On Crabs in a Bucket

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Jim Rohn

A couple of years ago, an old friend and I were talking about something that was troubling me deeply. I couldn’t let go of something because I kept thinking, if only. She listened to my reasoning, of which I felt I had plenty, to not let go and then asked, “have you heard the story of the crabs in a bucket?” Crabs in a bucket? I thought silently. I said “nope. I have not.”

“Well,” she started,”a crab stuck in a bucket can easily climb out. But if you have many crabs in a bucket, they can’t get out because whenever any one crab tries to leave, the others pull him back in.”

I pondered this for a minute. “That seems silly. If they all worked together, they could all get out.”

“Exactly, but they don’t want to get out. Some people want to stay in the bucket. They see the one crab trying to leave and they want to keep the crab in the bucket with them too. Fear, jealousy, any number of reasons. This person is not your friend. This person does not appreciate you and see your worth. Don’t let this person keep you in the bucket. You have to pull yourself up. Get out. Don’t look back.” And so, that’s what I did.

Today, again, I feel like I’m in one large bucket, with lots of crabs beside, below me, on top of me. Some crabs have been in here forever, some only a short time. Some I know well and others just in passing. What’s becoming clear is that the bucket I’m in is not the bucket I am meant to stay in. Whether it’s because the current situation has changed me, what I value, and what I care about, I am finding it difficult to stay where I am. A place where I am pinched if I say too much, pushed down if I try to offer others support, and pulled back when I try to surface and make sense of it all. I know there’s more outside this bucket, and as my friend said, I can’t pull others out with me. I must go alone. And hope that those whom I still care for also find their way out of the bucket, and meet me at the shore where there is a beautiful sunset waiting to happen to reveal the infinite stars above.

2 thoughts on “On Crabs in a Bucket

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