I don’t know exactly when, but at some point in the few years, I made a decision in my heart and mind that this minimalist lifestyle was something I wanted to follow and I knew there was going to be some major moments that would challenge me.
So many people have recently shared with me their desire to move towards a more simple life. They feel inspired by our family and our progress. I have followers and friends who have messaged me thanking me for sharing and being so candid because they now feel like they can start, in a small way, to declutter their life. One recent message I received on Instagram was from an old acquaintance…
– Dina, thank you, I have so wanted to prioritize people over things. I have struggled and feel like I can slowly work through this. Thanks for the inspiration.
All the blog posts, Instagram stories or pictures that I have shared recently are just tiny glimpses into my world. I try to share ideas that might get you going or help you work through your stuff.
When I got that message it hit me. I needed and wanted to share one of the more difficult and delicate things we need to declutter in our lives.
Prioritizing people over things…It felt like that was easy enough. Until I thought about the people piece. What people? I mean I knew my family was at the top of that list. I always want to spend more time with my tiny humans and my husband.
But PEOPLE…so many people.
A few months ago I wanted to take a realistic look at the relationships in my life. I have always been such a social person and people always tend to gravitate towards my circle. When I actually thought about all these relationships it dawned on me; some were a plus and some a minus but most lived someplace in the in-between. There they were, in some weird, ambivalent space, that was more about being fake or convenient and less about being present and true. I was an equal partner in the more part. When I reflected, I realized, I was either holding onto these relationships, relationships that were adding very little value to my life, or I was not giving enough to the relationships that deserved it. Yet I always complained to my husband about not having too many close friends….and argued that it was just who I was….
I had to stop and work on this one.
I found myself investing 30% of my true self across the spectrum of friendships I had. I had too many people to please. I had too many people to meet. I had too many people to call. I found myself trying to navigate through a bunch of friendships. Never knowing which were really solid and true.
It made me kind of sad when I really thought about it but I had to make a change. I had to declutter this part too. This was one of my most difficult challenges still to date. This was the one place I felt rocked my heart a little more than I expected. This was the challenge thus far that had also brought me the most joy on this journey. Clarity.
Letting go of people that I cared about but I knew I had outgrown. People who were toxic, people who were just too different, people whose values didn’t align with mine anymore, or ever. I needed to let go of the people I tirelessly invested my own time in, thinking something more was there when really there wasn’t. People whose morals and values somehow seemed to take a different path that was really different from mine. I needed to take more time for the people that wanted to be there. The people who right now…were making the effort to know ME. The people whose current values, morals, ambitions, drive…aligned with me.
So just like that, I did what I do best, I made a list.
Not a list of people to let go of, that would have been too overwhelming. Instead, I made a list of people I wanted to invest time in. To make the cut, these people needed to do the following for our friendship (I searched high and low for qualities of real friendships and found these) and I had to be able to reciprocate the same for them.
- be present, listen, challenge my thinking, have a positive influence on my self-esteem, make an effort, I could laugh with, cry with, dance with, made me want to be a better person, had my back, down to earth, supportive, understanding, trustworthy and forgiving.
I looked back on old friendships and new friendships. I took some time to meet with some friends I thought should make the list…and realized they shouldn’t. My goal. To invest 100% of my true self in these fewer but true relationships.
How? well, I decided that I would be more present, listen, have their back, support them….you get it.
In my busy life as a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a business owner, a home builder and the list goes on; I also wanted to be a really good friend. I know that it’s hard to find time but if it matters and adds value to my life then I knew I needed to make the effort. So I did. I do. Weekly I reach out. I even set it up as a reminder in my calendar (I know, lame, but it works!) to reflect for 1 hour a week on my friendships. This might sound crazy but I swear by it. I take the time to think about each one of these relationships and I either send them a message, plan an outing, write them a card, give them a call or set up a time to skype. Every week. I am present. I listen. I laugh or cry with them. I have their back and they have mine. I give 100% of my true self and it feels incredible how much more these friendships, our trust, and our love has grown.
So what about those who didn’t make the list. They are still there. Surprisingly, or maybe not, not much has changed in our roles. Some have disappeared. Some don’t bother to connect (now realizing I was holding on to them by a tethered string). Some people are still around and casually/socially we might cross paths and connect and catch up, which I love! I love to hear about how they are doing and what they are up to in that moment. I just needed to find a way to prioritize the people that were willing to give a lot more and take more because it added value to us both. Through this process, I found my close friends. Most of whom were always there, but I never really invested enough time in.
Will new people come into my life? Of course. However, I am more thoughtful about who I let into my inner circle and engage with. Maybe over time some of the amazing relationships I have right now will change too and new people will weave themselves into my life, but maybe not. Over time I will continue to revisit this list…reflect on who is still there and grateful to those who may have come and gone.
I can guarantee, when you think about the people you really want to invest more time in, your list may not be that long, but I can assure you it will be filled with love, truth, and a handful of close friends that care.
till the next post,