Relationships can be a blessing and a curse. Everything for a reason or a season comes springing to mind. This year has been an interesting journey for me. I’ve experienced many periods and areas of growth. I went back to school, bringing with it a new set of friendships. I learned some hard lessons, letting relationships fade to the background, and I made an effort to move away from negativity and drama and resettle back into a place of peace and serenity. But in order to get there, I had to make some tough decisions.
We all have a limited amount of energy, think money in the bank. Where we choose to spend it should be ‘our choice,’ but sometimes we get so caught up in other people’s circuses that we start looking after their monkeys without even realizing it. When we spend our energy on negative people, we get depleted. We run on fumes. It’s exhausting looking after everyone else’s needs and letting our own take a backseat. The bank account drops into the red pretty easily. What are we doing to pull it back inline, to receive a return on our investment?
If the relationship depletes us, then it’s a detrimental use of our energy. If the relationship lifts us up, makes us feel loved and cherished, then it’s a good investment. Relationships can bring a lot of joy and incredible happiness, but the ones that drag us into drama, heartache or struggle need to be exorcised. And I do mean exorcised. We need to lift up and out our sense of obligation, fear and/or guilt. No one needs that shit. We need to let it go.
Relationships are not obligatory—not even within our own blood family. All relationships must be a mutually beneficial, two-way, give-and-take endeavour. Each person should feel valued and appreciated. We should never stay in a negative relationship out of feelings of guilt, nor should we be holding onto toxic relationships merely out of fear of loneliness. My experience has taught me that once you get rid of negativity, life has a great way of bringing in positive experiences to fill the void—things we genuinely want and need in our lives. But we have to open up space to receive it.
Loneliness frightens a lot of people into accepting negativity. We’re so afraid of being on our own, alone with our own thoughts that we hold onto relationships that have long outlived their value. Letting go and moving on can be a scary leap. It requires faith that things will work out for the better. Think about decisions you’ve made that were frightening at the time, moments that felt overwhelming, where the outcome was uncertain. If you look back on those moments, did everything work out? Most do. And even if they didn’t seem to at the time, can you see how they led to growth, or pushed you in a new direction, or offered a new perspective? Can you see how those results can be viewed as positive as well? They may not have taken the path you had hoped for, but in the end, something positive still resulted from them—even if it’s only proof that you can overcome hardships and adversity.
The point is, we don’t have the ability of hindsight when we’re knee-deep in a situation. It takes time and distance to gain a little perspective. But if you take the leap and remove negative relationships and negative people from your life, you’ll find you have more energy, a greater sense of self and what makes you happy, and you’ll move closer to finding people who align with your beliefs and values. A positive relationship pays dividends and you’ll be richer for it.
Let ‘em keep their monkeys.