FRIDAY'S THOUGHT - RELATIONSHIPS

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RELATIONSHIPS

All my life I've valued friends and family. They would be the top of my list for what's important to me. I invest so much of myself (and my self-worth) in my relationships with other people. The main downside of that is the assumptions I make - mainly that I assume other people feel the same way as I do.

What I've come to realize over time is that not everyone is as invested in relationships as I am. Some are quite happy keeping things superficial, some are happy with interactions that benefit them with no cost, some only want a friendship if it's on their terms, and some just aren't capable of investing the time and energy that's needed to maintain an ongoing friendship or close contact.

LETTING GO

It's become more obvious to me over the last few years that I need to let go of people who don't want to be held too closely. I can't expect to play an important role in everyone's lives. I can't force family to feel the same way I do about things - they have their own agendas and I need to take a smaller role. I can't hold on to every friendship I've made over the last fifty years - some need to be allowed to fizzle out.

It makes me a little bit sad to let people go. I want to hold on and try to fix broken stuff, but sometimes there is hurt (on one or both sides) and it's easier and healthier to let things drift away or to create some more respectful boundaries. Everyone changes and moves on, relationships fluctuate and sometimes fade away - it's a fact of life.


HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER

I think we are healthier and happier when we claim our right to be in relationships that are equal and enriching. To let go of draining people, to allow others to find their level of comfort, to be open to things changing and being fluid. Relationships are all about people and we're all different - my idea of "family" or "friendship" can be quite different to someone else's and it's about finding that happy medium without sacrificing my own happiness or peace.

I love that I finally have the self-confidence to do this, and the life experience to know that it's okay to move on and move forward from relationships that aren't working out. To allow others to have the space they need, and to celebrate those relationships that replenish me and enrich my life.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do you have friends or family you are really connected to? Do you have people in your life who you've had to let go? Are your relationships healthy? Are you growing and thriving rather than treading on eggshells and questioning yourself? Let's appreciate the people in our life who care for us and graciously let those who don't, move on.

Friday's Thought - Relationships - holding on and letting go

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24 comments

  1. You've summed this up very nicely, Leanne. Appreciate the people in our lives who respect and care for us and graciously lose hold of those who don't. I know that this is easier said than done. Again I agree with you that awareness and self-confidence are the main tools needed here.

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    1. I think time becomes more important as we get older Donna - I know I value my time more and want to invest it with people who reciprocate - I just don't have the energy any more for people who can take it or leave it.

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  2. It is like you are describing me. I had this very conversation the other day and you are so right. I'm so glad I read this, think it will help me. Great piece.

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    1. Hi Lorraine - thanks so much for stopping by! And maybe it's just something a lot of us do at this stage of life - we start to take a closer look at our family and friends and questioning why we continue to invest in some of them.

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  3. I have a masochistic thing for draining people, at least that's what my husband would say. I love my friends but they can be very flaky, very unreliable. But they've been my friends for nearly two decades and I love them anyway.

    On that note though I do take friend breaks, it's a strange thing my friends and I have always done. It's a silent agreement where we hit a point that one annoys the other and we just hit the pause button from a month, six months, a year, and then we go right back again to being friends. No drama, just a breather. :)

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    1. I really like that your friends are secure enough to be able to allow space without feeling rejected Jess - it's hard to know how some will respond when we put a bit of distance in place. I've come to see who makes an effort and who doesn't bother.

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  4. This is most difficult for me. I'm like you. I want to fix things. To still be friends with everyone. Just not possible. And I'm still learning it! Thank you for this today!

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    1. It's hard isn't it Diane? It should be a simple matter of everyone just getting along, but when your eyes are opened to the true qualities of some "friends" there seems to be less point in maintaining the contact.

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  5. Ah, yes! It is so freeing to be able to let go of relationships that are no longer bringing you joy. I once read a quote that said something like "your relationships should make you better, not bitter"

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    1. A perfect quote Susan - I just don't have the time or energy any more to keep putting into friendships that aren't on a reasonably equal footing. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting x

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  6. I hear what you're saying and I wish I could let some relationships drift away, but it's hard when it's a close relative. I do need to work on not being so sensitive though! Remove their ability to cause hurt. Go for Google - #6 in ProBlogger Challenge

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    1. Family is always the hardest Shirley - often we can't sever the ties, but I think we can put a bit of distance into place to buffer the hurt and not expose ourselves to it as much.

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  7. Leanne, I've also let go of one-sided relationships or those that don't bring happiness anymore. Sometimes its hard to put your finger on, but the relationship just isn't working. It's never easy, but I've never regretted it. Good post.

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    1. I'm the same Laurie - I always wonder what they will think, but from what I've experienced, they don't seem to notice or particularly care (so why was I bothering in the first place?!)

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  8. Sometimes we're in relationships out of habit or obligation. Not all relationships are for the long haul, as you say, and we need to let go. I have good memories but that was then, when things were different. Good post.

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    1. I think when I was younger I had the belief that friendships were for a lifetime, but now I'm learning that you can graciously cut ties with the ones that aren't working for you and use that energy to invest in the ones that do.

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  9. These are thoughts upon which to reflect. As I grow older there are more old "friendships" that I've let go of. There are also a few that I try to actively maintain. Other than my wife, I don't have any close relationships in this city where I've been living for 26 years now. This is probably a time of my life that I should be thinking about having a few close relationships who also live near to me, but I don't like to bother people.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Hi Arlee! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment - and my husband would say exactly the same thing. He often says he has no close friends these days - nobody he really connects with on a deeper level (other than me I presume!) There seems to be fewer people who want to get beyond the superficial these days.

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  10. I have a hard time letting go of relationships but agree that it is much healthier when they are draining you! Thanks for sharing at The Blogger's Pit Stop! Roseann from www.thisautoimmunelife.com

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    1. Some are draining and some are dismissive - I don't have time for either any more Roseann - life is short! Thanks for stopping by x

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  11. People come and go out of your life and that is what makes you the person that you are. Thanks so much for stopping by!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. Hi Debbie - you're right about them coming and going - I try to keep them all and that isn't the best result in the end is it?

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  12. I have a very close extended family (as in, there are usually 45+ of us to Thanksgiving dinner. I love their support and friendship, but as my family grows and changes, I've had to let some of the family gatherings go. That's caused me to feel less connected with them. I'm OK with that because I've changed, grown, and become a very different person than I was 20 or 30 years ago. Sometimes I feel they don't understand and feel like I'm rejecting them, and that has caused some hurt feelings and awkwardness when we do attend a gathering. I'm dealing with those feelings because I know it's healthier to move past them and continue doing what works for my children and grandchildren. You're right - relationships evolve and change as we do, and it's important to let go of those that don't match up with us anymore.

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    1. You are such an inspiration Melody! I love that you can accept the fallout and yet still do what is right for you and those closest to you. I'm learning this slowly and trying to find the right balance of who to let go and who to invest in.

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