Years ago, I did a workshop called "The Technology of Change" with psychologist Dr. Robert Lorenz. One of our assignments was to make a list of people we would want to take with us if we were moving to another planet.
Sounds easy enough, right? Many of us didn't think so when Dr. Lorenz said, "It doesn't matter if it's your mother, father, sister, brother. If they're toxic for you, don't take them." What he meant by "toxic" was someone who has a negative affect on you, and doesn't make you feel good when you're around them. I think it's fair to say that at different times we may have experienced that feeling with someone in our lives, even people that we love. So does that mean they should be banished from our new planet, if we decide to relocate from this one?
I found the assignment very telling. I knew right off that I would take my parents, sisters and brother with me to another planet, but at the time, there was a person or two I wasn't so sure about. What's interesting about this exercise, which I've come to call the "Planet Test," is that it forces you to take a close look at the people in your life and decide what they really mean to you. You might be surprised by what you feel about who's in your life. It could make you realize how much you value those you do, and how you might secretly want to let go of someone or certain people, but aren't able to for whatever reasons.
I think of the Planet Test as taking inventory of who's in your life, and deciding how you see them in relation to who you are today, which could be different from who you were when you met them. We all change over the years, and don't necessarily grow together or in the same direction as our friends or family with time. Some people feel that certain people in their life are like old shoes -- worn in and comfortable, but not so easy to let go of.
If you're ready to find out who you would take with you to "infinity and beyond" try this Planet Test:
1. Make three lists:
a. People you would take to another planet
b. People you wouldn't
c. People you're undecided about
2. Next to the name(s) of the people you're undecided about write either:
3. Then, ask yourself if you are you holding on to them because of:
a. sentimental reasons
c. they're family
4. Then, ask yourself if you can:
a. let go of the past with them
b. start a new life
c. move on without them
5. Would you miss those you wouldn't take with you because:
a. you've known them so long you'd miss the shared history
b. it would feel awkward without them
c. you're used to them
6. How does it feel to omit those people from your "taking" list:
7. If you didn't have those people on your new planet, how do you think it would make you feel:
b. true to who you really are
8. Does your list feel:
9. Do you think you're ready for the change?
10. If you answered "maybe" or "no," ask yourself:
a. why not
b. are you afraid
c. what's holding you back
11. If you answered "yes":
a. are you more clear about who you are today than in your past?
b. do you feel like you're living an authentic life?
c. would you be content no matter where you lived?
12. Do you think you can apply these same answers to staying here on planet earth?
13. If you answered "maybe or "no" is it because you:
a. need to think about this some more
b. aren't willing to let go of people who are toxic
c. don't like changes
14. Is your decision to let go of certain people:
15. Do you feel good about rethinking your relationships?
16. Do you want only positive relationships in your life?
Whether you're wanting to book a flight on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic or plan to stay put right here, it's always good to ask yourself how you feel about the people you know, and if you view them as a positive presence in your life. If you don't, maybe it's time to let go of them with love and wish them well.
Life is a journey meant to share with those close to us, and if we want the quality of our daily experiences to be as good as they can be, we need to decide who is most worthy of sharing our life with.
Not everyone makes the cut sometimes, and that's okay. Maybe they've made someone else's "taking to another planet" list and you might run into them on Mars Boulevard someday in the not too distant future.
For more by Ora Nadrich, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.
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