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Letting Go of the Ties that Bind you

Green Box Tied with Brown String

The Perfect Christmas Gift for Yourself

The Christmas season is the time of year we specifically give gifts away to others. We rejoice in making it through another twelve months and spend time with those we love. It is supposed to symbolize the end of the year and nearing the beginning of a new one. In reaching this moment, it is good to contemplate how we want to live going forward.

           One thing to consider in this holiday season is to give ourselves something as well. Many individuals will sacrifice everything for family, friends, and their jobs but leave themselves absolutely nothing. In the end, some folks are relieved that Christmas is over due to their tank being empty.

           In certain instances, this means there is an imbalance in our relationships. Whatever we are putting in, it does not get adequately reciprocated. It tends to come out where we invest far more into people who need to contribute equally to making things work. Particularly with family and friends, we sometimes come away worse for the wear with each and every interaction.

Woman and Man Sitting on Brown Wooden Bench
Photo by Vera Arsic:

How do we handle this situation when we can no longer ignore that reality?

           The gift we can give ourselves is permission to let go. An insistence to discontinue the current pattern of our harmful interactions with particular family and friends. To begin to change how we have behaved and went along with the dysfunction. Our need for acceptance and wanting to fit in can have us stay with people longer than is suitable for everyone involved. Establishing boundaries for ourselves can relieve the pressure of continuing to grin and bear it for the façade of unity.

           However, I’m not saying you must completely cut people out of your lives (but you can distance yourself from unhealthy relationships, especially if your boundaries are not respected). I am suggesting permission to do things differently and not stay with something out of guilt for past compliance. Learning from experiences makes us human; shaming yourself for past errors only keeps you stuck.

           While the ability to let go of problematic family and friends is not easy, it’s essential to reflect on a couple of trues:  

  • None of us has control over our family of origin. It is entirely the luck of the draw. 
  • Friends usually come from the neighborhood one grew up in or institutions one attends consistently (church, school, work, etc).  
Group of People Making Toast
Photo by fauxels:

Accepting those two points leads us to the reality that, as children, we do not have a choice in our family or institutions where we will meet our friends. Adults have many opportunities to decide whom they want in their lives. As we age, it becomes family and friends of choice, not an obligation.

            As cold as it may sound, some of our family members and friends we have met over the years are so destructive that staying around them almost guarantees your demise. That is something you owe to no one, especially those who are too self-absorbed to notice or care what they do to others.

           Developing the relationships, we want for ourselves in adulthood is vital. We will spend the remaining years we have on this planet with these people. That means those individuals need to have redeeming qualities. The kind of people who reciprocate your work and value you as a human being.

           There is concern about getting rid of people out of our lives for fear that we’ll spend most of our time alone. Although, the equally crucial question is, how much will it cost us emotionally (or physically) to keep destructive family and friends in our lives only because we are afraid of loneliness?

Vertis Williams is a Positive Habits Life Coach and a Mindfulness Trainer. He is a regular presenter at employee and team-development events. Contact him to request more info on his Workshops or on his Coaching Services! Click HERE to Request a Complimentary Habit Coaching Session!

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