There’s a point in my book Life Happen: Bounce Back! where I talk about the importance of spring cleaning.
When I used to think of spring cleaning, I would think of it as going through my closet. Start with my clothes, my shoes and decide…am I keeping this? Am I tired of wearing these? Will I really wear them again? Does this outfit still work for me? If the answers are no, then I donate them to a charity.
Today, I’m talking about spring cleaning in a different way – use it as a time to stop, reflect and assess the relationships in your life in way similar to how you would assess clothes in your closets.
It’s time to look inside myself and ask some pretty tough questions about who I am and how I fit into my relationships.
First I stop and look at my relationship with myself.
I am not doing well in one particular area – self-care. I have slacked off and have not been going to the gym as much as I should. So, I know right off the bat that for me, I am making a plan to get myself back to the gym and in a place of healthy living.
Then I reflect on my relationships.
How are these relationships working for me? I look inside always and ask myself – what can I do better? Where must I improve? There is always room for improvement in one relationship or another.
For example, I’ll use my relationship with my youngest son Ari. He’s 12 years old and entering adolescence. I have no idea of what it’s like to be a 12-year-old boy in the world today. It seems so much harder today to grow up then when I was a teen. Social media has added an enormous amount of peer pressure.
I ask myself what he needs from me, today, to help him to continue to grow to be an amazing young man. Does he need more one-on-one time? Am I patient enough with him?
I always make it point to ask my children – how it is going? How can I support you? What do you need from me? We never know what anyone needs until we ask. My children are the most important people in my life. It’s my job to support them and ensure they know they can always count on their mom.
Then I asses outside myself; I literally look at the people who I surround myself with on a daily basis and ask myself questions such as: do I enjoy my time with this person? Is this an authentic relationship?
Let’s face it, all relationships change over time. Some friends are closer to you today than maybe they were last year. That’s totally normal. It’s also normal for the opposite to be true. And some relationships are just no longer healthy for anybody.
So spring clean your relationships. Ask yourself: does this relationship work for me? If no, then what do you do? Do you sit down and talk with the person and say this has been a great friendship but it no longer fits me and my needs anymore? Do you need to break-up with your friend?
One time, I had a friend tell me something very wise: You do not have to break up with your friend; just do not make that person so important in your life.
So that’s it – no break up….just a change in place in your life.
I agree to a point. If the relationship is toxic and damaging, then I do think you need to clean that friendship out of your life.
But only you can decide what is the nature of your relationship. No one can decide for you. The thing is — I do think we all need to think about the reasons why we hang on to the friends that no longer fit. I believe the expressions about how some friends come into our life for a reason is 100% accurate. But that doesn’t mean they have to stay in our lives forever.
So what do you do?
Do you stay in relationships just because you have a history with that particular friend?
Where do you put your time and energy?
Take time to reflect and asses about your life – your relationships – and ask yourself: is it worth my time?
Next month I’m turning 50, so this spring cleaning is really making me think about my life. Where I am today? And where do I want to be this time next year?
I guess I’ll start my spring cleaning exercise. How about you?