People are weird. Relationships are difficult, and complex.
Every day, we have hundreds of interactions and thousands of thoughts with a variety of different people. Some, we know, like and trust. Others, we have an opinion on derived from what little information, context and life experiences we have.
I like to think that for most of us, we’re optimistic. That most of the people I choose to surround myself with are like-minded and compassionate. That we give our fellow members of society the benefit of the doubt.
I try to ensure that everyone in my life starts out at a “10”, as in a sliding scale of 1-10.
10 being someone that I respect, whose opinion I value and would have a beer or workout with. A 1 being someone I don’t particularly care to see on a regular basis. I try not to have any ill-will towards anyone, but, as a human being, there are other human beings that I don’t choose to be around if given the choice.
Not many, but some.
Anyways. Everyone starts at a 10, right?
Actions. Decisions. Words. Body language. Lifestyle choices. Social cues. How one person treats other people, particularly people that I care about. Interactions through social media and text. All of these things tend to move people in our lives along that sliding scale, right? Whether it’s your best friend. Your spouse. Your parent or someone that you see everyday at Starbucks, but have never had a conversation with. They can spell your name wrong, or give you sass about your heavy whipping cream and whether you acknowledge it or not, they probably slide down a point or two.
That’s not to say that you or I are judging those people. We’re just using our interactions with them as a framework for where they fall on our personal scale, and therefore how much effort we put into pursuing and investing in that relationship. For example, I spend a lot more time putting thought, time and energy into my relationship with my fiance than I do the barista at Starbucks who regularly spells my name wrong. Because based on my life and what I value, it is worth more to me to invest time and energy into my future wife than someone I don’t really know.
Sometimes people move from a 10, down to an 8. Or a 7 based on their actions and my experiences with them. I’m sure that I’ve gone from a 10 to a 1 for certain other people, and that responsibility falls on me and mistakes I’ve made. If I’m lucky, they tell me what I did wrong from their perspective and give me an opportunity to learn and grow from my actions. Not always, but I’m grateful for the hard conversations that I’ve had in the past which have led to personal development. I look forward to the ones I’ll have in the future, no matter how uncomfortable they are in the moment.
It’s likely that we all have had those experiences in our lives, and can identify a handful of people on both ends of the spectrum.
It stands to reason that we use this same thought process when assessing most aspects of our lives. A value proposition, if you will.
I could be wrong, but I think spending a little bit of time being introspective and asking ourselves “Who” and “What” are 10’s on my list, and “who/what” is hovering on the lower end of that spectrum? Therefore getting less of my attention and effort.
You may realize there’s a person or relationship in your life that you cherish, but could use some TLC. I realize that I do, while writing this.
You may realize that you’re expending energy, emotion and time on someone whom you’re better off politely distancing yourself from.
You may realize there are aspects of your life that you want to value, appreciate and pour time into but you’ve put on the back burner for some time.
Maybe it’s time to put some intention towards a relationship. A passion project. An aspect of your life that you’ve been neglecting. Maybe COVID-19 has made you realize that you value your health and has been a wake up call that you could be more intentional towards maintaining and improving it.
Maybe you have an opportunity for self-development.
I know that I do.
Spend some quiet time thinking about it. I’ll do so with a cup of coffee.
Send that text to someone that means a lot to you and ask how they’re doing. Call your parents. Be intentional with your choices today.
Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Memento Mori.
Thanks for indulging me.