Sunday, April 1, 2012

How to End a Bad Relationship

Emotional Surgery
As longtime readers already know, I've learned to be very selective about how, when, where and with whom I burn mental and emotional calories. Oftentimes that means spending less time with certain people. Sometimes that means making the painful decision to cut certain people out of your life completely. It can be difficult to sever longstanding relationships for any number of reasons. In the past, I have struggled with feelings of guilt for not being more supportive or a "bigger" person. What I've learned is there is a difference between supporting and enabling. Or to put it another way, you are not serving someone by allowing their bad behavior to continue. If you really want to serve others, especially those you love, you have to make the consequences of their decisions real to them. And I stress the word decisions, for it is our decisions, not our circumstances or conditions that makes us who and what we are.

Ascension into the Unknown by Neithee
Finding the Strength to Make a Change
It's certainly not an easy process. There is always a compulsion to stick with the known, even though it is making us miserable, over the unknown. You have to convince yourself that you are creating a better reality not only for yourself but the person you are ending the relationship with in order to feel you've "done the right thing."

I do this by asking these very simple questions:
  • Is spending time with this person bringing me some measure of bliss, however fleeting?
  • More importantly, am I growing from the time I've spent with this person?
  • If not, would I begin to grow if we simply interacted on a different level?
  • Am I helping this person grow by spending time with them?
  • Am I otherwise serving this person by continuing this relationship?
When you go down the list and check "No" in every box, it's time to get the hell out of there at any cost, be it personal or professional. It's not about making them "wrong" or the bad guy. It's about refocusing your emotional energy in a way that serves you and those you love.

"Everything you are against weakens you. Everything you are for strengthens you."

"There is no way to happiness—happiness is the way."
—Wayne Dyer

Focus on growing, for without growth, there can be no enduring bliss. If the people around you are not helping you grow, you need to distance yourself from them. Or at least, until they show you they are at least trying to evolve and assist you in doing the same. It may be painful to cut people you've known for years, family members even, completely out of your life...but consider it life saving emotional surgery.

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