Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pigs in the Creek

By Julie Rahm
It is true. I write about pigs a lot. I like using pigs in metaphors. Also, here in North Carolina, writing about pigs is very appropriate. After all, in our state, pig farming is one of the largest agricultural industries. Our state is a leading producer of pigs with sales topping $3 billion every year. In North Carolina, there are 9,535,483 people and 8,800,000 pigs; almost a pig for every person! And, my husband, John, is also to blame. Many of his leadership one-liners involve pigs. John’s latest favorite is, “The water in the creek won’t clear up unless you get the pigs out.”

John is right. Pigs will stir up a creek. And, the water will remain muddy until the pigs leave. The same is true in life. Often, there are people who keep mucking around in your creek and stirring up all the mud. These people can be a relative, a significant other or a friend. They arrive in your creek creating emotional turmoil. The offenders are easy to identify. Once they leave, there is often a sigh of relief. Another aid to identification can be dread. If you dread someone’s company, they are the pig in your creek. Do you look forward to seeing them? Or, do you prefer to avoid the encounter? This simple realization can be very freeing. Once you realize there are pigs in your creek, there are decisions to make.

You could decide that muddy water in your creek is tolerable. It is difficult to exorcise family members from your life. The turmoil created by trying to rid yourself of a family member may not be worth the effort. It may be better to live with some minor muddy water than upset long-term family relationships.

On the other hand, if someone is unkind, unsupportive or abusive, it is time to get them out of your creek. Life is short and we do not get a dress rehearsal. We are mostly the product of those with whom we spend the most time. Take a personal inventory and make the changes that are warranted. If someone is not the wind in your sails, I recommend a change. Choose your friends. Do not let anyone be the pig who keeps stirring up the water in your creek. Friends can come and go like the seasons. Sometimes the season for a particular relationship is over. Moving on is most likely moving forward. Keep a long term perspective.

Recently, I ended my relationship with one of my girl friends. We were the best of friends and first met when we worked together in same Department of Defense office. It was hard, unpleasant and uncomfortable to end the friendship. But, some medicine is distasteful. Our season as friends was over and I could not have her mucking around in my creek stirring up the water.

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