Could social distancing actually mean social decluttering?
I guess I am always looking for the silver lining in this pandemic thing, but one realization has struck, for sure: there are some people I find I'm not missing at all! How bad is THAT? I guess I should feel a little guilty, but there is no better excuse than an enforced stay-at-home and stay-alone ruling to avoid those who don't necessarily enhance my life. You know the kind: the boring relative you feel you HAVE to spend time with (at least once in a while), the negative-Nellie friend who leaves you feeling drained and depleted, the nitpicking coworker who turns on the anger and defensive thinking, and the drama-infused neighbor or acquaintance who just feels "toxic." I've been feeling amazingly free of these obligations and it's really opening my eyes to the thought that clutter doesn't just come in the form of possessions. It comes in people who are, alas, extraneous to our goals and above all, just don't make us feel good about ourselves. I have always tried to keep my finger on the pulse of my emotions when spending time with a person. As a former "pleaser" and woman who felt she had to be accepting of EVERYONE, I now take great pains to really observe what's going on during my personal interactions. For example, does the person seem to be listening to me or drifting off somewhere else? (Maybe I'M boring!) Does the person build me up and make me feel better about myself--even and especially when I'm beating myself up about a behavior or mistake I've made? Is the person positive and upbeat with a consistently happy outlook? (Yeah!) Does the person seem to "get me" even when I don't? (Precious!) Do I feel energized after having spent time with this person or, as I once regularly experienced, feel "sick and sad?" I also recommend observing physical reactions. Are my fists clenched or is my stomach turning or lurching? Or, do I feel relaxed and receptive, much like sitting in the warmth of the sun? I once spent time with an egotistical person who hogged the conversation, barely heard a word I said and, basically, bored the stuffings out of me. Thus, it didn't surprise me when I felt the urge to "throw a temper tantrum" by stomping my feet loudly and clutching my head!
So... as the clouds of COVID begin to clear, we might ALL want to reassess our relationships. After all, we've symbolically cleaned out our emotional closets during lockdown, so isn't it super important that we exercise caution and judgement as to who we let back IN our lives? I'd love to know if anyone else has felt this way and would like to share... Thanks for "listening!"