I grew up in a dysfunctional household. My parents didn’t know how to be good parents, and so they were lousy parents instead. The unfortunate part of the story is that as I grew up and became an adult, they remained lousy parents. My mother wasn’t so bad, but my father is a nightmare.

After an incident I had with them last year, I finally decided it was time to remove them from my life. I realized that I was still allowing them to suppress me and who I am. They were still judging me by the moral standards that they couldn’t even follow themselves. And worst of all is that they caused me a lot of emotional pain. My father often said things that were mean and hurtful. He caused me to cry more often than he caused me to smile.

But after something he did last year, I had decided that enough was enough. I closed the chapter on that part of my life and haven’t spoken to him since.

There are many people who will read this story and will think that I am acting this way because I am carrying a grudge against my parents, but nothing could be further from the truth.

See, I have accepted my parents for who and what they are. I have accepted that what they did wasn’t right and how they treat me isn’t right. I have accepted that I can’t do anything to change that or to change them. And with that acceptance comes the responsibility of asking myself what I should do what that knowledge.

It simply isn’t fair to me or to those around me to put myself in the line of fire. I have forgiven my parents for what they have done even though they haven’t asked for forgiveness. I know that I have forgiven them because I am no longer upset at what they have done. I don’t wish them ill will but at the same time, I don’t wish to be a part of their lives.

See, just because I have forgiven them doesn’t mean that I have to stick around to endure their poor behavior. I don’t have to put myself in a position to be hurt by them again, and so I won’t. Forgiveness isn’t about putting yourself in a position so that the same people who wronged you can do so over and over again. Forgiveness is simply saying “What you did was wrong, but I’m not expecting anything from you. I’m not holding this against you. I’m letting it go so that I can take my power back so that you can no longer hurt me. I am not giving you the power to hurt me ever again.”

This issue with my parents was a blessing from the universe, and after this incident, many more like it began to develop. It was like the universe was saying “Roll up your sleeves. It’s time to clean up your life and yes, that includes tossing out the relationships that aren’t working in your favor.”

A friend of mine is always reminding me that people are often in our lives to fulfill some type of purpose. Once that purpose has been fulfilled, that friendship no longer has a purpose. So, we each move on and migrate to our next lesson.

So, the message here is simple. Evaluate your relationships and ask yourself if they are right for you. If you find that you are the one putting all the work into a relationship – whether it’s with a friend or family member – then it’s time to come to the realization that it may be time to put that relationship to an end. Or if you have people in your life that aren’t treating you with the love and respect that you deserve, then it’s time to ask yourself why you’re keeping them around. Sure, you may love these people, but do they love you? Contrary to popular belief, love isn’t a feeling, it’s a verb. Love is the way you treat other people and how they treat you.

Relationships are meant to bring you up, so if they’re bringing you down, there is something wrong. Ending such toxic relationships doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a smart person. One with self-respect and self-love.

Remember, it is possible to love someone from afar. It is possible to forgive but not to forget. It’s possible to forgive and to cut the chords to that person for your own safety and well-being. Really, it’s okay. And once the negative people our out of your life, you’ll begin to see how toxic they really were. You might even notice that your health improves, or your back pain goes away, or that you generally have a better attitude about life and yourself.

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the things we want in our lives can not come to us unless we are willing to let go of the things that aren’t working. So do yourself a favor. Forgive. Let go of the grudges and let go of the people who are hurting you so that you can make room for the people who love and deserve you.

You are worth it.

Namaste.

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