improves our own lives, but these boundaries may just be the wake-up call some people need to understand the importance of self-respect and the importance of family.
We must only love ourselves enough, be self-ish enough to take control of our lives and time by setting clear boundaries.
Life is but a blink of an eye – cherish the fairy dust moments.
This post was written by Mary McLaurine exclusively for BonBon Break Media LLC.
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