Almost anything and everything can make life difficult these days and so it becomes very important where you invest your time and energy, especially when you don’t have much to spare.
Years ago I found myself inviting or allowing more drama into my life than I needed. I became embroiled in peoples private and public dramas which invariably had a price to pay. These days I have built an inner radar for such things so I can detect such dramas beforehand. An early warning system.
As we get older, and especially when we have health challenges, it becomes very clear what is important in life and what really matters. At least it did to me. I truly believe that there is a lot of unnecessary drama and junk floating around these days and particularly in social media.
In my case I have put a high priority on peace and coping. I work very hard to ensure that this is my goal in everything I do and all those I interact with. I consciously aim to give myself the gift of peace and confidence in my daily life as this is the best gift I can give my health and my life.
Although I freely admit there is a percentage of stress and challenge that we simply can’t avoid in life, I also believe there is a lot we can avoid. People and places that I know to be potentially stressful, challenging or prone to drama I simply avoid like the plague! No matter who they are.
For example, if there is a doctor that just causes so much tension or unease I will find another doctor. If it is a friend that takes more than they give I simply choose to step out of that relationship. If it’s a family member that just enjoys competing, arguing and guilting then it’s time to let that one go too. I just don’t have anytime for it anymore. Nor does my body.
I have been aware that often when it comes to bringing drama and stress into life, those that bring it generally don’t have the slightest concern or regard for how it impacts me (or any person who is health challenged). They simply spread their unease, guilt, mind games, anger, passive aggressive behaviors and angst (to name but a few) and then they casually move on and leave you to pick up the bill. I believe that someone who truly cares for you and your relationship would want to work hard with you to make sure the relationship supported both of you and helped make each other stronger by observing and being aware of the way you both interact and work through issues together. Less caring people will generally not consider the affect they have or the impact they make on your life. They won’t even give it a second thought.
So now I have a list of people that I give my time and energy to and I completely give them my love and support.. I don’t buy in to the guff and waste my loyalty to friends and family members if all you have to show for it is a list of difficult times and stressful exchanges.
I simply move on.
When moving on, however, I ensure that I do so with the most sincere and respectful intentions. I seek to genuinely wish them well and to not talk or think ill of them again. It’s done. It’s a releasing with positive wishes as opposed to holding a grudge or unresolved feelings forever. To hold grudges and bad blood is another form of wasted energy that I simply can’t and won’t afford.
At this time of life I no longer invite drama and I think carefully before becoming involved in someone else’s drama. If a friend/family member appears to have a genuine struggle and needs support and encouragement from me, then I will give them all that I have to spare. I will do all I can for that person and for that relationship. Generally such deserving people have done quite a lot for themselves in order to tackle the problem and I honour them and their challenges with my unwavering support and loyalty. These are the essential criteria now.
I also look for patterns in behaviors. For example if it appears that one person (friend or family) continually seems to have the same recurring issues and drama or always needs attention and assistance for their predicaments then I start to suspect that my help and investment will not be appreciated or productive. I also assess whether this is a one sided situation and if support or assistance goes in one direction and not the other! That is a definite deal breaker for me now.
Perhaps in the past these things made me feel wanted or helpful in some respects but my eyes have been opened to some of the real effects and results of such behaviors. The fact is that I am loyal, useful, helpful and loving and I need to take care of how I utilize these qualities.
I have also had to accept that although there are many causes in the world it stands to reason that I will not be able to cure or solve them all. No one can. I shouldn’t place that burden on myself. Such thinking can spark off a emotional crisis in me and I begin to feel defeated and ineffectual. I no longer think that this is helpful and I acknowledge that I am not a super human being or martyr for every social problem out there. I have my limits and I respect them.
Today I pick my battles. I show some discretion in what I want to put my emotions and time into. I prioritize my battles according to my abilities and health. The result of this is that instead of being drained and frustrated I can start to feel a little better about myself and what I can bring to each situation.
I recognize that these days there is just no avoiding some problems and stresses but I also am better at recognizing my own limitations and issues which I really don’t need to invest in or get hung up on.
I see this now as a form of self care and self love and no longer consider it a failing in me.
Being a very caring and empathic person can make you feel like you carry a target of your back and that you are an open wound for the troubles of the world. It is a real effort to push back and to choose more wisely where to spread that precious love and energy.
Ironically, in my circumstances, it took becoming increasingly ill and struggling myself to learn how best to show support and show my concern for others. A lesson I am constantly grateful for.