A while back, while in a therapy session, my therapist said “lets talk hypothetical for a minute.” She said “I want you to pretend you hate Volleyball. Let’s say you show up at someones home and everyone is playing volleyball, would you stay? (No) If the volleyball players kept calling you and asking you to play just one game, would you want to play? (No) If the coach was blowing up your world asking you to join the team, would you even take his/her phone calls? (No) Now replace the word volleyball with drama, gossip, lies, a toxic person etc. You don’t play volleyball…..”
I can honestly say this analogy was mind blowing to me. It made so much sense. This mind set, single handily changed the hardware in my brain. I started telling everyone I knew. The phrase, ‘I don’t play volleyball’ has taken on a life of it’s own. My cousin even sent a meme the other day that had me rolling in laughter. We even joke now and say “can I please play just a little bit of volleyball?” The answer is always no! This mind set and phrase can be applied to everything in life.
This past summer, I was at a birthday party for one of my daughters friends. A couple that I absolutely adore came over and we started talking. During the conversation, I mentioned that someone they were talking about ‘always made that face when they were serious’. The husband responded with ‘you know ____?’ and the wife said ‘oh ya, their families used to be incredibly close.’. Instantly I thought great, what were they told about a situation that happened TEN years ago? But then, I don’t play volleyball popped into my head. I responded with ‘Yes we used to be together a lot and they’re great people.’ Situation in my head squashed, moving on.
I got a phone call a few nights ago and heard some things that a family member had said and was really hurt and unhappy. First thought, call and take care of it. Call them out and put them in their place and stop the madness. Second thought, I don’t play volleyball. If you have family that out right lies about things or is constantly making passive aggressive comments- don’t engage.
Think of your significant other. When you’re in a relationship or a long term marriage we learn all of the ins and outs of our partner. They’ve confided their fears and weaknesses in us. We are left in a really powerful position. When we learned these things we were entrusted, the room felt safe. Days, months or years later when something goes sideways whether small or big, we now have an arsenal of ammo at our disposal. Don’t be the ass that sits on things that upset you and AK-47 style unload on your partner. Even those times that you know you are right. Even in the moments when your partner is acting irrational or idiotic, don’t play volleyball. Don’t be the guy who asks your wife if she’s done laundry? If your drawers are empty…. go start a load. Don’t be the girl that asks your husband if he was planning on mowing the yard this week…. get on the mower. We know when our partner has had a bad day, or if they’re tired, or nervous. Don’t pounce on that, pick up the slack.
In the past when I’d be around a group of people, I had no problems listening to the gossip and laughing at the judging of others. Hell, sadly I’ve even participated. Point blank, it’s immature. If Sally gets a divorce and decides to run around with the town yet you decide to bring it up to others while shes watching her sons soccer game, you are the problem. When you start believing that you are only responsible for yourself and the people under your roof, you become free. I’ve always had the mind set that if you don’t tell lies about me or those I love, I won’t feel the need to tell the truth about you. It’s always been laughed about that I say too much. Or that I have no problem speaking the truth. I don’t wear those comments as a badge of honor. I have a low tolerance for negativity. It’s not something I’m proud of. Those things about me will probably never change. I can promise you that my words will no longer be used to cut someone else down when I think I’m right. I don’t play volleyball.
I had this discussion with my two older daughters. I explained this theory and they loved it. We need to teach our children to pick their battles and not engage. You can defend yourself and your position on anything without drama. They can respond with ‘I’m sorry you feel that way.’ If little Sally is picking on my kid and she responds with “that’s a good one” and walks away. When my oldest plays soccer, there are girls on the team that love to put her down and make her feel stupid. (Side note, my oldest hasn’t played in two years due to her health and looked forward to this team and practiced all summer.) So she did start out this season at a disadvantage. But when you have a kid who’s willing to learn and do anything they can to get better and see more minutes, your heart just breaks. A few days ago one of the girls said “why would you kick it out? Are you slow? Seriously?” I told my oldest, next time say “I’m sorry that I’m not the star that you are, do you think you could start helping me during practice? Because my slowness seems to really upset you… ” Situation Done! They don’t play volleyball.
When someone comes to you and says:
- I heard you said….
- You should have seen his/her face when they talked about you….
- Did you really say…..
- You won’t believe what I heard….
- Did you see what they posted….
- You guys look at this picture…
- Did you read this comment…
- Why would he/she comment on your post…
You can easily say “Honestly, it’s not worth my time to even talk about this.” or “That’s crazy” smile and walk away. I beg of you though, DON’T PLAY VOLLEYBALL. Those people live for drama. They are also really miserable and insecure people. So, pray for them. Some people mature with age, and some peaked in high school and have been grasping at straws ever since. Think before you speak. There’s nothing wrong with saying give me a minute to figure out what I’m thinking.
I’m not friends with people on social media, IG or twitter so I can mock their every move. I genuinely love watching kids grow and reading funny stories etc. That’s probably why every year I do a Facebook purge. I can’t stand reading cryptic posts or people that say I need prayers only to have 100 people ask what’s wrong and two days later see a response that’s idiotic “was just having a bad day, thank you all.” I’m also kind of a freak about who see’s pictures of the kids etc.
When you stop playing volleyball, weights are lifted from your shoulders.
I’ll let you in on a secret… You don’t have to answer your phone, respond to texts or be in the same room with someone that makes you uncomfortable if you don’t want to. It’s really that easy. Kill them with silence. I promise it’s worse than any one liner you can think of. If you see a persons name on your phone and your heart sinks, Don’t play volleyball. If you get a text from your ex just reminding you that you’re, whatever they think in that minute, Don’t play volleyball. You are allowed to ask the host of a party who’s going to be there. Now don’t be an ass and say “is Sally coming? Because if she is I’m out.” You can easily say “that sounds like a blast, do you have a lot of people coming? anyone I might know?” get your info and say “sounds good, I’ll let you know for sure!” Then you can dip on the down low and not one person knows there’s a reason you won’t be attending.
Is my point coming across here? These situations don’t have to be long, loud and drawn out. You don’t need to have anxiety about these things. You can see someone you don’t care for and say “Hi, how are you? That’s great!” and walk away. It takes too much time and energy to go somewhere and be on eggshells. To send dirty looks across the room or wonder what’s being said about you. When you realize that one life long friend is better than ten, you are Charlie Sheen style winning. When it clicks that just because someone is your blood it doesn’t give them free reign to put you down, you are Oprah Winfrey style getting a car. Does this theory make sense yet?
The most beautiful part of this whole experience has been the amazing people that have come into my world and stayed. These last ten years, I have made friends with amazing mothers, hysterical couples and overall people that I want to emulate. My weekends are spent sitting by a fire with close friends and family. We laugh and crack jokes. Our kids run around and play. I’ve learned that the people I surround myself with have become people that I look up to, in one way or another.
Those are my people….I don’t play volleyball….