Thursday, January 24, 2013
A while ago I wrote a blog about dealing with people who deplete us. The message was, let them go to find their own tribe while we find ours. Seems fair enough.
As solid as I think that idea is—not mine originally, but famous coach, Martha Beck’s idea—several people commented, what if it’s someone you can’t, and just don’t want, to let go: like a difficult parent, for example?
I think there are two questions to ask in that circumstance. The first is, what is our role in the drama between us and how can I shift my role to deal with them differently?
Lots of ideas come to mind when I say that to myself. Limit time with them; only meet on common ground where we have fun; refuse to argue, etc., etc. With my difficult mother it helped to visit her with a friend because she enjoyed people and acted “better” when others were around. She also loved to shop and so I often took her to lunch at a mall. I made some decent memories with her that way, and now that she is gone, I appreciate that I took the time to figure that out. I had to step away from her drama to live my own life.
Every situation is different. It may take some thinking to come up with a creative, lighter solution to hanging in with people we love but find difficult and depleting.
The second question is probably more important. What do I want from the depleting relationship that I am not getting? Do we need praise and appreciation? Do we need encouragement? Do we need a sounding board? Do we need someone to accompany us? We need to come to terms with reality: the person we may want it most from may not be able to give it!
I never talk about weight and fitness with anyone who isn’t committed to that already. I’m not a salesperson and don’t want to be in the business of persuading an overweight or unfit person to do something different. But I am so grateful for Spark friends who are doing the drill, fighting the fight, making things happen. And I have found new friends at the gym and other places where healthy, fit people work and play.
So those are my thoughts about hanging with people who deplete us, and finding what we really need elsewhere--when a significant person in our life is no help and even makes it harder to achieve our goals. What do you think?