A long time ago, in a chapter called network marketing, I met a wonderful woman. She had many quirky phrases and sayings that stayed with me including, ‘Are you on the bus or off the bus?’ It was her way of asking, ‘Make a decision, are you in or out?’
A long time ago in a life far away, I worked in an international airport. Every day I dealt with thousands of passengers. Some were in my queue, and I was somewhat responsible for them … and others I was not.
Every now and then a passenger would try and jump into my queue, and I would have to remind myself (and them) that they were not my passenger.
Not my circus, not my monkeys
This week I want to expand on my Givers and Takers post, from the perspective of ‘the passengers on your bus.’
Let’s assume that each of you is a bus driver.
As a giver or an empath driving a bus, we often feel compelled to stop at every stop and pick up all the lost, broken, dysfunctional, fragile, difficult, or needy people who stand there waiting for a lift.
Sometimes this works out and we carry them a couple of stops and they get off voluntarily. Other times they stay on our bus for extended periods of time, just sitting there, not contributing anything of value, and seemingly just coming along for the ride – while you do all the navigating.
Today is not about beating up passengers in difficult circumstances, but reinforcing the need for drivers (givers) to use their discretion and make sure they have boundaries.
We get to choose and sometimes need to be reminded, that it’s up to us who we have on our bus.
We are all responsible for our own decisions and actions, but the road of life is not always straightforward and smooth. Skilled driving may be required.
There are as many kinds of passengers as there are personalities, here are a few of the most common.
How many of the following passengers are you carrying? And for how long?
- The Blamers and Complainers. The bus system sucks, it’s unreliable, the fares are expensive, it takes too long, and everything is annoying – none of which is this rider’s fault or responsibility. Also, their co-travellers are taking up too much space!
These passengers are victims and are convinced they are stuck on the bus.
- The Energy Vampires. These passengers drain you with endless stories of everything that is wrong with them and the world. They sometimes claim to be ‘just sharing, not complaining’. They impart their doom and gloom with no interest in solutions or proactive improvement. No amount of encouragement or validation satisfies these travellers.
These passengers often gravitate to the blamers & complainers combining their dark clouds.
- The Perpetual Pessimists. These travellers believe they are powerless to change their circumstances. They sit in their seats slouched under the weight of negativity as they sip their lukewarm beverage in a chipped ‘half empty’ cup.
These passengers are often the disempowered and have wholly bought into the false stories of ‘I can’t’ that they have been told and reinforced to themselves.
- The Bullies. These normally sit at the back of the bus unconsciously ashamed and not really wanting to be seen for fear of needing to take personal responsibility. They put chewing gum on the floor and throw things at the vulnerable passengers. They can be vindictive making snide remarks. They unnecessarily step on toes when there is lots of room and they rarely do anything that doesn’t self-serve or validate their own existence.
These passengers have so much unresolved baggage they truly believe they need to hurt others to survive.
When we drive around for extended periods of time with our bus full of these types of people, it becomes exhausting and frustrating for even the most chipper of drivers.
And then there are the others.
- Passengers that just want to sit for a bit and rest and breathe, before continuing their journey. They ride with you for a few stops, then gratefully thank you and disembark.
- Passengers that need assistance. These might ride with you for longer perhaps needing encouragement, support, and time to figure out their journey before getting off again.
- The wise, the bright, and the value packed passengers. These commuters stay for a while, or a single stop. They are the healers. They bring wisdom, they teach, and they add value. You always feel better off for having had them on your bus for however long that might be 💙
- Passengers that uplift. They get on, bring you a coffee and a snack, and ask how you’re doing. They leave you feeling good, smiling, and with a little more energy. They are positive, compassionate, and often on a mission.
How’s your bus looking?
Being the drivers of our own bus, we are solely responsible for who we let on (and for how long), and who we need to let off.
The successful bus driver knows they have a job to do and has clear boundaries in place. They compassionately use their discretion, but their kindness – like their love, is NOT unconditional.
They have learned that too many of the wrong passengers on the bus will adversely affect their run, as well as how they interact with the right ones they are yet to on-board.
Dalya xx 💙