For everything in our life that is worth holding onto, there are things we must choose to let go of. I feel like this is the essence of ‘growing up’ and maturing. What once used to send me spiraling in my 20’s, I am now forced to shrug off in my 30’s.
In the end, it all comes down to time and priorities.
I don’t have time to pander to someone else’s drama or political game. I don’t have time to hold someone’s hand beyond an appropriate amount of time for things I learned to do independently a long time ago. I don’t have time to play the guessing game, second guess myself, or dwell on someone’s true thoughts or intentions towards me. Did I have a dirty look on my face when you walked by because I was focusing intently on some task I was working on? Yes, yes I did. Did I not triple-double check with you on something that has very little impact on anything related to you, but you just want to feel involved? Sorry, not sorry. Did I offer up a glowing, flowery apology for something that offended you, but in reality I didn’t do anything wrong? Get over it.
It’s not a lack of heart as those who have been enabled and pandered to their whole lives may claim. It’s a sign of healthy boundaries and shifted priorities. I have a job to get done and I am trying to do it well, so I can’t play your game. You’re being a bully and I will not be budged. I have very little time to devote to people I deeply care about, so if you’re going to be a manipulator or emotionally exhausting – you’re gone. It is essential that I take time to renew and recharge myself (so I don’t become the world’s most heartless, overwhelmed bitch to my husband and son), which means that I can’t say yes to every single request thrown at me and I can’t apologize every two seconds.
In my 20’s I would bend over backwards to please people. It is my nature! I love to make others happy and, honestly, I still do. It is unbelievably difficult for me to tell someone no or to let someone down just because of a lack of time or my shifting priorities. My ungodly-high levels of empathy will certainly be the death of me someday. In those moments, I grit my teeth and think of all the massive amounts of things on my plate and choose to give only what I am actually capable of giving. If someone decides they don’t like me because I am not an overflowing vessel of sunshine and rainbows, so be it. If someone was used to me being their “yes” girl and going to great lengths to help make their lives easier, they’re in for a hard truth now. I just can’t anymore.
The only thing that has actually changed is that those who sought to use me, exploit me, or manipulate me no longer have any foothold on my life. Those haters no longer concern me like they once did. I just don’t have time for it anymore. I am baffled by how many people spend so much time and energy trying to make other’s lives miserable to make their own feel or seem better. These people have not hesitated to throw me under the bus, smear me with slander, and manipulate circumstances at my expense. How very sad their lives must be that this is what they spend their time and energy on.
Do you know how I spend my time and what I give my energy to? Do you know what I am still able to do with focused priorities and healthy boundaries? I can still love the least of these. I can still be a great wife, a loving mother, and an extraordinary friend. I can accomplish my goals, serve and love my family, give generously, and love deeply. I can still do all that I can to be the hands and feet of Christ to a hurting world and to give to those who are in need. Love alone is worth the fight.