As we’re still slowly sauntering into a new year, I thought I could decide between two ways of approaching that: 1) Gently, tenderly, fill your hearts with a little bit of sugar-coated goodness that tries to convince you that all things are always great, or B) Be my usual bluntly-honestly-Autistically-open self and give it to you like it should be given to you, truthfully and right up front.
It should come as no surprise, I’m option for option B, or two, or whatever it is.
Truth is, new beginnings are the best time to be the most honest, as if we don’t begin on the true right foot, where will we end up, after all? No journey ever began with the person asking which direction they were turning once leaving their door, and then being lied to. Imagine what would have happened if Frodo wouldn’t have been told the right way to turn once leaving Rivendell. Too nerdy? Sorry. Deal with it.
First truth bomb of the year that will be 2023…ready?
The vast majority of people in your life will not truly root for your happiness, instead, they will base their happiness on how it compares to the joy you’ve found.
Oof. Sorry if that pill was a tough one to swallow this early into the year, when your throat is still dry from sleeping and the water by your bed is stale and probably has things floating in it. Nevertheless, I hope you understand, as you always have, that when I say this, I don’t say it from a strictly negative point of view. Nay, I say it from the same place that the first Noble Truth of Buddhism is said when we say that Life is Suffering, a place of understanding, a diving board of truth from which we can dive and begin swimming again.
I say the truth, bolded as headline above, not as a cynical rant, but more as a reminder, and a push for action. Our job, is to find and treasure those who do truly lift us, who fill us up, rather than sucking it all away. I’ve long had this theory on life, I lovingly refer to as the Vacuum/Fan theory. Goes like this basically, in its simplest incarnation:
Everyone in your life, to you specifically, is either a Vacuum, or a Fan.
Yes, this is a gross oversimplification, and yes, people can go from one to the other, but strictly speaking, every single body in your life, right this very now, falls into one category or the other. No exceptions.
Vacuums swoop in, and they suck all of the energy, positivity, grace, giving, kindness, and empathy you have to offer, only to fill themselves up. They need this from you, and once they get the feeling of fullness, it’s an addiction they cannot turn from. They will take and take and take and leave you dustless and exhausted each time you wander from them. They do this often not out of malice, but out of habit, often not out of any awareness at all. You know these people by the way you feel when you leave their presence, you know it by the effort it takes, the draining that accompanies, the recovery required to bounce back.
Fans, on the other hand, take all of the heat, exhaustion, stifling metaphorical humidity, and negativity, and turn it into a cool breeze that helps you survive another day. They blow back onto you all the good, while ushering out into the window behind them, all the bad. They give to you because they want to give to you, they give to you because it comes natural to them, and they give to you often, like their vacuum counterparts, without even realizing they are.
Funny thing is, vacuums cannot rely on other vacuums to fill up, but fans can direct their gentle breeze onto other fans and both will benefit. Fans even aim at vacuums, though this burns their motor out so much swifter than anything else. Trick is finding the fans, and recognizing the vacuums enough to understand when what they need is vital, and when it’s just to fill them up to a point of bursting for no other reason than they can’t stop sucking.
As we venture into 2023, I propose we do better about listening to ourselves, our bodies, our hearts, and whilst not directly labeling every person we meet as a vacuum or a fan, keeping a soft mental list internally that alerts us as to who is who. Recognize these forces, and allow yourself to gravitate away from those that leave you drained, and towards those that leave you revitalized. Bigger than that, the chief takeaway for not only these first virgin months of a new year, but for life in general is also simple:
Be a Fan, not a vacuum, to every single person in your life.
Do this, and you’ll find more fans around you, you’ll find the air you’re blowing out is the same as that you’re being bathed in, and that your precious little motor won’t have to work quite as hard to keep the whole world cool. Be a fan, friends, and be wary of all that sucks away at your soul.
You can be the fan
or you can be the vacuum,
always be the breeze.