Breaking up (with a friend) is hard to do
I was recently contacted by one of my readers for some advice on a situation that was causing her a great deal of pain. She was experiencing the worst kind of breakup, not from a husband or a lover, but from a friend. Friend breakups are often more hurtful and confusing than relationship breakups because friends are expected to be there through thick and thin, in good times in bad, when the going gets tough and the tough get going. When a boyfriend exits your life, you turn to your friends to help pick up the pieces. When a friend exits your life, there is a void that cannot be filled with anything other than time. In situations like this, all we can really do is trust that Life knows the way, believe in ourselves, and follow our hearts back to happiness. Below is the reader’s letter, and my response to her.
My friendships mean a lot to me..and I think I trust too much and give way too much…to where it becomes a flaw, and I am left open to disapointment and pain..and it hurts, a lot. I am struggling with a lot of that today. I try very hard to stay positive and be my happy-go-lucky self, but sometimes, my heart can only take so much. Normally I refuse to let negative people ruin my mood and day for that matter…but right now, I am having a weak moment. Thank you for listening.
I would like to encourage you, my friend – first and foremost, not to not lose heart. I, like you, tend to invest a lot of myself into people and into relationships (both friendships and romantic relationships) and it hurts when you feel that the other person is not making an equal investment. That is normal, and it’s okay, and you can give yourself permission to feel hurt or even angered when someone does not treat you with the same love and respect that you are treating them.
However – the thing you have to remember, and this is SO important – is not to stay STUCK in that anger or hurt. Allow yourself to really feel it and to sit with your pain for awhile, then allow yourself to let it go. The reason people become bitter and disenchanted with life is because they cling to that anger like a bad habit and never release it. It is healthy to allow yourself to FEEL emotions, negative and positive. It is not healthy to let those emotions hold you captive.
Also – if there is a particular person in your life that is repeatedly choosing not to honor you and is causing you more sadness or pain than they are joy – it might be time to release that friendship back to the Universe and trust that it is not where you belong. I have had to cut ties with people that I loved very deeply because they were choosing to abuse the boundaries of our friendship and take advantage of my heart in a way that was causing me great pain – and life is too short for that! It hurts to let go of a friendship that means a great deal to you; however, I have found, time and again, that when you release your hold on a negative friendship (or as I call it, a “toxic friendship”), the Universe has a way of bringing two or three positive friendships into your life as replacements. We MUST let go of the old to receive the new – it is a rule of Life. Better to hurt temporarily and let go of the negative than hurt over and over and over again. Give NO ONE permission to hurt you! True friends will love you and support you and honor you and never trample on the beauty of your friendship by purposely causing you pain. And better to have two or three TRUE friends than roomfuls of faux friends.
At the end of the day – whether you speak up and let the person causing you pain know that their actions are unacceptable or whether you just choose to walk away – HONOR YOURSELF FIRST. When you truly begin to honor yourself, others will fall into line, too. You have to believe that you are worthy of respect and kindness and loyalty and love – and girl, YOU ARE!
Remember: Life’s too short for constant struggle and pain. LET IT GO and move on to the beauty and light. It is there. Trust me on this one.