Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Holding On Too Long

“We are all looking for well-being and happiness in life. So the purpose of friendship is to support and be supported in our search for well-being and happiness.” - Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel

I’m good at getting rid of the things I no longer need. I’ve made a recent push to to de-clutter my physical space even more and have hauled out bags and boxes in the effort. But as I’ve freed up my home (oh, it feels good), I became acutely aware that my bigger issue is letting go of people.

So, when do you let go? At what point do you accept that a person just is what he or she is and being around them is not good for you? Not questions I’m good at answering. I could take the noble stance and say that it is my great love and dedication and hope for better that keeps me in the mix long after most people would leave. But if I am being honest, I have to say it’s my need to be liked, included, valued, and respected that causes me to hold on to people a bit too long.

The best case scenario would be to not get involved with people who don't "support...[my] search for well-being and happiness” in the first place. Easier said than done. I’m pretty straight-forward about who I am and how I feel. Even when I’ve voiced my stance up front, I have been blind sided by dynamics that I couldn’t have seen coming and stayed in relationships that I would never wish on anyone else.

It would be nice to come up with a list of questions (I like lists) to help evaluate people so you could choose the best fits (a positive proposition for all parties). As I pondered what these questions might be, I realized that frequently a person's true nature is hidden until you are already heavily invested. People who initially appeared to be great options turn out to be poor choices while people that failed to impress on the first pass end up being keepers and are among some of my closest, most loved, and trusted friends.

Maya Angelou says, “when people tell you who they are, listen.” For me, I think this is key. If I go through my life with walls up and guarded, I will miss potentially amazing people. What I have to do is watch and listen carefully and when the bad starts to out weigh the good, when the negative overshadows the positive, when situations are draining, be strong enough to let go and move on.


  1. Dude. I totally get this. Takes some soul-bearing to let go.

  2. Soul-bearing, soul searching, and a side of heart break.

  3. This is a great post, Denise. I refer to these people as toxic. The hardest ones for me to let go of is the people who are basically nice folks, but completely stuck. You know what I mean - they have very negative outlooks, and complain about their situations, but every suggestion is met with three reasons why that won't work for them. It is exhausting. I love that quote by Maya Angelou. Every toxic person I have ever had to eliminate from my life let me know early on who they were. For whatever reason, I refused to listen. Fortunately, my learning curve seems to be improving. Let's keep walking towards the light, my friend.

  4. Thanks, Pam. Ah, the naysayers. They are no fun. It's that refusal to listen that get's me into the most trouble. When it comes to friends, I'm an unrealistic optimist. I just keep hoping that it'll all work out. It usually takes a personal attack to shake me loose and as you know even then I'm inclined to still hang out. We need less heartbreak and more love.