By Sarah Valdes • November 30, 2020•Ms. JD, Writers in Residence
One of the pins that inevitably pops on Pinterest is “You will be too much for some people; those aren’t your people.” As I reflected on what to write about for this month’s post, I thought about how generally draining the past few weeks have been. It seems like just when you don’t think 2020 can bring any more surprises, the hits just keep coming. And the small escapes of an hour-long stroll through the Target dollar section come at the price of ensuring your safety and the safety of others. I originally set out to write this blog to encourage all the awesome lady lawyers out there to tap into the communities they belong to. I wanted to encourage connection, but I had no idea that within a quarter of the year, I would have incorporated the words “social distancing” into my everyday vocabulary. Like I mentioned in my post “Connection in the Time of Corona”, I knew that I had to be much more intentional about seeking connection.
But what happens when those around you, physically or virtually, just, aren’t good for you? These days many of us are dragging through the day, and everyone keeps saying that they have an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion despite how many power naps they take or cups of coffee they ingest. We are drained.
While I can’t pretend to act like I have everything figured out, I have learned that, for me, certain people or groups drain me. I’ve learned that I need to be selective of who I allow around me, who I choose to make part of my little community. For a long time, I assumed I had to hold on to the friendships that had been a part of my life for years. I thought I had to attend whatever voluntary bar association meetings were prestigious or important. I had to go to that happy hour where I knew I would make a few valuable connections. And guess what? That’s exhausting. And draining. And while I don’t pretend to be an expert, probably terrible for your mental health too.
Whenever I had a spat with a childhood friend, I was always gently reminded, “It is better to be alone than in bad company”. That is probably truer today than when my friend ditched me to play with whoever had the cooler Barbies. If you find yourself constantly exhausted (physically or emotionally), or in a bad mood once you text, video chat, or see a group of people, ask yourself why. Are they constantly complaining? We all know misery loves company, right (misery should be a little a lonelier)? Are they constantly reminding you of your flaws? Insecurities? What if they are always telling you that your plans, dreams, projects don’t make sense or are too big? THOSE ARE NOT YOUR PEOPLE. You will know who your people are when you walk out of a room feeling energized after connecting with them. Connect to that energy!