I vowed to skip New Year's resolutions this year and planned to carry on with my good intentions of 2012: write and exercise more, eat right, spend more time with friends, blah, blah, blah. As it turns out, resolutions not to make resolutions fall by the wayside as fast as the real thing.
A post from Kristin Espinasse, whose French Word a Day blog is one of my favorites, made me sit up and pay attention.
Even if you break out in a cold sweat when you recall high school French class, read Espinasse's post, s'il vous plait.
Her description of herself as she struggles to recall her neighbor's dental woes could be me and, I'm pretty sure, you.
We're swimming in work and household chores, and it's hard to eke out time for those closest to us, yet one or two of our entitled acquaintances won't think twice before demanding our help with something they could do themselves. If they're not after help, they want attention. Or an audience. Or a yes-person.
Here's Espinasse: "I thought about some of the squeaky wheels, or, as Mom calls them "toxic relationships" that have derailed my focus. Whether pushy or manipulating or narcissistic—they are caustic! These are individuals who make me feel I should do this or I should do that (most often for them!). They say, in so many veiled words, "you owe me!"
As our energy flows to the squeaky wheels, we overlook the quiet non-complainers, like Espinasse's neighbor with the toothache. We ignore those who soldier on and wouldn't think of asking for a little encouragement, a shoulder to lean on for a few minutes, or someone to listen for half an hour, tops.
Espinasse plan for 2013 is to muffle the demands from toxic individuals by picking out seven people who truly need her time and attention. Here she is again: "It is time to reclaim needed energy and to get attention back on track and focused on toothless angels. I have chosen 7 people to pay more attention to in the coming year. Far from 'squeaky wheels' you wouldn't even know it if they cried themselves to sleep last night, and sadly, they may have."
I, too, will distance myself from toxic (to me) people this year and focus on those who really need me. I've picked out my seven. How about you?