Letting go

I remember New Year’s 2017. I deemed it, “The year of the small circle.” Though I’m introverted and tend to keep a small circle, I had become aware that quality is better than quantity when it comes to relationships.

Because we are human, we’re going to disappoint each other at times. In worthwhile relationships, those issues get worked out and the relationship becomes stronger as a result. But sometimes relationships become one-sided and toxic.

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I’ve somehow developed a pattern in which I hold onto relationships where I do all the work. The care that I give isn’t reciprocated. When I became aware of this pattern, I had to begin the not-so-easy process of confronting issues in my relationships. Many of those relationships didn’t survive as a result and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Friendships of convenience (i.e., people I’ve meet at work, school, church, etc.) tend to nosedive when circumstances change (i.e., graduating, moving, getting married, etc).

I remember trying to hold onto a number of relationships even though they weren’t reciprocated. For me, giving up on the relationships tended to impact me more than the others involved because I was already investing a lot more than they were. Examples include church small groups, a once best friend from high school, a friend from college, and a friend that I used to call my “second mom.”

Now I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to drop these people from my life; in fact, I tried to fix the relationships. I became a bit more assertive and gently confronted the imbalance in the various relationships. In many of those cases, nothing changed or the relationships got worse once I brought these issues to light. This taught me that letting go was better for me in the long run than continuing to invest the time and energy into people who weren’t willing to do the same.

Sure, letting go hurts. It still does sometimes; however, I’ve learned a lot and have become a stronger person as a result of this pruning process.

In the end, I’m more aware of the give-and-take in my remaining relationships and I tend to be more cautious in new relationships to avoid my old patterns.

Can you relate to the process of evaluating and downsizing unhealthy relationships? How has it benefited you?

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