In the book (Unscribbling), I mention how:
“…problem solving and seeking your desires is not about changing other people. You can lead by example, but you can only change yourself… You can, however:
• Change how you relate and react to their behavior.
• Change the amount of contact you have with them.
• Change your attitude about the situation. (See Part 2, Chapter 7 – “Change Your Attitude.”)
I’d like to dig in a little deeper here into the second point here: changing the amount of contact you have with another. As we strive to make our lives all that we desire them to be, there will inevitably be people we are… well, not in alignment or agreement with. Now these people might be “Angelic Agitators” (see Spiritual Side Note: The bigger picture of struggles & “Angelic Agitators”), but they also might be here to make you clarify the type of people you really do want in your life.
The same way we can find what we do desire through our problems and struggles, we can also find the types of people we do want in our lives by examining our relationships and making conscious choices as to which relationships we work on and which ones we “write off” if necessary.
There are a couple of ways we need to give ourselves permission to possibly write someone off:
1. The natural way
Once you have identified your desires in life and start working towards them, it will be natural for some new people to come into your life and for some others to drop away. The ones that drop away will be the ones who are not in alignment with the new life you see for yourself. Who your close circle of friends are naturally changes over time as you evolve. This is natural.
2. The conscious choice way
Sometimes you need to pull the weeds from your garden to let the flowers grow. Some relationships are just not mutually supportive. As you think about what you desire in your life, you should also take the time to think about the types of people you would like to be in your life. Think about how you desire your relationships to look and feel, and who you want to invest your time with.
One of my desires for my relationships is to be in mutually supportive loving relationships. In order to make that come true, I needed to dump a few people (and clients) who did not fit bill.
This is a hard thing to do. We all want to be nice, see the best in all, and help people. (Women especially!) But some people are users and drags. Some people thrive on complaining and us fawning over them. They get energy from it. (See Spiritual Side Note: The “Poor Me” drama from the Celestine Prophecy) This is where you need to consciously spend less time with certain people. You need to give yourself permission to “write them off” entirely, or as much as possible.
You may also need to stop confusing people “needing” you with them loving you. At the time it may feel good to be needed, but don’t confuse “need” with love. Loving mutually supportive relationships go both ways. The more I looked at some of my relationships, the more I could see that some were not mutually supportive and that was not love. In some I was being sucked down by constant complainers, in some I was only in their lives when it was convenient for them, in some I was actually being manipulated and taken advantage of. Those relationships did not fulfill my desires. I needed to write some of these people off. You may need to do this too.
So, right here and now, I am giving YOU permission to stop maintaining some of your relationships. Seriously, you now officially have permission to write some people off. You probably have not given yourself permission before, but now you have it!
Don’t you just feel lighter thinking about it? Some people are users, opportunists, chronic complainers, drama kings & queen, or just out for themselves. Guess what – you can let them go.
It may be hard to do. It was VERY hard for me to let some of these friends go. Very hard, as I still love and care about them and wish them well. Now, however, since all my time and energy is not being sucked into their non-stop drama abyss, I have more time for the more well balanced relationships that I have. This is incredibly freeing.
Through various rumor mills, I have heard that all of the people I have written off are miraculously still alive and doing well without me to help them out through every bump in the road. I say, “miraculously” as my ego would almost prefer that they did fall apart to prove how valuable I was to them. Ha! That is just my ego talking though. I am very happy that they are all doing well (or the same) as before. I am even more glad to hear about it from afar.
Don’t give anyone permission to take advantage of you. Give yourself permission to walk away from a relationship if it is not a healthy relationship for you.
Remember, work to change only yourself. That may mean limiting the amount of contact you have with some people in order to create the life you truly desire. You can choose your actions and reactions. And, remember…
“No one can take advantage of you without your permission.”
– Ann Landers
Foster the good relationships and let the bad ones go.
Takeaway: Not all relationships are worth your time. You need to focus on the kind of life you desire and the kinds of people you want in your inner circle. That may mean letting some people go.
Keeping this in mind, your desire may change from,
I desire to be the best friend I can be
I desire to be in well-balanced relationships that are mutually beneficial to all involved.