You know good and well why I’m writing this post, don’t you?
Because forgiveness doesn’t always mean allowance
Because you need to be reminded about loving from a distance
Because your loyalty gene could use a bit of a reality check
Because if you don’t let go, they will keep you at their (lowered) vibration
Because something in your life is letting YOU go as a result of your reluctance to release something
So now that we’ve laid all the cards on the table, let me lean in a bit further and tell you exactly what I mean. Of course, since my style is all about strategy + soul, I’ll give you some how-to gems as well.
PART ONE :: FORGIVENESS
I have a reputation for being a bit of a hard-ass (insert friends/family sarcastic gasp here), but it’s not from a place of toughness or lack of empathy; it comes from my natural grain. I’m straightforward, and my top values are honesty and self-expression. Therefore, if I’m feeling uncomfortable, I express that to avoid clouds of fake-assness looming over my relationships, and causing potentially irreparable damage.
Even with my tendency to nurture open and honest conversation, I’ve still gotten my heart broken by someone very close to me. We’ve known each other for decades, and with time came decisions, many of which led her down a path I wasn’t willing to explore. It took her almost two years to admit (to herself and me) how she had shifted, but when I realized the extent of her shift, I mustered up the courage to finally let her go.
It felt like a big part of my stomach rotted off and flew up through my mouth. Dramatic, I know, but quite precise in terms of the accompanying emotions.
Eventually, the severity and consistency of the pain went away. Seeing her hurt a bit less each time, and I finally (after about a year) stopped wishing things were different; because they simple weren’t! Ultimately, I learned to adjust to not having her in my life, but I always kept her in my prayers.
Crazy thing–releasing her completely made room for eventual growth for both of us. Four years later, we’re homies again—with distance and heavy doses of candor and expressed expectations. Today, we’re at a point where the cultivation of a full-fledged friendship seems realistic.
I don’t believe that things have to be tit-for-tat, or that we have to be “getting ours” in order for any relationship to thrive. I do know, however, that when we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of—then complain about it to our other friends and/or family—that we’re cheating our real relationships out of precious time and energy; and that includes our relationship with ourselves.
1. Grab your journal or a bit of paper and write down three relationships/situations where the withdrawals (needs placed upon you) are severely imbalanced with the deposits you’ve made. Label them (A/B/C).
2. Skip a line and then write the letter “A”. Next to that letter, write down 1. How long you’ve known him/her; 2. The benefits you get from being in the friendship; 3. Three primary fears you have about releasing the relationship. For #3, try not to use any filters. Get really honest about your fears. Remember no-one has to see what you’re writing.
3. Go through the same process for the other relationships you’ve listed.
4. For “A”, take each fear, and complete the following sentences:
If [insert your first fear here], then I will die, and the world will end.
If [insert your second fear here], no one will ever love me again. Ever.
If [insert your third fear here], I won’t be able to eat, sleep, or thrive.
5. Read your fear sentences out loud. Are any of them true? If at least one is true, then um…maybe you need to up your own withdrawals and keep it moving, but I’m betting that none of them actually are true, which means you can survive without this relationship.
6. Draft a letter to the person/people on your paper. Write out every single reason the relationship is not optimal for you, and leave no stone unturned. Read aloud what you’ve written, then use your letter to decide on your daily actions where that person is concerned. It’s your gradual release blanket, so-to-speak.
If you’re not a rip-off-the-band aid type of person, then use the contents of your letter to give you permission NOT to answer their calls. Use it to tell them you’re not in a position to chat when you see them. Choose yourself each time it comes down to you or them. If they don’t even notice, that shows you how relevant you were in their lives anyway. If they do notice, you can choose to use it to generate healthy conversation about why you’re pulling back OR you can let them know up front that the relationship needs space. Either way, choosing yourself is your right and your responsibility, and the other party isn’t going to choose you for you.
Before bed tonight, sit in a quiet space and imagine each of the people you listed above as an object connected to your body. Are they an anchor, an anvil, a huge metal ball, wings, a soft blanket, or a rough, worn cloth? Really allow your imagination to roam during this exercise. How they appear in your imagination is a great indicator of how they affect your psyche. If you wouldn’t keep that object attached to your body, then that relationship is ready to be shed.
Glenda Powers – Fotolia.com