Authors Note: This is the 17th entry in a 23 part series – my reactions to each item on the post 23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing. Please join the conversation.
It’s time to talk about relationships that run the course, cycle out, or simply fade away. Consider this post today:
20. Holding on to toxic friendships. Banish any Regina George-like frenemies from your life ASAP. Life is too short to waste time with people who make you feel like crap.
Let’s start with this. You are important. Your opinions and values are important. And your self-worth and self-concept are important.
Now – let’s move on to this. You are a person. People grow and change as they mature. Think about yourself at age 10. Were you the same at 10 as you were at 16? Did you need the same things, like the same things, or have the same self-concept at 10 as you did 16? What about at age 25? 30? 35? 50? 60? Do you have the same skills? Are your interests the same? Do you need to be challenged in the same way?
And finally – are you different now than you were then?
I’m going to guess that the answer to these questions moves in the direction that you are different now than you were when you were younger. I bet you like some different things, and that you live in a different way. I’m also going to guess that you would really like to surround yourself with people who make you better, and stronger, and more fulfilled.
However, I’m also going to guess that you have at least one relationship you may be hanging on to purely out of obligation, out of habit, or possibly out of fear.
Please know, I’m not talking about those people that you cherish and that you’ve known since childhood. Many of these folks in our lives help keep us grounded in a way that connects us to our youth and our beginning. My sisters and some key friends from high school and college are prime examples of this (Cherie, Stephanie, Sarah, Renee, Tiffany, Shannon, Ed, Alison, Sue, and many others play this role for me). They knew me when I was very young, and they know me now. They know my core – and they know when I’m not being true to that core.
However, there are those in our lives that we simply outgrow. You know who I mean – and I bet you have a few in your lives now. These are the people that when you interact with them leave you drained and exhausted. These are the people you have to gear yourself up to talk to, instead of being excited about hearing their voices. These are the people that when you are in town, you secretly hope won’t find out you’re around so you don’t “have to see them”. These are also the people you stay connected with on social media that do not add value to your experience; rather, they detract and frustrate you (beyond academic or cognitive discourse) and make your life a more negative space. Finally, these are often the people who are not supportive, and who passive-aggresively (or sometimes overtly) tear you down in order to make themselves feel better.
I’m telling you to let them go – and let them go now.
You may know the saying – “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” What I take from this quote is that each relationship is different – and has a different purpose. You will always have people who stay with you for a long time – for a lifetime, even. You will also have people who stay with you (and with whom you stay) for a short while, or a season. And you will have still others who are part of your life for some purpose – to teach you something, for you to assist, or for you to better understand – and then this relationship is over. The season and reason category sometimes are the ones we hang onto far too long.
Remember that we learn about ourselves through all relationships – positive and negative. If we hold onto those negative relationships – we do nothing but stunt our own growth and close ourselves off from new, more nurturing and possibly the life-long relationships we crave (and need). So think about your current relationships. Are there ones that need to go? Let them go. Are there ones that need to be nourished because they really are for a lifetime? Feed them. And are there ones that have simply run the course of a season? Then acknowledge the gift of their time and their lessons, and move on.
As I said in the beginning, you are important. Your opinions and values are important. Your self-worth and self-concept are important. And you deserve to be surrounded by those who understand this – and to whom you give this same gift of understanding.
Release the albatrosses, and live with the songbirds, for these are the friends who truly make your heart sing.