The Power (or not) of Relationships
Most educators understand the importance of relationships. Relationships are the foundation that we need to build on in our classrooms and schools. I am much more receptive to critical feedback or even simply just learning something new if it comes from someone who I know genuinely cares about me, and it’s no different for students. I love this quote by George Couros:
What I’ve been thinking about more and more these days though, is the type of relationships that I am cultivating, and how some of those relationships maybe aren’t so healthy. If I wouldn’t want these kinds of relationships for my students, why am I allowing them in my own life? As I seem to get busier day by day, I am increasingly careful and intentional with the relationships that I feed. Just because you have a relationship with someone, it doesn’t mean it’s a good one. I’ve learned that the hard way, as many people have. One of my biggest strengths is that I am kind, I love to help people, and always want to do what I can to try and make things better for them… but sometimes that costs me, a lot. I’ve felt many times before like people have taken advantage of me, but I allow it, because sometimes I’m naive, and sometimes I just really want to help someone, even if I know it’s not reciprocated. I’ve been working on this.
As I continue to learn and grow, and as the years pass by, I’m more mindful of where my energy goes and who I spend my time on and with. I am not inconsiderate, but when something comes up, whether it be someone asking for something, or even a simple request to hang out, I consider if the time I’d invest would add to my life in a positive way, or if it would just take away and deplete me. I used to do things simply because I didn’t want to be hurtful, but in the end, I was the one getting hurt. That’s not good, either. Sometimes our own needs need to come before those of others, and if that ends up hurting the other person in the process, that’s on them.
This all makes sense in my head, but often, my heart makes it difficult to follow through. Since I’m a giver in nature, saying no is hard, but since I’ve started respecting my own boundaries, I’ve been able to give more of myself to the relationships that I value, including the one with myself. This is what I remind myself of when my heart tries to convince me to say yes to everything and everyone.
Toxic people, whether it be on social media or in real life, don’t belong in my life. I have a hard enough time keeping up with those who I want and need in my life, so I certainly don’t have space for people who only take, hate, or drain me. I realize that cutting ties isn’t as easy as unfollowing or blocking, especially when it comes to friends and family and “in real life” situations, nor do I believe that cutting ties is always the best option, but what I do know is that respecting our boundaries is important, and if someone can’t understand that, maybe a bit of distance would do you some good.