My relationships with my family and friends are the most meaningful, important parts of my life.
In fact, I’d say having high quality, intimate, authentic, healthy, and emotionally mature relationships is my top life value. I proactively work at my relationships — on communicating openly, on listening actively, and on devoting quality time with the people I care about.
When conflicts happen in a relationship, I’m often the first person to reach out and attempt to heal the relationship problem. I’m quick to forgive, and I hope I’m quick to ask for forgiveness when I’ve messed up.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, acted immaturely, had knee-jerk, ego-driven reactions, and gotten angry enough to slam doors and stomp my feet. You wouldn’t have to dig around far to find people who would testify to my relationship mishaps. But in general, I have a pretty solid emotional intelligence score when it comes to nurturing happy, healthy connections, and I take pride in my relating skills.
A description I discovered of my personality type (INFJ) articulates precisely how I feel about relationships:
“In general, the INFJ is a deeply warm and caring person who is highly invested in the health of their close relationships, and puts forth a lot of effort to make them positive. They are valued by those close to them for these special qualities. They seek long-term, lifelong relationships, although they don’t always find them.”
That’s why for me, letting go of a relationship is particularly difficult. In fact, up until a few years ago, I couldn’t imagine myself making the decision to release a relationship altogether. My mantra has always been, “We can work it out.” And sometimes for me, “working it out” meant acquiescing, stuffing my true feelings, or tolerating things that deep inside I did’t want to tolerate.
Then one day I could no longer do that. Well, it wasn’t just one day — it happened over a few years. I got to the point in my self-awareness, or reached some internal shift, where I knew I had to let go of some relationships. The pain of dissonance, differences, and responding inauthentically outweighed my desire to keep “working it out.”
Letting go of a relationship is painful — even if it is draining you, holding you back, blinding you to your true self, or worse yet, toxic or abusive.We invest a lot in our friendships, our marriages, our business partners, and our family members. And most often it is one of these close relationships, a person or people with whom we’ve been intimately, deeply involved for many years, that cause us the most pain and turmoil.
At some point in one of your relationships, you will reach the point where the pain and difficulty outweigh the positives — where the consequences of letting go seem less daunting than the reality of staying put.
The decision threshold is different for every individual. And certainly the type of relationship can set the threshold. It is usually harder to let go of a marriage that involves children than it is, say, a business partnership or friendship. However, there are some universal themes of discord in any relationship that lead to the realization it’s time to say goodbye.
Here are some of these themes:
Verbal, emotional, or physical abuse
Whether it’s a spouse, a parent, or a friend, if someone is abusing you in some way — through physical actions, psychological games, or consistently cruel words — it’s time to let them go. In many cases of abuse, the abuser has whittled away at the self-esteem and confidence of the abused, making it much more difficult for the abused person to leave. Especially in a marital context, these situations are very complex and usually require the intervention and support of a trained counselor to help extricate the abused person. But unless they leave the relationship, the abused person will continue to be fearful, full of self-doubt, and constantly anxious and stressed. And as long as you remain in an abusive relationship, the abuser will continue his or her bad behavior.
Consistent dishonestly, disloyalty, or deceit
Most close relationships can survive the occasional incident of lying or dishonest behavior. Even some marriages can survive a one-time affair with counseling and healing. But consistent, repetitive instances of dishonesty or disloyalty suggest the person involved has an issue of character and integrity that cannot be overcome. If you’ve addressed this issue many times over the years, and the behavior continues, you will not be true to yourself and your own integrity to remain connected to this person. No matter how many positive qualities they may have, consistent deceit will chip away at your respect for them and for yourself.
Divergent core values
If you and your loved one have wildly differing core values on your most important life principles, you simply will not have a peaceful and mutually supportive relationship. Some less intimate relationships (like a friendship) can handle this, especially if each person is respectful of the other’s values and life decisions around those values. But for those relationships where the two people impact each other on a daily basis, finding a middle ground for making decisions, choosing a lifestyle, raising children, managing money, making business decisions, etc., can be impossible. It requires one or both people to compromise in areas where they simply can’t or shouldn’t compromise.
There are some relationships where you and the other person simply clash. You are like oil and water. There’s something about the other person that brings out the worst in you and vice versa. Often this happens with extended family members, siblings, or friendships that have never been quite right, but you’ve hung on because you feel bad about letting go. There’s a general air of toxicity about the relationship that hangs around despite your best efforts to “make it work.” For your own peace of mind, it’s best to step back from a toxic relationship and admit it simply wasn’t meant to be.
