Unless you were repeatedly dropped on your head as a child, you know the song from Kenny Rogers called The Gambler. Just in case, here’s a little refresher:
You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run.
And that’s all you need to know when it comes to relationships in your life. Unlike a card game where you voluntarily sit down to play, you don’t get to choose all of your relationships. For example, you can’t choose your family. You can’t likely choose your neighbors. And you may or may not work in a job for your dream boss.
Nope, you can’t choose your family, your neighbor or your boss. In some cases, they are just the cards you are dealt. Of course, if you get fed up enough, you might choose to boycott family gatherings, look for a new place to live, or actively seek another job.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back to Kenny Rogers and The Gambler. You have many choices in the relationships that you want in your life. You get to choose your friends. You get to choose your significant (or insignificant) other. You get to choose with whom you affiliate and socialize during your own time. And that’s where the wisdom of Rogers kicks in.
The people that feed your heart, mind and soul are keepers. When you find people who bring out the best in you and make you a better person, you hold on to those friendships. I’m fortunate enough to have many of those types of people in my life. When I talk with them or spend time with them, I am like a houseplant growing towards the light. My growth is automatic, often unconscious. I just know that they lift me up, elevate my thinking, boost my character, invigorate my attitude, and challenge my defects. Those peeps are priceless. I will hold ’em, as Rogers suggests, because with their strength I have a winning hand.
The other types of relationships are of the “fold ’em” variety. Some people come into our lives during transitional times, maybe like a lost soul that we meet while we are a lost soul. We visit for a little time while we commiserate and console each other. The best relationships are not based on someone who accepts the ways that we are flawed because he or she is flawed in the same way. Someone who shares a drink or jail cell with us after a tough time might not necessarily be the type of person we want babysitting our kids in five years. Someone who is immature, self-destructive, or emotionally retarded may be great for you when you are in a similar place; but when you see that you are wanting to evolve and your friend is holding you back, it’s time to question if your friend is a hold ’em or a fold ’em type.
Here’s a synopsis:
- If you want to be your best, surround yourself with winners. Winners are people who are wise, experienced, accomplished; they are people who want to see you be as happy and successful as you can be. Hold ’em at all costs.
- If you are tied to people who suck you dry, take more than they give, lack absolutes, encourage you to be the grasshopper instead of the ant, and seem more interested in living in the past instead of helping you be phenomenal in the future, you got some fold ’ems.
No, you can’t choose your family. But you can choose how much control you give them. You can’t choose your boss or your neighbors. But you can choose to leave if your discomfort outweighs your comfort in those relationships. And you always get to choose your friends. Just ask yourself which of your friends take you closer to the things you want in your life. Then all you have to do is hold ’em or fold ’em.
Last thing: If you hold on to a fold ’em relationship too long, you will fold eventually. But that folding may be yourself curling up in a fetal position on the floor. But the good news is that you have choices…