If I were to try and count the number of times I’ve been drawn into conversations that I didn’t want to be in or where I’d kept running my mouth when I didn’t need to or even those times when I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know how to navigate the situation it would be well into the thousands.
Not only being drawn into hurtful and unhelpful conversations but also other people’s issues, drama, and perspective on life can be draining. I know for me whenever I leave these kinds of situations I end up feeling heavy and lethargic.
The truth though is that we don’t need to be pulled in. We aren’t responsible for the other person, which means what they say, do, feel, don’t say or do isn’t for us to take on. All we are responsible for is what we say, do, don’t say or do.
So if I’m in a place surrounded by people where there is gossip, judgement and a lot of words that show the distrust of the world and a feeling of lack I remember I can either get drawn in or take responsibility for myself and choose not to.
I read about using a rope as a visual tool and I think it applies well in this context. What if I were to hold one end of a rope and dangle the other end in front of you and you picked it up? If you pick it up then there would be tension. If I yank hard you stumble. If you yank hard I fall. But if I dangle the rope in front of you and you don’t grab the other end, well, you aren’t engaging – you can’t be affected by my tugs and my yanks because you’re not attached.
If we can become aware of when we begin to feel drawn in to other people’s issues or responsibilities or when we start to get bombarded by others negative talk about this and that then we can either cut the rope or not pick it up to begin with. We simply observe the situation and choose not to engage. What this does is help us take responsibility for ourselves so that we’re engaging in a way that’s kind, honest, and helpful.
What if I gave you permission to care and support and love without grabbing the other end of the rope? What if I told you that not engaging doesn’t mean you don’t care or love or support?
Think about what your workday would look like if you didn’t grab the end of the rope? How you’d feel with certain friends and family?
What if you let go of what you didn’t have to hold on to?by