All too often we trap ourselves in relationships, partnerships and commitments that no longer serve us. The friend that’s quick to take, but never gives. The business partner who nods in agreement, but undermines behind closed doors. The dreaded weekly commitment you still honor even though its diverted from your beliefs months ago.
We daydream of letting go, but never do. Not because we can’t, but because we won’t. Unfortunately, emotional shackles are much harder to shake than the shiny metal ones. So how do know when the time is right to let go?
The Relationship is Toxic
Is the relationship doing more damage than good? We all have a cross to bear and struggles to face on our own. If you’re constantly juggling your own dramas PLUS those of a friend, you’re just slowly killing yourself. Humans are relational beings and strife in our relationships take a significant toll on our well-being. Take a look at the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, the top 3 stressful events in life ALL relate to our social lives. They include death of a spouse, divorce and marital separation. Personal injury and illness is down at number 6. Don’t get me wrong, relationships take work and I’m all for second chances. However, if the relationship is consistently negative, abusive and draining it might be time to hit the door.
You’re Constantly Editing Yourself
Personal and professional relationships need to be based on mutual respect and acceptance. You may not always agree with your colleague, but you should at least respect their viewpoint. If you’re having a hard time supporting their ideas, goals or aspirations consider parting ways. Change can be scary and we have a tendency to cling to situations that no longer serve us. However, if you’re constantly editing your conversations, holding back on your true passions and candy coating viewpoints- who is benefiting? Neither one of you. You’re simply delaying the inevitable by sacrificing your true purpose and misleading them in the process. That’s hardly a win/win scenario. Part ways while things can still be amicable.
The Feeling Isn’t Mutual
Relationships are about give and take. Rarely ever is that give and take exactly 50/50. It’s usually more like 90/10 some days and 40/60 others. And that’s okay? But if your entire relationship is in the 90/10 zone you desperately need to re-evaluate. It’s easy to fall into the trap of helping someone in need with good intentions, but your relationship shouldn’t have that same dynamic years later. If you’re constantly giving, you’ll end up nowhere but EMPTY. The relationship “well” needs to be replenished for it to maintain a healthy flow about it. If you’re being drained dry, cut your losses and let go.
You’re Living in the Past
Ask yourself, “Is this person making me happy, helping me grow?” Go beyond yes or no and jot down specific instances. How many of those moments are recent and how many are rooted in the past? While its commendable your BFF helped you move 5 years ago, that act doesn’t justify the relationship these days especially when you’ve been dodging her for months. Stop torturing yourself over a perceived indebtedness and cut the cord. And why not take the high road while you’re at it? Join her for coffee, give a small token of appreciation, and a heartfelt thank you (yet again) for the kindness she displayed years ago. She’ll appreciate the gesture and you’ll unlock the emotional shackles that have been draining you.
You Feel Insecure
This one is a toughie. We need to surround ourselves with people that we admire, encourage us to be a better person, and ultimately help us grow. Out of respect for their accomplishments, we may feel slightly insecure. Perfectly normal. However, if the person is making your feel inadequate or off-balance, that’s a completely different story. You know the type. Their words are encouraging but their actions lacking. The compliments usually end with a “but…” And they’re experts at congratulating you in one breath, but taking you down a notch in the next. “That’s awesome you made a $1 million sale! …but too bad it wasn’t $2 million like so-and-so’s, better luck next time right? Great job tho…” Uh huh. Sound familiar? Run. Don’t walk.
I know exercises like this aren’t easy. No one wants to hurt feelings or to have their feelings hurt. But sometimes letting go is the best thing for both parties? Know your worth and don’t settle for relationships that aren’t honoring that value. Respect yourself enough to let go.
Can you relate to this? Do you have a story to share about letting go? Join in the comments below!