No this isn’t some post about new age hippy religion. Okay well maybe it’s a little new agey but bear with me for a little bit.
When I was in 10th grade there was a girl on the basketball team who everyone liked. She was the popular kid who was good at sports and blah blah blah. Well, me being the insecure fat kid who rode the bench, I wanted her to like me. I spent an inordinate amount of time kissing ass and trying to fit in and basically trying to be someone else. I had a hard time fitting in because well, my mouth always engaged before my brain does and while I like to think I’ve gotten a teeny bit better as I’ve gotten older, those of you who know me best know this is not really the case. But anyway. One day I was being a dork as usual and she made a comment to the effect of “I don’t know why I try so hard to be nice to you.”
My mouth engaged before my brain could stop it and I said something to the effect of “don’t do me any favors.” It was probably the first time I’d stood up and said a massive eff you to someone who shouldn’t have mattered in my world. Granted, it was high school. Granted, it’s easy to look back and tell the 14 year old me you should have done that a long time ago.
Fast forward to now. There’s another person in my life. I don’t need to go into all the messy details but the short version is a long time ago, I made the decision that this person was not going to be a part of my life any more. This person might not be a bad person, this person might be mentally ill but the short version is that I can’t control that. I can only control my own actions and I decided that my reactions to this person were toxic and a long time ago, I decided this person was not going to be in my life because I don’t like who I am around them.
As a person of faith, I struggle with this decision because hey, didn’t Jesus teach that we’re supposed to forgive people? Well, maybe this person isn’t in my life any more because all the forgiveness in the world doesn’t stop the epic mind fuck that goes along with having this person in my life. I stood up a long time ago and decided that the sum of this relationship is not worth my mental and emotional energy. This person does not build me up, they tear me down.
My last battalion commander taught me a lot of things. She used a lot of sports analogies which were generally lost on me (if she’d started using things from books, well…anyway). She said her dad taught her that if you want to run faster, run with the faster group. If you want to play sports better, play with the better kids.
This is how I look at my life and it’s a lesson I try to teach my daughters. Everyone is not going to like you. Everyone is not going to be someone that builds you up. The true friends in your life will tell you when you’re being an ass but love you anyway. The people in your life that matter are the ones who you can call at three in the morning and still love you no matter how much emotional drama you bring to the table.
As I grow older, I realize that there are a lot of people who seek to tear you down. That look at success and want to destroy it. I’m not saying I’m a success because hey, I can’t cook boxed macaroni and cheese without burning the bottom of it. But I try to be a good person. I try not to be complete and total bitch. I try to make decisions that are just and right, even when my own emotional baggage is getting in the way. I don’t always succeed but I damn sure don’t want someone in my life dragging me down, tearing me down and telling me I suck just because they can.
Some people say that you should always take care of yourself because life isn’t a team sport. I disagree. Maybe there are some elements of life that are an individual event but I believe in the team. And I want people on my team that build everyone up around them.
If you have to make someone else trip so that you can succeed? I don’t want you on my team.
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