Throughout my life, I held onto relationships that constantly made me feel unworthy, anxious, insecure. These were not necessarily romantic endeavors, but close friendships with people I, at one time, considered to be my confidants.
Even if I felt mistreated, I refused to ever let them go. Sometimes I did not realize how they were affecting me, other times I knew it was unhealthy but kept holding on. It is difficult to leave what is familiar, especially if it is someone that you feel particularly attached to.
I don't like to consider these friendships inherently "toxic." In my eyes, it is not about labeling whether someone is "good" or "bad," but instead understanding that some people are on a different journey to maturation than I am. Perhaps our paths will cross again in the future, when we are older and understand more about ourselves. For now, however, it is not healthy for either of us to remain in these relationships.
This does not have to be a dramatic break-up, forcing your fellow friends to "choose sides" and pinning people against each other. The end of a friendship does not have to turn into some big scene.
As I look back on the year of 2019, I feel like I started with so many more friends than I currently have now. This is the natural process of being a college student: you gain a huge circle, and then eventually you realize who your true friends are. I am unbelievably grateful for the loyal, incredible people I have in my life. I am so glad they put up with the mess I was as a first-year student (and, let's face it, the mess I continue to be on a daily basis).
However, to me, developing a smaller social circle was not just about being a college student. I found myself constantly clinging onto relationships in which I was not necessarily valued because I felt I deserved that. I never believed I was worthy of genuine friends. What made me important enough to have people in my life who treated me well?
I am constantly working on myself and reevaluating who I want to be, and I decided I no longer want to put myself in a position in which I am forcing myself to be unhappy.
There is no reason to hold onto people who do not value you.
I learned this is not just about friendships or romantic relationships, but potentially about family. I grew up in a culture where family was considered everything. No matter what they did, you had to accept them and continue to support them.
Pain is pain, no matter who is administering it.
Family is one of the most important things in the world, but genetic connections should not force you to maintain a relationship with someone emotionally abusive. It is difficult to let go of a person who you believed to be a part of your primary support system, but it is also essential in some cases to do so.
I am not here to judge anyone or to paint myself as the model friend, partner, student, sister, daughter. I have so many things to improve upon, and I will make these improvements my top priority in the year to come. 2019 was a year of growth, and I plan to follow this trend of development as time progresses.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I want to thank the people who are still in my life as well as the people who I no longer currently speak to. Every person I connect with brings an opportunity to learn something new about myself. Even if these realizations were difficult, they were necessary for me. Before we enter into a new decade, I encourage you all to truly evaluate the relationships in your life.
Who inspires you to be your most authentic self?
Who discourages you from growing and appreciating life?
It is okay to outgrow people who do not enrich your life. Be honest with these people and with yourself. You deserve to enjoy spending time with those in your social circle.
You deserve to be happy.
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