Knowing when to let go of a relationship

When I was younger, my mother would always tell me to be careful of the company I kept and I would always brush it off as superstition or useless advice that didn’t apply to me. But the older I got, the more I saw the truth in what she said. If you sleep with dogs, you’re liable to get fleas… if you surround yourself with bad people, don’t be surprised when bad things follow you around too.

Photo by Luis Quintero on

The way I see it now, is that we should always strive to surround ourselves with people who inspire us and encourage us to be our best selves. People who support our dreams, our desires to do better, and accept that we know what’s best for us. If they can’t do that, then it’s time to let them go.

The journey to self-improvement can mean losing people along the way who no longer serve our energy. It’s difficult to move forward with people who only see our past. They don’t see our changes, value the work we have been putting in and it can seem like they’re counting scores. It’s hard to be around them because they constantly remind us of who we once were and will never let us forget it. Which makes it even harder on ourselves because this person who is supposed to be our friend, is essentially saying ‘you can never change’. It’s disheartening and incredibly demotivating to be around that type of energy. It drags us down and it can bring out the worst in us, the parts that we have been trying so hard to change.

It can feel like we are at opposing ends with that friend. In reality, it just means we’ve outgrown the relationship. So what should we do?

Cutting people off can be cathartic, but I feel like that is so permanent and it doesn’t leave room for any closure on what had been a meaningful relationship. We owe it to ourselves and the other person (to an extent) to at least explain our feelings and why it is necessary to distance ourselves from the relationship. The only way people can know they have hurt us, is if we tell them… Otherwise, they will carry on in ignorance.

Now, this may not always work or be a beneficial act, it can be too painful to address. It’s totally your call what you do. Sometimes, severing ties completely with no rhythm or rhyme is necessary. Sometimes people don’t deserve an explanation if you have continually tried in the past. Sometimes it is better to cut ties than to try and preserve something that used to be. That’s okay too.

Photo by Maik Kleinert on

Both ways accomplish the same goal. It’s acknowledging that trying to hold on to what was instead of accepting what is in the here and now was hurting us. It’s accepting that a relationship cannot last if we’re not on the same page with each other. It’s prioritising our sanity and energy.

When we step away from relationships that hinder our well-being and growth, we open ourselves to new and happier possibilities.

2 thoughts on “Knowing when to let go of a relationship

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