It has taken me almost two weeks to sort my thoughts on this one. To articulate what I want to say in a manner that truthfully reflects the gravity of the situation, for me, and for so many who will read this.
When I work with a client one of the things that comes up within the first month is the change they begin to notice in their relationships, every time, no exceptions. It is a tough conversation for me to have with people because I have lived the monumental change their life is about to undertake. I know it will get much harder before it gets easier. The truth is, when you are unhealthy, sad, lonely, depressed, insecure, or simply just don’t feel “good enough”, you attract people into your life who share similar traits.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Simply put your vibe does indeed attract your tribe. What you put out into the universe is what you get back. So when you take your unhealthy habits, and your negative, defeatist attitude and begin to transform into a positive, happy and healthy person it is startling for people. Not everyone. Some people who maybe loved you from afar start to draw closer…they come towards the light, they like what they see. Others, who maybe shared some of your less positive traits want to jump on the train, they want to have what you’re having!
Sadly though, when you take steps to better your life, your body, your mind, your soul…you will lose friends. I know for me this hurdle kept me from succeeding for many years. The thought of not having “my tribe”, the security of the people I called friends, scared the shit out of me. Why would I walk away from relationships I had nurtured for so long? Why would I want to be alone? When I would start to feel the “shift”, the cold shoulder, the undermining comments, the phone not ringing, I would take my energy off all the good I was doing for myself and I would focus it back on the people who were pulling away.
Did I do something wrong? Are you mad at me? It seems like you are upset with me? Can we talk? How can I make this better?
I let others dictate how I felt about myself. If I didn’t feel their love, their support, then I must not be worthy of love and support, these were after all, my friends.
Often I would be told how I hadn’t been there for someone. I hadn’t realized they were going through a bad time. I had been selfish, I had been all about me. Like a child I would be scolded back into my role of sidekick, or more accurately doormat. I would ask for forgiveness, apologize profusely. Buy cards, a small gift, and be readily available at a beckon call.
If this sounds pathetic to you, it was. 100%. But please understand it was the only kind of love and support I had ever known. For me, all of this ridiculousness was love.
What I now know is when you love yourself, and put yourself first you draw the right kind of people into your life. Yes, I lost friends, but those are no longer the relationships I care to have. They were never going to fill me up. I place no blame on anyone other than myself. My choices were reflected back to me on a daily basis, and I accepted them. I allowed people to treat me the way they did.
As you heal, and learn to stand on your own, you have to drop the negative influences. There is no room for toxic relationships in the world you want to live in. I am here, and I can tell you it is “Heaven on Earth” to like who you are, to love who you are, and the amazing people you now have room to know, and spend time with…it is mind-blowing really. The only hard part is not lamenting on all the years you missed out on living your authentic life…so I try to focus on how lucky I am I got here when I did.
It is ok to say goodbye to your old self. It is ok to kindly and gently step out of relationships you know are not healthy for you. Give yourself permission to take the best care of you you can, because I promise you no one else is going to do it. When we do not care for ourselves emotionally, we cannot care for ourselves physically. This will leave you at the hands of the Health Care System in America, and that is really a “Sick Care” system, a place that is very hard to get out of, once you walk in.
Just last week one of these relationships, that I had gently stepped out of, appeared back in my life…no warning, just a “I am going to stop by to make you feel like shit and shove you around a bit.”I got the email on our 15th wedding anniversary while we were driving to get away for the night. My Husband said, “Do you think she is on drugs?” Because that is how CRAZY her email was. We haven’t seen one another in 3 years, havent spoken in a year, maybe more. I guess she unfriended me on FB last year, and I hadn’t noticed. What can I say? I just don’t have the time and energy for this, and neither should any of you.
What the interaction did do was make me feel really sad for the old me. It is a shame that I allowed this type of interaction on a regular basis. When people needed to feel better about themselves I was an easy target, and I called them friends. Again, I want to be clear, I am not blaming anyone other than myself. I am not a victim. I was just a passive participant in my life and I didn’t care enough to set boundaries and to stand up for myself.
This picture really resonated with me. It popped up on a friends FB feed right as I had been reflecting about who I used to be. The universe truly does speak to you when you live in it with an open heart.
Relationships should lift you up. They shouldn’t carry you, you have to carry yourself, head held high. But they should rise with you, just as strong, just as steadfast. They should surround you with color, warmth and joy, and on the darkest days they shine even brighter. Those are the days they lift you up and remind you who you are and why they love you.
My wish for everyone reading this is unconditional love for yourself. Only then can unconditional love from the right people follow.
I am Jennifer, I am @HappyBodyFood, and this is my journey from unhealthy to healthy…but more truthfully this is my journey from self-hate, to self-love.