How do you let go of negative people from your life?
Do you do so gently or cut them out harshly?
I previously wrote how decluttering your friends from your life is good for you and them.
This is great when friends are involved but what about when it’s an ex-lover or even a relative?
This is Day 26 of our “28 Day Relationships Adventure (DRA)” in February.
You can read all 28 articles which are listed at the bottom of this post.
Today I would like to briefly talk about the question of how we can let go of people gently from our lives with forgiveness and love.
A few days ago, a reader posed this question:-
What do you with relatives in your life who are basically very selfish? Keep them or let them go?
Firstly, remember the old adage that you can choose your friends but not your relatives!
Maybe our relatives are sent to truly test our mettle. And I know from personal experience, just how challenging even your siblings can be.
At the same time, maybe “they” are not the problem. Maybe, just maybe, it’s you!?
Friends come and go, relatives stay.
People do naturally drift in and out of our lives as we move on and grow on our own individual paths. So if you are open to new experiences and new people, you will always meet new people and make new friends.
But our biggest relationship challenges come from those people who are likely to be around us for the rest of our life – our relatives.
Firstly let’s look at the extreme scenario when you just have to let a loved one go.
Hard as it sounds, if one is in a dysfunctional family relationship, then there comes a time when you just have to let someone go. Even a close relative such as a parent.
To really get what I mean, please check out this story about how my friend Jennifer Gresham “fired” her father:-
It took a lot of courage to write about her experience, but her brave story will no doubt help others who are also struggling with such issues.
Personally, I cannot even imagine my relationship with my immediate family and parents ever being so dire that I would want to break off relations completely and for ever. So I can consider myself lucky.
In Jennifer’s case, her story is also a case of self-love, whereby you put your own needs and well-being before that of others.
If you are at all uncertain about what I mean by loving yourself, then check out again my article from day 2 of our relationship adventure – love yourself first before loving anyone else.
And of course, love yourself without becoming full of yourself!
What about our day to day interactions when we feel like breaking off a relationship with a partner, relative or a friend?
In her book, Marianne explains how the time when you are breaking up from someone is the moment you need to show greatest love towards them. She outlines how your breakup should be done in such a way that you almost fall in love with them all over again.
This is fine when it’s a romantic relationship you are letting go, but you can also bring this loving approach to anyone else – a relative, friend or work colleague.
Yes, even if you feel you have been mistreated, hard done by or taken advantage of, you CAN continue to be loving and kind to them and send them your love and best wishes for the future.
You are not condoning their actions – but you also don’t want to take any further negativity into your future life.
As Marianne also says, you can love someone but that doesn’t mean you still have to have their details in your rolodex!
Also, note that for most relationships and friendships, you don’t have to make a major drama of confronting the other person and “ending” it. Most friendships will just drift away of their own accord if you stop sustaining it.
At the same time, review just where YOU need to be different in this relationship!
Maybe THEY don’t need to change. Maybe it’s you who could be behaving in a different way.
Be open and courageous enough to look within yourself.
This approach of letting people go from your life and continuing to love them also applies to the world of social media.
For example, I have had to block some people from my Facebook profile and let them go as “friends” after they posted inappropriate messages on my wall.
I can still send them positive vibes and wish them well – and it doesn’t mean I should still keep them in my life or in this case my Facebook circle.
Conversely, I had a misunderstanding with a friend over a year ago on Facebook and she blocked me. Initially I was upset but then realised what a gift it was from her. I could continue to wish her well, even though we were no longer friend and not in each other’s lives.
Underlying all of this is not needing external relationships in our life in the first place to make us complete. When we look to our partners, friends or relatives to fulfil us in some way, there is always going to be challenges.
So the lesson is to show up in any relationship taking responsibility for your own happiness.
And when it comes to the crunch, and someone is just not right for you, then look deep within and decide whether it’s time to move on from that relationship or friendship.
What are your experiences of letting go of people? And how did you feel afterwards?
Daily Exercise for Today
For today’s exercise, look in your life and reflect on your relationship with the close people in your life.
I challenge you to honestly look at any relationship which is challenging you and one which you may have considered letting go in the past.
How can you be more loving and accepting in this relationship?
What can you do more for this person? How can you make this relationship better for you? How can you forgive and move forward?
If it comes to the crunch, are you willing and able to let this person go from your life?
Remember, be open, honest and courageous.
Great relationships start with YOU.
Finally check out the previous 25 articles in this series below.
28 Day Relationship Adventure
Postscript – Here are the complete 28 articles in this series from February 2011.
Please do check them all out:-)
Image courtesy of amy(mcd)lakhani