Have you ever thought about the relationships in your life like a revolving door? When you walk into a big department store or hotel with one of those doors, you can take a step forward, push on the door and walk in through to the other side. Or, you can choose to keep going around in circles like Buddy the Elf until you have to stop because you’re so dizzy. You can also start walking through, get to the other side, and then decide you don’t want to go in anymore. Then you’ll continue in your circle until you’re back to where you started.
Relationships in life are a lot like walking through a revolving door. We have the people who are constantly in our lives and we talk to on a regular basis. They walk through the door and welcome you with open arms. You know that with a drop of a hat you can call them for anything and they’ll be there for you, no questions asked. Although you don’t see them everyday, you just know they are there.
Then we have the other type of people - the kind who walk through the door, see what’s on the other side, and return to where they started so they are back to their reality. They are the kind of people who say they’ve seen you or talked to you when they haven’t. They are the people who see you from a distance and proceed to tell the world how you are because they saw you from afar. They make it all about themselves and use us for their personal gain. They never ask about your family, friends, or anything in your life. It somehow always turns back to them. Just like the revolving door in the store, their lives revolve around them.
We all have been exposed to these kinds of people in our lives. Recently I have been doing a lot of thinking about the people with whom I have chosen to surround myself with. If you haven’t figured it out it’s the people who walk into the store and immerse themselves into their surroundings. They are the supportive ones and the ones who are there for you. They lift you up instead of tearing you down. They accept your fears, your quirks, your humor, and the things that make you who you are. They get your jokes and thrive on them or help extend the joke. That’s probably one of the best qualities in my opinion.
Then we have the revolvers. Those are the ones that cut off communication entirely. I found this happened a lot with people when I was first diagnosed and it continues even now. Radio silence. They would see me in public and visibly duck or avoid eye contact. Yep, I’m that asshole who waves to them like “Yep, I know you saw me so I’m about to make this shit real awkward fast.” I could give a shit. I usually will start doing the robot dance move at them or pretend to be frozen like in a game of freeze tag. To those types of people: “Please don’t update others on how I’m doing just because you saw me from a distance but neglected to acknowledge me. If you want to know how I am, just ask”. Most of these people claim I stopped talking to them too. Well no shit. Eventually when you keep talking to a wall, it gets boring when it doesn’t respond so I’ve stopped. I’ve made the choice to break the chain that attaches me to them and move forward without them. It’s my way of saying “What you did sucks, and I refuse to be connected to it anymore.” Trim the weeds, but keep the flowers.
Who is part of your support network? Is it filled with your family? Friends? Strangers? Animals? I can say that mine is filled with family, friends who have become like family, my medical team who are stuck with me, my horses, my dog, and new friends who I have met along the way. If you don’t like what I have to say, take a number, get in line, and join all the other complainers. I’ll be with the other people who have decided to forgive assholes and move forward with our lives.
If I let how people, places, or things dictate how I felt about my life, I would not leave my house. Well, I am a homebody so maybe that is not the best example. I have no control over a lot of things in my life - especially when it comes to how I feel some days. I have no control over someone else’s opinion and how they look at me. They see me through their eyes. Just like the revolving door at a store, they can choose to enter my world and be part of the story or keep walking and not be in it at all. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the people who are like Buddy the Elf who keep going round and round in the door. They are put here to make us laugh and show us how to enjoy the things in life we think are dull.
Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, build you up, and challenge you. Get rid of the ones who bring you down, ignore you, or always complain. The most important people in your life are the ones who will be there with you through it all. It took me a while to realize this. It isn’t about the quantity of friends you have, it’s about the quality of friendships you have cultivated. We all walk in and out of each other’s lives for a reason.