Monday 16 January 2012

"Know When to Hold 'Em. Know When To Fold 'Em"

"You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run." ~ The Gambler by Kenny Rogers

Excellent advice, Mr. Rogers. No, not that Mr. Rogers, although he was full of great advice, too.  But that's probably another blog post. Kenny sang about the life of a gambler and how important it is to know when to cut your losses. A good analogy for life, too.

Friends. Some of us have lots and some of us have just a few. Friends play an important role in our lives. When I was younger I was friends with almost everybody I met. I believed the best in people and used the term friend pretty freely. As I began the journey through the early years of adulthood and experienced my first bout of depression I learnt a few hard lessons. I learnt that not everybody has the best of intentions and not everybody is really a friend.

Some friends distanced themselves from me as I fell deeper into the darkness. Some friendships didn't survive and the odd one I simply let go of. I either didn't have the strength to keep up the facade or the friends themselves decided that they weren't up to it. It hurt - that's the truth. As I began to recover from my first major depressive episode I ended my friendship with my best friend of many years. It was a very difficult thing to do but I had to for my own health and well being. She had stopped being a positive element in my life and I just couldn't live with that anymore.

But some people were really there for me in ways that I didn't imagine I would ever need. Some of these people were friends and family and some were people whom I would least expect it of. My boss at the time was an amazing woman. She was my first manager in my chosen career of human resources and had been a mentor to me. She nurtured my spirit and soul and encouraged me to be the best "me" that I could be. She has since drifted out of my life but I believe that she came into it a time when I needed her and what she was able to give.

During my most recent depressive episode I was embraced by a number of key people in my life, people who really came through for me. My best friend, Tammy, was amazing. I have mentioned her before but it's worth doing so again. She seemed to know intuitively what I needed - quite simply she accepted me and my illness for what we were. And she didn't try to rush me through recovery. My mom's best friend, Gail, (my "Mommy #2"!) put her life on hold in Kelowna so that she could stay with me for a week. I didn't ask. She didn't ask. She just did. We cried together, talked together, and laughed together that week. Although a truly awful time in my life, it will always be a treasured memory, too. My dear friend, Jen, sent me random emails with sweet words of encouragement to remind me that I was missed at work and just to let me know that she was always there for me. And yes, some people disappointed me. Again. Some didn't know what to say so they chose not to say anything. That hurt, too.

A couple of decades later since my first introduction to depression and I still choose to look for the best in people - nothing that life throws my way can take that from me. But I am also more realistic about what a friend truly is and what I expect of them. At this point in my life I am very conscious of how I spend my time and with whom. The quality of my life is far too valuable to me to spend it with people who don't lift my spirits.

Think about the people who you surround yourself with. There are those who make you smile just thinking about them. Then there are probably a few who you feel have stolen your energy after spending time with them. Maybe it's time to cull those friendships. Maybe now is the time to cultivate friendships with those who leave you uplifted.

In the words of Kenny Rogers, "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run."

KB xo

From The Rules of Life, second edition by Richard Templar:

Let's have a look at the people who you hang out with. Which ones can you honestly say make you:
* Feel enthusiastic about seeing them?
* Rise to every challenge?
* Make you laugh and smile and feel great about yourself?
* Support you, nurture you, and encourage you?
* Stimulate you with new ideas, new concepts, and new directions?

And which ones make you:
* Feel angry, dejected, or criticised
* Squash your ideas and pour cold water on your plans?
* Don't take you seriously?
* Don't make you feel as if you can achieve anything?

Hang out with the first group. Cull the second group - unless they are having a bad day or going through a rough patch. Move on. Get it done.

1 comment:

  1. For some it's the family relationships or a particular family relationship that can be destructive and needs to be left behind. Sad but true ...and for some, very freeing. Xo L


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