Last week I gave my final exams and it never fails – drama.

“I couldn’t study because I was up all night fighting with my girlfriend.” “I had to bail my cousin out of jail.”

And so it goes; family and friends pulling you down, trying to keep you from getting ahead.

Crabs in a basket

The term comes from a phenomenon that occurs during crabbing. Bait is put in the bottom of a basket and the basket is lowered into the water.

Crabs will become trapped in the bottom of the basket BUT the crabs on the top of the pile can easily climb out of the basket and escape doom. As soon as they attempt escape, the crabs below will pull them back into the basket.

People act like that, too. If they cannot escape, they will try to hold you back as well.


One reason is their own jealousy and plain laziness. Rather than spend energy on getting themselves ahead, rather than going to school, studying, making sacrifices, they would rather keep you from getting ahead.

“I’m too lazy to put in the effort, I’m afraid I may fail. I can’t get ahead, so why should anyone else?”

Believe it or not, this is a very SMALL percentage of the crabs that you meet.

People like this are not good for you. They are mental poison. Get them out of your life immediately.

The majority of the crabs

The majority of the crabs in your life fall into the second category. These people love you and care about you. On the surface, they want to see you succeed. They are proud of you.

Then, why are they pulling you back into the basket?

Because they are afraid of losing you. They are afraid that as you grow, you won’t have time for them.

Look at what has already happened. You are making new friends, learning new things, spending time studying and reading and growing. You are already leaving them as you grow.

These people are not doing this on a conscious level. They don’t even realize that they are holding you back most of the time. Yet, you are still being torn.

The best way to handle these crabs is to reassure them that you will always love them. They will always be a part of your life, but it they truly love you, they will not stand in the way of your dreams.

Dealing with the crabs in your life means having the strength to say NO. Your cousin can sit in jail until AFTER your exams (he shouldn’t have done it in the first place.) Whatever you and your girlfriend were fighting about can wait (it’s not serious enough to fail a test over.)

You must make time for those you love, but in so doing, don’t rob yourself of your dreams.

If you remain in the basket, you will eventually end up as someone’s dinner.


About living4bliss

Mental Health Food is the place to stop to get your bliss on everyday. I give tips, hints and sometimes a little silliness to help you navigate the challenges of life. We have a great community of positive bloggers that keep the bliss going all day every day. Make sure to visit their blogs, too. Mental Health Food is a product of Believing Life Is Setup for Success, Inc. (B.L.I.S.S.) in Thornton, CO. We have been in the business of teaching success since 1991. We provide workshops, consulting services and now videos that help people just like you start and maintain successful businesses and personal lives using what you already have. Enjoy a daily dose of Mental Health Food; nourishment for the mind.

2 responses »

  1. rumpydog says:

    I have seen so many people do that to themselves. It is a choice!

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