Consistent, harmful irresponsibility
If you’re in a business relationship, marriage, or partnership with someone who’s consistently irresponsible, it will eventually undermine your love and respect for this person. If their irresponsible actions relate to finances, life obligations, or raising children together, you will be directly impacted in detrimental ways. No matter how much you care for this person, eventually you can no longer tolerate their unwillingness or inability to step up to the plate and maturely handle their responsibilities. You simply can’t allow one person to undermine the other fundamental parts of your life.
Refusal to communicate, address problems, or invest
There are some people in relationships unwilling to communicate, address difficulties, or actively work on the relationship. They allow it to languish or worse, actively resist any attempt you might make to work on improving the relationship. They find it too painful or complicated to communicate openly, or they simply haven’t learned the skills of healthy communication. Or perhaps they aren’t invested enough in the connection to make an effort. Regardless of the reason, when there’s only one person making an effort, it’s not really a relationship.
If you see yourself and one of your relationships in any of these themes, it might be time to consider letting it go. Letting go is painful and sometimes very complicated, but in the end, you must ask yourself if the positives outweigh the negatives; if the connection is lifting you up or dragging you down; if you feel better with or without this person. Ultimately, the most important relationship you must save is the one you have with yourself.
How have you known it was time to let go of a relationship? What realizations or self-awareness did you embrace in order to make the difficult decision? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Whether it is a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, husband, wife, or father figure, our fantastical and idealistic notions elevate them from mere mortal to something entirely different. We let them take on the role of superhuman and superheroes. They become figures in our lives who are incapable of mistakes and bad choices.
There is that moment in our life where the expectations, ideals, and fantasies that we have created for them, collide together and come crashing down on top of us. The person we love, respect, and honor with every fiber of our being, betrays us with their imperfections.
Whether it is a father figure who doesn’t follow through with their promise, an wife who has an affair, an uncle who cracks open our piggy bank, or a friend who goes back on his word, it is a moment that redefines the way we view them and the way we view the world. We feel the devastation of their decisions. We take it personally and we hold it against them. We can let that one defining moment change the way we interact with others, cloud our judgment, or affect who we trust.
Out of all of the movies I have seen over the years, Crash is still the one movie that has had the most impact on my life. In most movies, we have good and bad characters. They remain that way from beginning to end. In Crash, the question of who is good and who is bad is blurred throughout the movie. Characters teeter on that line, fall over, and then jump over to the other side. It is a movie that shows that bad people do good things and good people do bad things. So much so, that there is no clear line that delineates who falls in what category We are all a combination of our choices, good and bad.
Life is full of disappointments. It is also full of people who make bad decisions. But it is also full of beautiful words, phrases, moments, and memories. School teachers, doctors, lawyers, construction workers, students, and even parents and family members…..all of us have made decisions that we regret. We are all imperfect. Everything and everyone has beautiful and dark moments. A blue, cloudless sky can become a hurricane. A spring breeze can become a tornado. An autumn tree with red, yellow, orange and green colors, can eventually be stripped of everything but it’s bark. Fathers can disappoint you, uncles can steal, a wife can cheat and a cousin can lie. But we shouldn’t completely write them off because of it.
The people we love can’t be perfect all of the time. We have to learn how to eat the fish and leave the bones. In other words, we don’t throw out the entire meal because we have come across a “bone”. Instead, we take the lessons and knowledge that we need from the people we care about, and leave everything else on the plate. The people we love will sometimes disappoint us, as we will disappoint them. Everyone is a character in Crash and the sooner we embrace that, the easier disappointment becomes for us to understand and handle.
Positive thinking has been very often understood and used in a wrong connotation. People abuse the power of this great practice and suggest that it will attract you money, wealth and abundance. “Be positive and you’ll have anything you want!”
No you will not! That’s nonsense, and that’s NOT the purpose of exercising your mind to think this way.
This is exactly one of the main criticisms for the movie “The Secret”. Just by feeling good you can’t have anything you want – that is a LIE – Period!
