The important people in our lives- family members and friends who are closest to us- play an important role in how we see ourselves. They provide the support we need at times to grow and become better versions of ourselves. They can make us feel like we have superpowers or they can plant a seed of doubt.
In my own life, I think of these people as anchors, levels or sails. For the most part, each person falls into either the anchor or the sail category. Although some will switch back and forth depending on the situation or the type of relationship we have. So, what do I mean by anchors, levels and sails? As you might expect, anchors hold you down, levels are generally neutral, and sails push you forward.
Anchors are characterized by negativity, critical attitudes, passive-aggressive personality traits, drama, controlling behavior, and any other type of attitude or action that slows you down, makes you doubt yourself, or causes you to quit. They probably cancel plans at the last minute and are too busy if you need something from them- but they will expect you to help them if they need it. Anchors are in your circle, so you care about them and they care about you, but their presence can sometimes drain your energy. These are usually one-sided relationships where you give a lot more of yourself than you receive back. Anchors aren’t bad, they just simply aren’t equipped to offer you the unconditional support that you receive from sails.
Levels are those important people that you want to keep in your life, but they are neutral. Like the bubble in a level, they rest in the middle between anchor and sail. Neither of you put a lot of effort into the relationship. They aren’t the first person you think of if you need something and, likewise, they don’t often come to you for help or support either. These are likely the people that switch between holding you down and pushing you forward; in one instance they may provide much needed support, and in the next, you might get nothing from them.
With the positivity and encouragement that they provide you, sails are a driving force in helping you to find the courage to step out of your comfort zone and pursue your best life. Their words and behavior lift you up and give off a calming and invigorating energy. They are supportive not only in what they say, but also in how they act. Sails will take the time to listen, even if they are busy. They will help you if you need it, even if they would rather be doing something else. But, they aren’t all rainbows and unicorns. Their support also means that they’ll keep it real with you if they feel that you’re making a mistake or going down the wrong path. On the occasions when they feel tough love is what’s needed, a sail’s motive is only to help, not to harm. While that might be difficult for you to realize in the heat of the moment- when they’re telling you something you don’t want to hear- in the end you’ll probably be glad they did.
We all have anchors, levels and sails in our lives and each serve a purpose to help keep us balanced. I am fortunate to have many more sails than anchors, and I hope that you do too.