It's easy to get comfortable. We all know the story of playing it safe- familiar feels good, while change feels hard. And while safe doesn't usually equate to an expansive life, I understand wanting to stay with what you know. Intrinsically, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make things work. In fact, I admire people who aim to bring out the best in others. Who can stick things through, even when the boat gets rocky. But there comes a point where relationships either evolve or become energy drains. While one could argue that they stay in a mediocre friendship or romance because of the other person's good qualities, how often is it actually an avoidance of dealing with painful separation and one's own codependency?
Knowing when to walk away from something is no easy feat. In my personal experience, I often want to leave things too quickly. I am a runner, metaphorically speaking. When the road gets hard, it is almost second nature to wave bye bye. In my case, a lot of my work is actually found through staying. It is in setting boundaries and practicing clear communication, so that I can then deepen my relationships and use them as mirrors for my own personal growth. With that said, I think that certain people come into our lives for a specific amount of time. From my understanding, there are time codes written on people, places and things, long before we land here on earth. Learning how not to overstay your welcome with the various aspects of your reality is a tricky art.
Over the past year and a half, I have worked to counteract my fleeing desires. I have found ways to honor natural changes in relationships, understanding that there will always be ebbs and flows. When friends of mine are engaging in certain lifestyles that don't align with my own, natural separation periods occur. And in the best cases, the universe does it for me. All of a sudden, our schedules just don't match. It's not that we are no longer friends or stop speaking- we are just living with more space in between us. Thanks to trust and recognition of why we became friends in the first place, I know that the right people will circle back around. Not to mention, I am so eternally grateful for the universe doing the work for me. No awkward conversations are needed.
But it isn't always this easy. We all need to learn how to cut times when the time is right, so the universe isn't always going to do the work for us. There will always be a romantic partner or friend who wants to continue a relationship that clearly isn't healthy. In this case, it is up to you to be brave and brutally honest with both yourself and the other person. After many months of taking breaks and coming back together, I finally decided a friendship needed to go. Not only did I find this person to be consistently engaging in harmful behaviors in her own life, I found the toxicity showing up in friendship far too often. I kept forgiving her and returning to the fact that she is a good person, who is dealing with a lot of buried childhood trauma. However, I can't save anyone and allowing another person to continue acting out isn't serving them. It is actually quite the opposite.
Here are some questions I like to ask myself when I am wondering if a relationship serves me:
HOW DO I FEEL AFTER BEING IN THIS PERSON'S PRESENCE? - Simply put, do you feel tired or energized after hanging out with this person?
DOES THIS PERSON INSPIRE YOU? You are who you hang out with. There is just no way around this fact. I want friends and partners who inspire me to be a better artist, friend, woman and human of service. I want people who challenge me and aren't afraid to tell the truth. I want friends who love to travel, laugh, eat good food, do yoga and slumber party. I also want friends who are interested in different things than me, so that we can teach each other. What do you want?
WHAT IS THIS PERSON TEACHING ME? Every single relationship comes into our lives to teach us something. We will have so many teachers in our lives and not all of them are long term. When the lessons are learned, it may be time to move on. However, some will keep teaching you until it's time to leave the planet. Check in and see if this particular relationship has reached its expiration date.
ARE WE IN NEED OF A BREAK, RATHER THAN A BREAK UP? Maybe some space is all the relationship needs. Feel into it and listen to your intuition, instead of your mind. Sometimes taking time away from something can offer you clarity on why it isn't working. Since relationships are our greatest mirrors, this may be a chance for you to work on yourself. Running away from doing the work will only guarantee this lesson to show up again in a different person.
Best of luck navigating the waters of relationships.