I used to be the type of person that would drop everything for anyone. I mean ANYONE. I would bend over backwards for people who, to this day, likely wouldn’t even lend me a paperclip if I begged for one. Ride to the airport at 2am? I was your girl. Last minute help moving? Just text me your address. Not actually a kind enough person to have anyone in your bridal party plan you a shower or a bachelorette party? Emily to the rescue. I refer to these people as energy-sucking “friends”. They are no longer friends of mine.
I’ve released a lot of energy-sucking “friends” from my circle the past few years. I heard one of those “friends” names recently and my immediate reaction was to make a sour face and cringe through a montage of their shittiness in my mind. And then… I got really mad at myself. I haven’t interacted with this person in well over a year. So why do they get to weigh on my day and bring me any negative moments? They aren’t even doing anything wrong so I can’t even be mad at them for it. It’s entirely my fault for harboring these useless negative feelings. So, I made a little plan and I’m sharing it:
Step 1: Acknowledge I’m annoyed by this persons existence.
Step 2: Vent to myself, my journal, or a REAL friend about why I dislike this person (Every single story of wrongdoing. Get it alllllll out.)
Step 3: Let it fucking go.
Exhale that shit. You don’t need it. I promise. Let it go.
The next time you hear that name, shrug. Shrug, or smirk, or fart, and then continue on with your day. You seriously do not need to give them any further energy than that. Your peace is too important and I highly doubt you want them cursing your name every time they hear it so just… ya know… do unto others blah blah blah.
I tried this for the first time recently and it really did help me. I even came across a social media post involving this person just moments later and my innate reaction was to laugh it off and let it go.
I’m mean now. At least that’s what I’ve been hearing lately. “You’ve changed.” Mhm. I have. I don’t accept my old doormat position anymore. I have strong opinions, an independent heart, and a passion for myself. I don’t think I’m mean but some people have said I am. You know who is saying that tho? The exact same people who used to benefit from taking advantage of my kindness. As much as I know that’s true, I still have a hard time accepting that I’m not the sweet, innocent, darling Emily that people want me to be. It’s hard to like yourself more as a version that other people don’t always appreciate. But what I’m recognizing is that, as my circle gets smaller, it generates more warmth. I’m no longer liked by a hundred people but I’m better off because now I’m loved by ten.
You can’t help everyone. Believe me. I’ve tried. I actually used to have a really bad habit of ignoring my own problems by putting other people’s growth and wellness first. It’s something I’ve been able to mostly overcome in quarantine. The time alone with myself has taught me that, as wonderful as my friends and family are, I am going to have my own back more than anyone else. I live with me. I wake up with me. I go to sleep with me more than anyone else ever will. I think it’s important you start having your own back too.
A few weeks ago, I was speaking to a friend and she said something along the lines of “I feel bad saying it, but I can’t make time for that because I want to be selfish right now.” My immediate response was something along the lines of, “Don’t feel bad! You should be selfish right now. It’s good to be a little selfish all of the time.”
This whole convo got me thinking tho. We are raised to recognize the negativity behind the word “selfish”. We use it to describe people who are self-obsessed, have zero concerns for others, are takers, and don’t give a shit about other people. What if we changed that? What if we made “selfish” into something revolutionary? What if being selfish could make you better at being selfless? What if putting yourself first could mean you were operating at 100% when you were helping others?
Today, “selfish” is getting a makeover. It no longer means full of yourself. It can’t because it’s not “self-full”, it’s “self-ish.” ISH. Ish as in ehhhhh kinda. It’s in the damn word. I cannot imagine that I am the first person to think of this but I’m going to harp on it anyway.
There is a difference between you being self-ish and those energy-sucking “friends” being full on selfish. The good kind of self-ish allows you the faculties to be selfless.
“Secure your own mask first before helping others.”
I, for one, cannot help anyone when I’m curled up in a ball of depression. Be. Self. Ish.
And don’t feel bad about it.