Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If this is the definition of insanity, I booked a permanent ticket on the crazy train YEARS ago.
There’s also a quote that says, “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime” or something along those lines.
I am horribly guilty of running myself in the same circles with people. I repeat the same patterns with them over and over and ALWAYS wonder why the results are the same.
The worst part is, even when the results hurt or aren’t ideal, I’ve often kept hopping back into the circle or pattern of behavior because I’ve refused to believe that the people who came into my life weren’t all meant to be there for a lifetime.
See, I was raised on fairy tales, romantic comedies, love songs (think Delilah every night until I was 13. Truth: I know the lyrics to just about every Celine Dion song.) I was raised to see the good in every single person and to believe that love is all you need.
That paragraph alone should show you exactly how I’ve ended up running in the same, sometimes unhealthy, circles with people throughout my life without being able to let go when I should.
From questionable choices in romantic relationships to people who brought more drama into their lives than the Days of our Lives for no particular reason, I would hang on- sometimes for years. Often with the sacrifice of my own happiness because love is all you need right? People should stick around for a lifetime no?
What is also important to note about me is that underneath all my heartless jokes and sarcastic comments is someone who genuinely loves everyone in her life. I love people I let in more than they realize and for reasons they don’t even know.
Again, you can probably see where the problem comes in here for me.
Rather than live a life rich with inevitable misery should I continue to love every Joe and Jane who didn’t deserve it, I had to make a change somewhere along the line.
About 9 years ago I met someone who told me part of the problem with me was that I was always trying to “fix everyone” instead of just cutting out the people who didn’t bring me happiness. “Cut the Cancer” out of your life, he would say. And he would say this to me often.
I didn’t realize it then, but “Cutting the Cancer” would eventually grow to include this individual.
After hearing I needed to “cut the cancer” a few more times than I cared to (and I HATED the expression) I started to take an honest look at myself and some of my choices.
I realized that a lot of the choices I was making with the people I was spending time with were because I didn’t think very much of myself. Self-esteem was definitely an issue at play. If you don’t love and respect yourself, no one else is going to either. That’s just the way it is. Or, at least the right people won’t love and respect you.
I am a huge believer in self-affirmations and that’s something I started doing daily. And I’m not talking about looking in the mirror every morning and telling myself I was pretty. If I was scared or nervous to do something I would tell myself “You got this.” Or “You can do this.” I would tell myself I was smart and strong and all those components that seemed to be missing to lead me in the path of these never ending loops with people that weren’t good.
There is truth that if you start to tell yourself all the things you want to be eventually you will embody them. I believe in affirmations so much that I have one I tell my daughter every day.
That’s a story for another blog.
Change doesn’t happen overnight and it took me a few years to finally believe I was strong enough to walk away from people. But, eventually and slowly, I started doing that.
The individual who somehow sparked the thought that I would be better served with a better set of people surrounding me was in my life for both a season and a reason.
After I had my daughter, I learned really quickly who my friends are. My circle has changed and I have found so much support, comfort and happiness in those healthy relationships I maintain with people whom, I believe, are my lifers.
Now, if I’m not happy and situations aren’t working out in any aspect of my life, I make sure to take pause and evaluate why I feel they aren’t working. I try to work it out within myself then take on whatever feels like it isn’t working- whether it be a thing within my life or an individual.
If I still find myself running in my crazy circles I set a date.
I know it sounds so silly but it works for me.
If I have learned nothing about my organizational OCD, it’s that if it’s in my planner, it happens and is on schedule.
So, if you ever see an innocuous blue highlighted date in my planner, a change is coming.
I’ve learned that if I have to step away from someone or something, it doesn’t have to mean I stop loving it or them. It just means I have to love from a distance and remember that the most important thing is to remember to love myself as well.