Spring Cleaning For the Soul: Determining the Value of Relationships

A little over a month ago, I wrote a blog post Spring Cleaning for the Soul: Figure That Shift Out. Inspired by Elisabeth, I set two goals for the spring: let go of my fear of judgment and let go of toxic relationships. Six weeks later, I still struggle with the two, but I have made progress.

Elisabeth suggested I listen to “Should I invest in this relationship?” from Chris McAlister’s podcast, Sight Shift. She suggested this about a month ago… but I caught myself last night complaining to one of my best friends about not knowing how to cut off toxic relationships. Um, Mary — listen to the damn podcast.

It didn’t solve my problem, but it gave me some good insight for choosing which relationships are most valuable to me. Almost everything in life is infinite, except for time. You can always earn back more money, but you can never get back more time. Time spent on people who don’t serve you or challenge you is wasteful of your time and life.

I already don’t have much of a social life, but I’ve really been cleaning out my social media feeds by unfollowing people. I don’t mean this in a way that’s insulting or rude, but I’ve been rethinking how I use social media. I may not be able to frequently text or FaceTime some of my best friends from back home who now live all around the country, all social platforms allow me to stay updated with their lives. Given that they post regularly, Facebook provides academic and professional updates, Twitter provides political engagement or lack thereof, and Instagram and Snapchat provide more personal information through photos. I may not be able to talk to people regularly, but I don’t have to — social networks let me see my friends, no matter where they are in the world or in their lives.

Even with algorithms, feeds are often overwhelming. Especially when people post ALL DAY EVERY DAY, it actually gets stressful trying to stay caught up. It’s still possible to maintain relationships with people without following each other on social media. What did you do before social media? Do you follow all of your coworkers and classmates? No, and it likely doesn’t change how you feel about them. You choose how you spend your day, and that involves how you participate on social media.

Check out the transcript of his podcast if you don’t want to listen, but really use the prompts as reflections for yourself as well as how you prioritize your relationships. Strive to be your best self always, and remember that it’s not your responsibility to help others improve themselves. You can support and empower people without spoon-feeding them, letting them drag you down in the process.

(these are all reminders to myself, btw :P)

++ Mary K

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