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Who Are the Crabs in Your Life?

by Stephanie Mulac

Going through my photo album the other day, I ran across one of those types of pictures that take you immediately back to a place and time so clearly you relive it. You know the ones, where you can feel the crisp air, smell the aroma, embrace the warmth of a thought or an emotion. This was one of those photos.

My wide-eyed daughter was experiencing her first trip to the beach, complete with shovels and buckets and lathered in suntan lotion so her tender skin didn’t burn. I can still remember the aroma of the coconut scent as I reflect on the observations of her tiny, but all too astute mind.

She had discovered sand crabs that day, and to her delight they were everywhere for the taking. Bucket in hand, she was delighted every time she saw the telltale signs of the air bubbles popping up from beneath the sand.


Periodically, she would come over to me and introduce me to each of her new friends by name. You see, she was hosting a party and as she walked up and down the beach, she would add one of her new found friends to the bucket so that they would be all assembled and ready when the party was to commence.

After observing this routine for quite some time, I began to notice that every so often she would stare into the bucket and wrinkle her nose in that special way that warms a mother’s heart. As she stared into the bucket it looked to me like she would carefully pick one of the crabs up, leave it in the sand and then walk away.

I was very curious to hear the reasoning behind this process, but was nowhere near ready for the impact of her explanation.

The next time she returned to introduce me to more of her new friends, I told her I noticed that she was taking some of the crabs out of her bucket and asked her why.

”Well, mommy, I don’t want those ones at my party,” she exclaimed quickly. Figuring this was going to be one of those life lessons I keep an eye out for, I prepared to tell her that it was important to include all of her friends in her party.

But instead, it was I who received the lesson.

She went on to explain that some of the crabs were trying to crawl out of the bucket and other crabs were reaching up and pulling them back down. At this point, I figured that the ones who were trying to crawl away were the one that she was removing.

But to my surprise she exclaimed, “No, silly, the ones that are trying to crawl out of the bucket are just really excited to get to my party first. I am getting rid of the ones that are pulling them down. THEY are the ones that don’t get to come to my party because they are not excited enough…

How many “crabs” are there in your life that don’t share your enthusiasm for getting to the party first? Odds are, there are at least a few. You know, the ones who are always trying to pull you back down to the bottom of the bucket? And do any of us have the child-like wisdom to “discard” those crabs and press on toward filling our bucket with new ones?

Now of course, unlike my daughter’s crabs, we can’t simply toss our crabs aside and walk away. That will be a lesson for her to learn another day. But for the rest of us, we need to get a second bucket for these “special” crabs that don’t share our enthusiasm and understand that they don’t share the same space with those who motivate, inspire and encourage us to do our very best!

Cherish and cultivate the bucket which contains positive people in your life and never overlook an opportunity to fill that bucket to the brim! The heavier it gets and the more it overflows you will begin to notice great things coming your way. I promise!

I’m glad I’ve added you to MY bucket! And I hope I will soon occupy a special place in yours!


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