The benefits of thinking and feeling positive emotions however, are actually very beneficial and they will trigger other positive phenomena in your life:
You’ll put both your spirit and body in a phenomenal vibration. Happiness and joy will radiate from you everywhere you go. Life will seem much better. Your attitude will improve immensely and in turn it will improve the world’s attitude towards you.
The reward is a blissful life full with enthusiasm and inspiration! Also, it will certainly help you in your financial endeavors…however… just the positive thinking alone won’t earn you any money…
These are some of the great practices that will put you on the right track in life:
1. Start Singing Even If You’re Bad Singer Whenever life hits you hard or you experience a disappointment, start singing. As simple as that… Pick a song that really makes you feel great and start playing it in your head until all worries and stress go away.
The song can be one which makes you feel happy. It can be one which provokes laughter and joy in your heart. Is there any song that you can think of which simply puts a smile on your face, every single time you hear it? Probably a song you used to love when you were young child?
Good music has always been, and will always be a great tool for changing the mood. It will never fail to make you more positive so consider singing whenever you can.
2. Turn “Belly Breathing” Into a Habit Did you know that our consciousness is highly connected to our way of breathing? Namely, yogis and monks have discovered a long time ago, that our thoughts are directly connected to the way we breathe.
When we start breathing slowly and deep in our belly, by exploiting 100% of our lungs capacity, our thoughts seem to slow down and we become more relaxed. Therefore, this is used in almost every meditative technique. Life simply slows down, all stress leaves both the mind and body and the individual who breathes this way gains clarity and mindfulness.
This practice will not only calm you down, it will affect your health, your overall blood circulation, it will boost the activity of your brain and it will never fail to improve your mood.
Breathing is the essence of life, so start doing it properly.
Simply start exercising this until it becomes a constant habit. Breathe deep in your belly and fill it like a balloon. Instead of inhaling shallow breaths in the chest only, expand your belly as much as you can.
The longer you practice this technique, the deeper and more effective your breaths will become. Your consciousness will clear and clarity and inner peace will take place.
This will never fail to boost your overall positivity!
3. Smile and Laugh More Often Assuming that smiling and laughter are the opposite of crying and feeling bad or negative, just by forcing this into your life, you can’t avoid not feeling good.
Our body is the instrument of our mind, but it is also true that our thoughts and attitude are very much related to our body because of the way we operate. We tend to think and feel by what we see, hear, taste, smell and touch.
So if you smile, you can instantly feel it and your mind will respond to this. You will start feeling good and positive. It will not only lift up your mood, it will affect everyone else that comes in contact with you.
You can decide to smile just for the sake of it, or you can think of an situation, an event, a person or literally anything that puts a big smile on your face. Either one of them will work very well.
You can just go over to your mirror, look at yourself and force yourself to laugh. This works extremely well. Very soon, it will become contagious and you won’t be able to stop it.
Let’s try this right now…
Think of a little toddler trying to walk. He is learning to walk outside in the yard of his parent’s house, and there’s a little puppy waiting for him just a few meters away from him.
As he is walking, he is pointing to the puppy with his tiny little fingers and he suddenly falls like a ball on the grass. He tries to stand up but there’s not a force on earth that will help him in doing just that, he simply keeps falling down again and again.
Everybody laughs and enjoys the picture. Finally our little toddler manages somehow to stand on his tiny feet and starts walking like a penguin towards the puppy. The moment he comes to him, he tries to kiss him with his little lips and again, as he bends down, he loses control and falls on the ground next to the puppy. The puppy even gets scared and jumps from fear.
Now I just totally made all that up… I couldn’t think of anything else that could make me smile at the moment. If you’re like most people, you’d probably smile when having the picture of the little toddler learning how to walk.
After thinking about this I feel very good. Very positive as well…You can do the same!
Have in mind that laughter and smiling can also cure diseases and depression! That’s already scientifically proven… Smile more often and your positivity will keep increasing more and more every time you do it.
4. Make Your Surroundings Highly Positive What are your friends and the people you associate with like? Is their nature positive? Are they being fun and humorous or not really?
Good company always helps! If you happen to be around negative and depressive people, you can afford to change your lifestyle. Assuming the fact that we feel what’s going on around us and that as mentioned earlier, we go by what we see, hear, smell, taste and touch – it is very important that your surrounding is highly positive, because you will receive this energy. It will affect you every single time!
