We tell people what is important to us by the way we deal with our time.We each only have twenty four hours in a day. No matter who you are or what you do, no one gets any more time. You can’t buy it, save it for later or get more. You can either waste it, spend it, or invest it. All of us have the same choices in terms of time. The choices we have made in our lives greatly impact what takes up our time, how we spend it, and who gets this most valuable resource.
Michelle Obama is right. Trust your instincts and seek out relationships that make you feel good about yourself. Avoid the ones that weigh you down and are painful. It’s just common sense, yet we all know that common sense is not always common practice. Choosing our relationships wisely can be harder than it sounds. Sometimes our circumstances thrust unhealthy people upon us – family, colleagues, neighbors, people in the community, maybe even ourselves. These people may love us yet their behaviors weigh us down and prevent us from being our best self. Love and relationships are not about being manipulated our obligated, they are about bringing out our best to help others be their best. If that isn’t happening then this relationship should get less of your time.
Gulp! That’s a tough one to practice. Absolutely! Notice I used the word practice. This isn’t about ultimatums or trying to getpeople to behave, this is about having enough respect for yourself and your time to limit or minimize the time spent with people who make you feel less wanted and loved. Maybe you can’t totally avoid them, so limit the time you see them. Maybe you have to see them, so spend time with them in public where they may be less likely to “act up.” Remember that their behavior is their choice, don’t take it on as your crusade to correct that is never a healthy goal in any relationship. You can only control what you do and how much time they get, so limit their time if their interactions with you weigh you down.
I didn’t figure this out until I was well into my thirties. I wasted a lot of time having the politically correct interactions and relationships without understanding how it really impacted my own self esteem. Eventually I started making different choices in how I spent my time, with who I spent my time, and over time I began to feel better about myself. I realized my time was precious so why waste it on people and things that did not make me a better version of me. If my cup was empty after having dealt with people who weighed me down how could I turn around and serve people from an empty cup?
Once I began to trust my instincts my relationships changed, my thought process changed, and how I viewed my time became protected. You know who in your life came to mind as you read this, so how do you want to adjust how you spent time with them? Only you can control your actions, so choose wisely. The people you spend time with today will have an impact on who you are able to become to serve others in the future.