STRENGTH & FOCUS: Spring cleaning for yourself and your life
Last week, we discussed “Spring cleaning for your mind,” and after some really positive feedback, I decided to continue this topic further. We primarily focused on thoughts, behaviors, and choices that have a negative impact on our lives, but what about poor and/or destructive relationships?
Relationships take many forms. Let’s take the root word which is to relate, meaning to establish association or build connection. Who are the people you choose to establish association and connect with on a regular basis? We have relationships with family, friends, social circles, work affiliations, cultures, religions, community organizations, etc.
Take a moment to think about those first few circles: family, friends, social, and work. Who are the people that have a positive influence on your life, those that co-create a healthy and beneficial relationship? How do you help and serve them, and equally so, how do they add quality to your life?
Now, who are the people that have a negative impact on your life? Does your relationship with these people add stress, heartache, and mental fatigue to your well-being? Have these issues been addressed, or are you working on making the situation better? Like many relationships, I’m sure it didn’t start this way, but over time, things changed and the situation became sour and conflicted.
Just as we discussed throwing away thoughts, behaviors, and choices that no longer serve us, maybe it’s time to get rid of unhealthy relationships. This is not a blame game or a chance to point fingers. This is not an opportunity to say “you failed (or ruined) the relationship” or a reason to bash the person publicly by announcing via social media that you’re “moving on to better opportunities.” Those behaviors are childish and usually reveal a great deal of insecurity, lack of self-worth, or need for attention by the person atop the soapbox.
For a giggle, go ahead and watch this video of how not to handle the situation:
Remember, that was a great example of how not to leave a relationship that doesn’t serve you. So maybe you’re wondering, “How do I leave relationships that are unhealthy?”
Let’s remember the three steps from the previous article.
First, recognize the unhealthy relationship.
Using our metaphor of spring cleaning, you first have to recognize the junk that you want to throw away. So, how specifically is this relationship unhealthy? Can it be fixed? Is it worth saving? If so, are you willing to invest the time needed to resolve the issues, and is the other person also willing to work towards resolving the issues?
If you decide to get rid of the relationship, then move on to stage two.
Second, give yourself permission to get rid of the relationship.
Be an adult about the situation. This doesn’t have to end in conflict or create a hostile environment. You can choose to leave amicably. Be respectful. At one time, this relationship was something that you wanted, but over time, the circumstances changed. Have enough respect for yourself to say, “At one time I wanted (or thought I wanted) this relationship, but it no longer serves me now.” If it no longer serves you, makes you happy, or adds fulfillment to your life, then take control of your choices and behaviors. You have to give yourself permission to move on.
Third, follow through and move on.
If it’s an intimate relationship, give yourself the chance to find a new love. If friends, give yourself the opportunity to find new friends with similar interests. If work, maybe it’s time to start the job search. Now maybe you’ll notice that I left family for last. While I’m not suggesting you turn your back on family members, if a person is bringing unhealthy, unwanted, or negative events into your life, then maybe you should create some distance. You need to do what is best and healthiest for you and your well-being.
Take control of your life by taking control of your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and choices. Take control of your relationship with others as well as yourself.
As always, if this is something that you would like to discuss personally or if you have a question, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further reading on social circles, check out one of my previous columns, “The company we keep.”
Until next time, thanks for reading and be excellent!