5. Engage in Meditation and Yoga The title says it all. These two activities will never fail to boost your positivity. They will help you to gain control over your thoughts and your awareness will be heightened.
You will become aware of the present moment and what’s going on in your mind. Positive thoughts will become natural as you practice these skills.
6. Make Walking Outdoors a Habit Although very simple, the effect of this single activity can be powerful. I am working from home and most of the time I am in front of my computer.
Sometimes this can get overwhelming and the first thing I do is going outdoors.
I walk for 40 min. in the nearest park and just observe the people, birds, trees and so on. When I come back I am a completely new person!
I have two times more energy and I am working 3 times more productive.
Even studies show that this activity can boost your mood to a great extent. Just do it and see the results!
7. Be Helpful To Others You know, it’s not all about you. I realized this not very long time ago. While I’ve never been too much egoistic in nature, I always cared for my feelings and my interests.
When I tried for a moment to completely shift my attention to other people’s needs and REALLY try to help them (from the bottom of my heart), what came back to me was quite shocking.
Help other people and truly care. Don’t do it just for the sake of it, but really show some empathy and compassion. Try putting yourself in their skin and view the world through their perception. Then, do your best to help them.
You have no idea what this can do for you…
Some ideas to help you get started can include:
Visiting the orphanage and do something special for the kids. Make them happy and prepare some intriguing surprise.
The next time you go with the subway or when you’re on a bus, be kind and give your seat to a person that needs it more than you do.
Go in the local supermarket buy some bread, some salami and cheese, get some fruits and bottles of fresh water and perhaps some extra ingredients you’ll need. Prepare some tasty sandwiches and then go to any shelter with homeless people and give it to them wholeheartedly.
8. Express Gratitude 3 Times a Day Create your gratitude journal or simply write on a sheet of paper 10 things that you’re grateful for. Then read this list 3 times in the day – in the morning, at noon and at night.
The more things you can include in the list – the better. These things should make you feel good and positive about yourself and life in general.
Gratefulness is the secret to a peaceful, happy and positive lifestyle!
9. Understand that You’re Responsible for Everything That Happens To You You cannot blame others for the results you get in your life. All our results come as a direct result of our actions and behavior in life. Our actions and behavior on the other hand – is the direct result of our thoughts and feelings.
Only you have the power to control your attitude comprised of your thoughts and feelings. You choose what you give your attention to, so instead of whining and complaining, stop blaming the circumstances, the government, the economy and God knows what else not.
It is your fault that you’ve let these things, people and events influence you, so you can afford to stop it. Take full responsibility, and your life will become much more positive!
10. Make a Contribution and Start Volunteering Now here I live up to you to be creative. Think of the ways you can improve your community. Perhaps help in cleaning the streets in your neighborhood? What about helping individuals in the local library?
This one will be bizarre but certainly interesting – how about to visit prisoners and just help in making contact? Perhaps you’ll befriend them and make their day better?
Remember – the more you give in life, the more it comes back. Life will always reward you tenfold for every good thing you do. Decide how you can give back to the community, and then just do it!
Positivity will become your natural mindset that seems to make you company at all times.
11. Give Compliments On a Regular Basis If criticizing makes people feel bad – then the opposite which is giving compliments has to make them feel good. Not only will it make the person you compliment feel amazing, it will come back to you as well!
When was the last time you gave a sincere compliment to someone which comes straight from the heart?
If you can’t remember it, maybe it is about time to consider doing this the next time you see someone on the street.
Remember, if you’re looking for the good sides in others, this is a reflection of the good sides in you. And please don’t do this just for the sake of it… Be really genuine and honest when you compliment people!
12. Exercise and Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health Yes, this is important. Pick any activity that you love and exercise regularly.
You can run, hike, go in the gym, take classes in martial arts and heck, your imagination is the only limit!
Not only will you be more fresh and energetic, your mood will change accordingly as well! There’s no way how this activity cannot make you feel positive.
Just do it!
To Conclude Most of the time, we are being surrounded with a ton of negativity in our lives. We’re constantly being bombarded with pressure and stressful situations, but it is our choice how we are going to respond to them.
We can choose to take responsibility and decide to be in full control over our attitude…or…we can live day by day, and let the waves of life take us wherever they want to go.
I certainly won’t recommend the second option!
Choose to live your life the way YOU want to live it! Stop being a victim of outside circumstances and decide to gain a positive outlook on life.
