Over-Extended & Under-Appreciated: Learning to Let Go of Difficult Relationships

This piece is to reflect on my pain of feeling over-extended and under-appreciated in difficult friendships, familial relationships, and questionable “situationships.” In addition, I want to share how I’ve begun my process of stopping and letting go.

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In the spirit of my QUEEN Maya Angelou: When someone shows you that they are NOT ready for a relationship, “BELIEVE THEM THE FIRST TIME!”

I used to embark on D-I-Y Relationships projects that exhausted the hell out of me. To maintain the metaphor: I purchased the supplies, designed the framework, and laid the foundation of the relationships all by myself. My point is that I give my ALL to the people I love, but not everyone deserves it.

At various points in my life, I often found myself showing up for people who rarely showed up for me and prioritizing people who didn’t prioritize me. I mean... I ran the whole extra mile for people who wouldn’t even walk up the street for me.

In hindsight, a part of me hoped that I’d be met with RECIPROCITY.  I wanted family to have my back, like I had their backs. I wanted friends to value me, how I valued them. I wanted loved-interest to treat me, how I treated them.

I was over-extended and under-appreciated, and it was A-G-O-N-I-Z-I-N-G! My anxiety peaked in these relationships, and it felt like glass splinters scraping against my throat, forcing me to GASP for air.

BUT YA GIRL GOT REAL TIRED of putting TIME, ENERGY, and RESOURCES into those who did not reciprocate! Holding on was hurting, and I knew I had to let go before I channeled my inner BERNADINE HARRIS.

 

 

But how? How could I let go when everything inside of me yearned to carry on? The Buddhists refer to this yearning as “HABIT ENERGY.” We say we won’t text them, but our habit energy urges us to text. We say we won’t check their social media, but our habit energy persuades us to look. We try not to give any more of ourselves to these people, but we are seduced by our own, intoxicating habit energy.

BUT, SELF-AWARENESS!

Self-awareness allows us to recognize our habit energies and stop them from consuming us whole. Truthfully, I’m still learning the art of stopping and letting go; but there is progress.  I’m developing a critical understanding of myself, my goals, and what I want from relationships.  

Understanding what I want, allows me to identify my behaviors that don’t align with my goals. But y’all, it’s HARD AS HELL to ignore these habit energies. It’s hard to say no. It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to completely stop.

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But as I come to a slow-rolling stop, I can finally let the window down and just breathe... without being suffocated by the prevailing wind.

Stopping isn’t easy, and it sucks when self-care means letting go of the people we love. However, I’m learning that IT’S OKAY TO LOVE PEOPLE FROM A DISTANCE.

-Natasha M. Lee