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I love being an aunt. I’ve never wanted children of my own, but being an aunt is one of my most favorite roles.
I get to enjoy their celebrations and accomplishments and provide a safe space for them when they struggle, and I don’t have to be a part of the at-home meltdowns.
My nieces and nephews (all 15 of them!) often talk to me about things they don’t feel comfortable sharing with their parents, while also knowing that if it’s something I believe their parents should know, I’m going to tell them — an important component in them trusting me. No bait and switch here.
It’s a special relationship, one very different from parent and child. I’m automatically on the “cool” list simply because I’m not mom or dad.
Being the youngest of seven children, my nieces and nephews are almost all grown — some with families of their own.
As they get older and grow into their independent lives, we talk less often, but because my relationship with them is important to me, I put forth an effort to stay connected.
For example, we have a text thread between just me and them where I’ll occasionally send them a QOTD (question of the day). Things like:
- If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
- Would you rather have telekineses or telepathy?
- What would you try if you knew you could never fail?
It’s fun to read their answers and see the conversations that result between them.
These relationships are worth the effort. They are the opposite of relationship clutter.
And I know relationship clutter, believe me! I’ve had plenty of people in my life who were draining and occasionally toxic. Looking back, I wonder why I tolerated them as long as I did.
But then I remember, I didn’t know any better. I had some work to do to believe I was worthy of more and that I deserved to surround myself with people who inspire me and raise me up.
I have some pretty awesome BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals) I’m going after and I don’t want energy vampires getting in my way.
I’ve seen in my life and my clients’ lives that relationship clutter can:
- prevent you from deepening friendships that matter,
- keep your needs low on your priority list,
- block you from meeting a new love or life partner,
- validate blocking beliefs that are sabotaging your success,
- and so much more.
So this week, I challenge you to take a few minutes and think about the people in your life.
What relationships are great?
Which ones need some TLC?
Which ones have run their course?
Playing with these categories is a great way to start identifying who is worthy of your time and attention and who is a vacuum sucking up all your energy.
Life’s too short to spend time with vampires.
Unless you’re into that sort of thing.