And remember – it is the small things that make all the difference! So take a deep breath right now, and say how grateful you are for everything in your life!
On the road to success not many people talk about the challenges they’ve failed at along the way. They make success look very easy, but you never get to see how much they persisted and pushed forward despite the hurdles.
I’m no exception. In my road to success there have been many obstacles, and while giving my middle finger to those obstacles, I made a new friend.
That friend is a four letter word that has helped me to keep moving forward. Any time my engine stalled as a result of a failure, this one amazingly powerful word always managed to kick start my engine again.
The word is simple; it’s ‘NEXT’.
NEXT is a powerful, single word, mantra to employ when things don’t go the way you intend. (Although you can never not intend a thing that happens.) But when it feels that way, that is the word to use.
Learn to use this word often. Keep it in your arsenal. It will keep your moving forward and focussed on the future rather stuck on the past results and always using to hindsight to think about what else you could’ve done.
Hindsight is okay, but I believe that when it really comes to the crunch, and you face the same hurdles, you’ll make the right decisions.
Rather than looking back at the past, focus on the next event. Sure, you can evaluate and get feedback, but then to move on as quickly as possible, and in order do that say the word NEXT. While you’re saying NEXT picture in your mind how you would like the subsequent opportunity to go. Visualise what you’re going to do differently the next time an event occurs
If you get turned down for a job or business opportunity, say NEXT; if you get turned for a date, say NEXT; if you you lose a client, say NEXT!
If you focus on the failures of the past too much you’re more likely to repeat them.
“One often meets his/her destiny on the path to avoid it” – Master Oogway (Kung Fu Panda)
A female friend said something wonderful recently. She said “if you hold onto these things and don’t move on, you allow them to live rent-free in your mind” and she’s absolutely right.
When you say the word next suddenly your mind will become very clear; kind of like when your ring a meditation gong.
Welcome failures, don’t be afraid of them and if anything here’s another bonus mantra to add! Quite simply put add these words: BRING IT! "NEXT"!
Frustration. It winds you up and can take so much out of you.
Because it not only sucks energy but also distracts you and can steal quite a bit of time.
So what can you do?
Well, sometimes that frustration can actually be a positive and can give you a new idea or angle on things. Or it can give you the power to keep going just a little bit more until you reach your goal.
But when you start going in circles, when the frustration just makes you mad or your mind foggy and the day is starting to slip through your fingers then there are steps you can take.
There are ways to turn such a state of mind or day around.
Into something better. Into something more helpful. And into something that will make you feel better again.
Step 1: Be here now.
When you are frustrated then you are often somewhere in the future in your mind. Somewhere you wish you would be. Or you are reliving a stumble or failure from your past.
Snap out of those headspaces and calm down by focusing your mind and attention on what is now, right here at this moment.
You can do so by for example:
Focusing on your breathing. Sit down, close your eyes and just focus on the air going and out of your nose for 1-2 minutes. Take calm and slightly deeper breaths than usual and breathe with your belly and not your chest.
Focus on what is around you at this time. The sun shining in through your window. The kids playing out in the street and the cars and people going by. The smells and feeling of the clothes and warmth of the sun on your skin. Do this for 1-2 minutes to get your attention back to the present moment.
Step 2: Appreciate what you do have.
After you have pulled your attention back to where it can be most helpful focus it on what is still positive in your life.
The quickest and easiest way to do so is to focus it on appreciating what you do have.
A favorite of mine during this step is the important things we may sometimes take for granted. Like for instance:
A warm home and a roof over your head.
Plenty of drinkable water.
Not having to go hungry.
Access to the internet.
Your friends and family.
Spend a few minutes on this and you’ll find much to be grateful for.
Step 3: Focus on what you can do right now.
With your attention in the present moment and your mood a more grateful and positive one it is now time to get constructive about what frustrates you.
You can do that by asking yourself:
What is one small step I can take right now to improve this situation?
It may be to see what you can learn from what frustrates you and to try another path towards your goal.
Or it could be to try one more time and to keep going (because not all things in life will come to you the first, second or third time you try).
Or it could be you simply realizing that you may have taken on a bit much lately or things have been tough and that you need to take this evening or a few days to just relax, take care of yourself and perhaps simplify a bit.
So that you can recharge and then get back into moving towards what you want out of your life in a more focused way.