You don’t have to be friends with everyone!
There, I said it. #micdrop
I know I’m starting off saying something that might not be the most polite thing to say. But it’s true.
We have different relationships with different people and that’s okay.
This is the time of year when new year’s resolutions are getting old. Good intentions start to fail and when motivation is running dry. Am I right?
Well, instead of looking at what habit you want to change or adapt for the new year I want to turn resolutions upside down.
Let’s first look at what motivates you to change, rather than the habit you want to change.
At the core of our motivations as humans are connections and relationships.
If we bring balance and health to our connections and relationships we satisfy our innermost desire and build a healthy foundation for our year. And for life.
If you think about it much of what we try to achieve or avoid goes back to relationships. Our relationship with God and others.
From the bible, we know that God created us in his image and all good things come from Him (Genesis 1:27; James 1:17). Therefore, what God put inside you, that motivates, is good and has the ability to change your life.
In the Garden of Eden, God identified this need for relationship when He said: it is not good that man should be alone (Genesis 2:18) and Eve was created.
Aware of this core need for humankind the devil planned his first attack.
In the garden when the Devil tempted Eve and Adam followed suit, the first thing to occur was shame and separation between Adam and Eve.
Genesis 3:7 states that “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”
Further guilt and isolation occurred when they hid from the Lord.
And finally, judgement and alienation were the results when Adam and Eve were removed from the garden.
There are two ways to look at motivation.
What we are motivated to pursue and what motivates us to avoid.
We both seek out relationships and connection with others and avoid shame and isolation which is the void of connection.
“Shame is the deepest of the “negative emotions,” a feeling we will do almost anything to avoid.”
― Gabor Maté author of When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress and word renown researcher.
So what do relationships have to do with new year’s resolutions?
As helpers, I think I’m preaching to the converted when I say this: it’s incredibly valuable to be a support for those going through difficult times. To be a listening ear and give honest and loving feedback.
I mean, that is what we do as supporters and helpers.
Many of you have given your life in service to others in ministry, nursing, counselling and missions.
However, when we give until we are burnout crispy fried then we are of no help to anyone. Including ourselves.
When you give until you are exhausted and cannot handle hearing one more story, you are likely experiencing compassion fatigue.
To assess your levels of compassion fatigue click HERE.
When you are experiencing compassion fatigue your empathy for others is depleted.
You come home and don’t want to see anyone or hear of any more problems.
Shame and guilt build as you go through the motions of supporting others, but feel numb to their experience.
One of the protective factors for compassion fatigue is to resist that urge to isolate and connect with those who uplift you.
Having diverse relationships and connections in our day builds resilience.
If you solve problems all day, from morning to night, you are doing exactly what Moses was doing before his father-in-law told him to stop.
In Exodus 18, Moses was working all day sitting as judge over the people. This was a really honourable and needed service. But when his father-in-law Jethro saw what he was doing he said: “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”
The hard part is when we are “peopled-out” the thought of seeing another person in our day seems overwhelming.
But I gotta ask… Why is it that we hold the value of supportive relationships for others so high that we dedicate our lives to fulfill that role; yet, when it comes to our own lives it becomes the lowest priority?
I don’t think you should feel bad about not wanting to spend time with someone who *ahem* sucks the life out of you.
I think it’s important however to identify relationships that draw you down and pull you back.
Just as an FYI I will not be recommending that you cut off or stay away from these people. These are children of God and I believe that God placed them in our lives for a purpose.
But it is good and healthy to recognize those relationships for what they are.
What relationships fill you up and which suck you dry?
Look at your schedule and make sure that you don’t fill a full day or week up with meeting with people who suck you dry.
Intentionally pepper in times with people who will fill you up.
You will begin to notice that the need for connection and relationship is being met.
This relieves stress, build resilience and provides hope from compassion fatigue. You will have a strong foundation to meet your goals for the new year.