People who know me well can attest to the fact that I’m selective about who I let into my life. Some people have said that kind of quality control is pretentious and unnecessary, and I give them a big ‘ole smile, remembering how they drained their energy for thirty minutes yesterday complaining about a friend they hate hanging out with.
Let me break it down:
1. It is not selfish to break ties with people who diminish your quality of life.
2. If someone else’s happiness comes at the expense of your own, and you have to choose between their happiness or yours, then Lawd Jezus, please choose your own happiness 10/10 times.
3. I will continue to be that voice in your head who tells you that you deserve a better friend, partner, co-worker, etc. until you believe it yourself and do something about it.
4. I can confidently say that my life becomes better when I eliminate the toxic energy of people who no longer serve my best interests.
5. I can confidently say that others’ lives become better when I remove myself if I can no longer serve their best interests.
A huge guiding theme I’ve developed in this lifetime is the act of self-advocacy. To me, self-advocacy means holding someone accountable for the fact that they’ve hurt me and letting them know, depending on how many times I’ve been hurt, that you swung and miss three times, boo boo. Now you’re out.
If you think about it, it’s astounding how often–and for how long–we keep people, ideas, and ways of being in our life far past their expiration date. Part of it might be that people avoid conflict and don’t know how to have difficult conversations. It could also be that people are afraid of change and would rather live with the current, shitty reality rather than dealing with the unpredictability of the new one. Or, most commonly, people are so delusional to the fact that their current reality is even bad. They’ve been living with conflict for so long that it becomes normal.
One of my favorite Juan-and-Charise-isms is the phrase “scissor emoji, scissor emoji, scissor emoji.” We literally type the scissor emoji three times in a row over text when trying to indicate the inevitable demise of some presence in our lives. More often than not, the scissors are for people. I think about how I’ve dropped off the face of the earth from some of my exes or other toxic people simply by removing myself from their lives–for both of our benefits.
However, I’ve found that after the empowering feeling of self-advocacy fades away and I’m left with the aftermath of my choice to part ways with a person, it’s not fun all the time. Depending on the person, I do feel loss. I wonder about what they’re doing and what life would be like if we still shared space together. But then I remember the importance of self-care and preservation, reminding myself that I don’t deserve friends or boyfriends who make me feel sad–not when there are so many people in this world who make me feel happy.
Friends, appraise yourself wisely. Who have you outgrown? Who has outgrown you? The universe is perfect with its timing, bringing a wonderful cast of characters in and out of our lives at exactly the right moment. Are there people with whom you hold relationships that may have already served their spiritual purpose? Are you willing to admit that perhaps the best way to show care for someone is to part ways with gratitude and wish them well?
Real talk: this topic gives me the most energy but also sucks the life right out of me. I struggle with loving the empowering feeling of self-care but loathe the feeling of loss. As a person who believes my reality is a product of those with whom I spend my time, I have found great success with the philosophy that the who in my life creates the what, how, and why. We all deserve an all-star supporting cast in our lives.
Say it with me: We all deserve an all-star supporting cast in our lives.