Stop picking up sh*t
Don’t pick it up,” I said. A dear client was sharing a story about an interaction that had left her feeling slimed. She wasn’t sure how the whole thing went sideways and was hoping I could shine light on 1) where the communication broke down and 2) how she might have handled it differently.
“You shouldn’t have done anything differently,” I said once she finished. “You were trying to connect and find understanding and they dropped a load of shit at your feet.”
I took a sip of water for dramatic pause. “Your issue”, I continued, “is you think it’s your job to pick up the shit. It’s not.”
“Don’t”, I repeated, “pick...it...up.”
Truth is, many of us are amazing shit-picker-uppers. It doesn’t matter who the shit belongs to, if someone drops a steaming pile of it in front of us, we always pick it up. Always.
(I know there are people out there who would scream, “Hey you! This isn’t mine. Clean up your own shit!” That, however, has never been me.)
So why do we pick up the shit?
Because we don’t want conflict. Because we feel responsibility must be taken and if someone else won’t, we might as well. Because shit stinks and we want it cleaned up so everyone can be happy and comfortable. Because we’re really, really good at it.
Picking up the shit also makes us feel good about ourselves, for a moment at least. It reminds us that we’re problem-solvers who deftly put out fires and handle tough stuff.
Yes, we can handle tough and there’s a difference between being able to handle challenges and weighing ourselves down with shit that’s simply not ours.
Because the truth is it’s difficult to live the present, peaceful and powerful lives we say we want when we’re always busy being knee deep in other people’s shit.
So how do we quit this less-than-helpful habit?
It starts with a simple question: “Is this mine?”
Asking “Is this mine?” stops our knee-jerk reaction to mindlessly pick up the shit and gives us breathing room to choose how we’d prefer to handle it.
The beauty of that pause is when we give ourselves permission to leave alone what’s not ours, we have more space to focus on ourselves, our needs, our desires, our growth and YES, our own shit.
So the next time your answer to “Is this mine?” is “NOPE”, don’t pick it up. Just leave it there. Maybe no one will clean it up and that’s fine.
Remember, just because there’s a mess doesn’t mean you have to be the one to make it disappear.
Lots of love,
P.S. If you’re a recovering conflict avoider who’s still picking up whatever’s being plopped down, let’s talk. I have 2 clarity sessions open for the month of April and I’d love to help you quit getting sucked into other people’s shit to feel free and refocused on YOU. Sounds amazing, right? Simply email meand we’ll get you on the calendar.
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