This post is an honest post for everyone who may have been or currently are in a similar situation. This post is also my first one after months of hiatus as it felt right for my heart to take a break from blogging. During this break, I also faced few situations when I had to end friendships - friendships that were long, friendships that were valuable at a particular point in time, friendships that stopped nurturing both sides. I want to share my learnings with you, so you, too, know that it is more than ok to choose your own (mental) health first, whatever this means.
1. When your gut is talking, listen to it - it is always right.
I had a friend, who was there for me during my lowest lows in life and was one one my closest friends. We supported and inspired each other - I will never forget how our friendship helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don`t know what it eventually was, but a side-effect of being so invested in personal development is that you sooner or later start to grow - and potentially apart from your friends, even your closest. With increased self-awareness and inner work, you not only get to know yourself better, but also learn more about your values in life and relationships. One of my values is mindfulness - in communication, in awareness, and appreciation towards life.
There were moments in our friendship that were suddenly disturbing - as relationships build on both sides, I know that one part was clearly on me. However, if this feeling of feeling drained, not understood, being absorbed is repeating over and over again - then it is time to look closer and be honest about this relationship. Your gut (i.e. heart / higher force / etc.) knows what is right for you - even if your mind is battling to convince you that it is safer to stay in this relationship. At the end, who wants to be lonely? But - if you don`t listen to it, the situation will emerge again until it explodes!
2. Don`t feel bad about how you feel - esp. don`t let your "friend" make you feel bad for it!
When I realized it was not working - after observing many, many meetings, phone calls, and messages silently - I chose to communicate it openly. When we had our last argument, this friend even requested to have such an open communication next time, so I asked for one. What happened is that she avoided it and accused me of my own feelings - this is a clear sign to distant yourself from people, who project their own fears and weaknesses on you, esp. if you just want to openly express your feelings. This projection of own feelings on others is also something that does not honour my value of mindfulness. Mindfulness teaches us to be with our own emotions - even if we feel hurt, disappointed, angry - because these are feelings of our own, and only triggered by an external event.
What those people also often don`t realize is that if we would stay in this relationship, we would not feel worse for ourselves, but also be not a good friend for them! But in their own hurt, they may not be able to see this from a bird`s eye view, so as Buddhism invites us, we can still choose compassion for these people in hurt (without being friends with them). And to be honest - you don`t have to justify anything to anyone.
3. There is no loneliness if you choose to not anymore spend time with the wrong people.
When I realized it was not working, I chose myself over the friendship. While it may sound selfish, I am, in fact, the only person who knows myself best and who has the responsibility to take care of my own wellbeing - no one else will do it (as effectively as I can). Even if there is such a person, long-term, we neither want to be dependent on them, nor ask too much from them.
What I have also honestly observed (already before) that I don´t miss these people, which may sound harsh. But this does not mean that we diminish the value of our friendships - we still do, but sometimes it is just not the right time anymore to be friends with each other. If it harms you more than it nurtures, it is time to graciously give thanks and let go. To also make room for your soul and other guides that can enter your life.
How have you dealt with changing friendships? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I would be very keen to hear your views! :) PS: Subscribe to my Newsletter to stay in touch for any upcoming posts and news :)
This week`s ...
Inspiration: Brandon Stanton - Humans of New York
Reflection: Are you surrounded by people, who nurture, love, and inspire you?
Intention: Give thanks to all people, who have come to your life, and look forward to new fellows supporting your growth.