A few months back, I was moving and had a large amount of personal documents I needed to dispose of. Having no shredder, I, of course, did what anyone would do: I tried burning them in a pie pan on my balcony.
The papers, without added fuel, would ignite and burn but quickly reduce to smoldering embers when I tried to add more papers to the fire. Needless to say, it was a futile task. But it also gave me pause to reflect. Although there was no roaring fire, not even a single decent flame, there was enough smoke to signal help to a deserted island.
So many people in our lives are like that pile of embers. They ignite but die out even quicker. They leave behind a ton of smoke in the form of words but have no flames, passion, or heat to show in the form of action. We waste our time trying to reignite these smoldering relationships and friendships. And in doing so, we keep ourselves from lighting real fires with the people who have passion and actions to match our own and can provide the fuel needed to get the relationship flames going.
Smoke will choke you up, make your eyes water, but then disappear as quickly as it came. It hides and masks the lack of flames and often gets thicker as the flames die out. Words without action backing them up are like smoke—empty. People can say they want you in their lives, they can say that they want to be friends or lovers or just involved, they can even say they want to make the effort and are going to do better in the future, but at the end of the day, they are just smoke hiding the lack of fire, words hoping to deflect from the lack of action. They do nothing more than distract, hide, and smother us. They provide no warmth or passion or love. Words without the action are as useless as smoke without flames.
It’s time to demand better. Don’t settle for the smoky words of flaky people. You deserve more. You deserve people who match your passion, effort, and energy. You deserve action, so expect it. Don’t continue to pour yourself into empty relationships and, as a result, hold yourself back from ones that will fulfill and uplift you and enrich your life.
If someone can’t pair actions with their words, burn the relationship to the ground and let those flames light up your world and point you to the people around you who are willing to show you that they mean what they say.