I never knew about this “crabs in a bucket” analogy until I opened up to a good friend about some close people who seemed unhappy with my progress in sobriety, school, marriage, and just life in general. At times I even felt like they wanted to sabotage it all if they could. It really had me shook up + confused.
She said it’s like watching crabs in a bucket. Once you’ve lived in the bucket for so long + try to get out, one crab will get on your back, then another, then another, and that’s how they all live. Stuck in a damn bucket. Forever pulling each other down + getting no where.
From that moment on, I realized I didn’t belong in a bucket. None of us do, really. But only a few of us are willing + able to do the hard, messy work to claw our way out. It’s not easy choosing to no longer manage your crabs. It’s not easy putting down what’s not yours to carry. It’s not easy going another route, despite the guilt. It’s not easy breaking free from the old way things have always been done. It’s not easy challenging the notion that loyalty means staying in the bucket forever. But you were never meant to live in that bucket; catering to the feelings + opinions + needs of the crabs there. This isn’t why you were created. Your life is much bigger, your tasks here so much more specific.
This doesn’t mean you don’t love those crabs. It just means you’ve finally realized you’re allowed to climb out + take a chance on a new, different future for yourself. You’re allowed to care for who you are becoming + the life you’re imagining. And just maybe, you’ll remind a few crabs of what’s possible for them too. 🦀
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