My wife and I have been cleaning our house as of late, because we’re a little sick and tired of not having enough space to do what we want to do with our home. We were initially looking for a dumpster, but in an effort to be penny pinching, budget conscious do-gooders, we managed to find a company that brought a dump truck. Perfect! We could just throw it all in there in one day and they could just haul it out no problem. They even were sending two guys to help us get rid of our crap, so it sounded like a good deal.
There’s just one catch: They can only take up to Two Tons of stuff. Alright, I have a lot of crap, but two tons? No way!
So they show up bright and early and we were ready for them. We had a lifetime supply of cardboard to get rid of. All they had to do was back up the truck and start loading.
Then something funny happened. They started running out of room. And the truck was only full of cardboard boxes. No furniture or other mindless heavy stuff…just cardboard.
I started thinking that if I had just been on top of this cardboard, and you know, recycled it like I had planned, I wouldn’t have to choose which trash I could throw out, and which I couldn’t.
We then had to decide what we were going to dump! So much for two tons! We opted to throw them a toilet that we replaced, a roll of chicken wire from the tile flooring that the previous owner covered the hard wood floor with (yeah, I know, stupid, right?), some furniture that just didn’t work, an ancient air conditioner and a few other things.
So we still have some of that cardboard in our basement, and we’re hoping to get rid of it by the end of the summer (if we’re lucky)
The guys were done in a half hour, and took almost all of our crap away. I felt satisfied, despite not getting rid of everything.
What the heck does this have to do with anything?
I couldn’t have called a plumber to haul away my trash. I could have asked my family to do it for me, and they might have helped. I could have gone to the dump with all that and paid more than what I paid these guys to take care of it. However, it probably wouldn’t have been done properly, and it could have been at greater cost. I could also have just left that trash sitting there in the basement, and done nothing about it.
Dumping problems on people is kind of like dumping trash. Sometimes people dump their problems on their friends, family, significant others, co-workers…you name it. But is it getting the job done, and done right?
If you’re the dumper, you might feel better after dumping, but you may not have the tools you need to manage it. If you’re the dumpee, you’re probably wondering why this person isn’t seeking professional help to manage their problems. My question exactly.
We all have problems, and we have to be selective about who we dump our problems on. So here are some suggestions:
1. Pick your dump: Make sure your dumpee can handle the load, because it may already be overflowing with their trash (issues). Find yourself someone who has the room to take what you’re dumping (therapists are a good pick for this, but you knew that already).
2. Make sure there is a mutual exchange of dumping: Give as good as you get. This helps you and that person share the load of problems together. If the dumping is imbalanced, one side will likely start looking for new friends or new dumping grounds. Make sure you set boundaries with your dumper as well, so you can make sure you’re not taken advantage of.
3. Don’t wait too long to dump: If you store up your issues too long, you may end up having more than you can handle. Worse yet, you may have more than your friends/family can handle as well.
4. Know when you need a bigger dump and hired muscle: If your friends don’t know how to help you, then it may be time for you to find a therapist that can help you through issues like this.
I look at therapy as the biggest dumping ground for issues. You come to me, you bring me your unwanted issues, and you leave them in my office. Then my magic fairies come and make those issues disappear. OK, maybe not, but the idea is to not take the problems with you.
Dumping your mental and emotional garbage is healthy, but it must be done appropriately. Be careful or you may end up wishing you had dealt with those issues sooner so they didn’t pile up (like a basement full of cardboard). Comments welcome!