A common theme in my work with women who are leaving behind a specific season of their life has to do with outgrowing relationships. When they notice that they are ready to take their needs for growth and expansion seriously, not everyone is going to move forward with them.
During our work together we may spend a fair amount of time in this place of who stays, who goes, and how to move through those choices while managing the self-doubt, and especially longstanding internal “voices” of self-judgment. The ones that say things like “Who do you think you are” or “What makes you think you’re better than everyone else”, or “How dare you?” in some form or another.
These voices are worth paying attention to. They represent the parts of yourself that are going to have the most clout in terms of holding you back. It’s not usually what people will actually say to you.. more what you fear they will say, what you imagine they might say, or what you are in fact saying to yourself, that stops you dead in your tracks; That keep you from expressing yourself. That stops you from getting really clear about what you want and what you don’t.. and setting boundaries in your relationships in both your personal and professional lives.
What I often see when women are at the point of moving into a new season, ready to blossom and show their true nature and beauty in ways they’ve not before, is that there is a form of a Big Cleanup that must accompany this stage. There are people that must leave your life. It’s time to make some space.
You’re changing..the inside changes are going to show up on the outside.
Sometimes it will happen organically, as in they will just not be a good match for who you are becoming and you will naturally lose interest in each other and the relationship fades out. More often it seems that the people who are the least-good fit for you, will put up a bit of a fight.
Other times, friendships that have benefited from you behaving a certain way.. giving, nurturing, supporting.. trying to help somebody change in ways you suspect would be good for them.. (many of the women I see have these relationships going on..) will try to hold onto you. And they may fight.. dirty. They have a fair amount to lose if you go. And they probably know how to say things that get you to doubt yourself.
**Note- This is another reason to consider moving on! It’s also a good reason to get support during your Big Cleanup..(I have a new membership program starting this summer.. affordable for anyone interested in making big changes in beautiful ways) because you may need help getting clear on what’s what, what’s “true”, what you have the “right” to choose.. and lots of loving permission to actually do it.
Lots of drama can ensue during these changes. It can be painful.. but done in the right way, liberating and an essential way to really hear yourself regarding what you want and expect from others in your life.
What values are part of your unwritten contracts with friends, lovers, coworkers? You get to have an active say in this. Dr. Phil is right (at least on this) when he says we teach people how to treat us. And what I know is that you will allow people to treat you in the ways that mirror places that you have unfinished business regarding what you believe you can and can’t have.
Engaging in defending your choices, or trying to change somebody’s point of view or behavior, or going back and forth in unproductive texts and emails and phone calls.. is a drain and will undermine what you know to be true.. what you intuitively know about who you want to take with you as you move forward.
This is not about relationships being “perfect”.. at all. This is about trusting your knowing about relationships that honor you, that feel loving and balanced and mutual.. and those that don’t. There will be many old belief systems that rise to the top as you sort through these choices. And spending too much time going back and forth is a painful form of addiction, and keeps you from getting clear, from stepping into a beautiful new season that will allow you to express all of who you are.
Think about what comes up for you when you consider the relationships that intuitively you know you’ve outgrown. The ones that drain you, undermine you, sabotage you.. Or the ones where you can’t be yourself, are afraid to talk about your successes or positive plans for forward motion. I would be that you know in two seconds who’s who. What keeps you tied in? Is it beliefs that you fear about yourself, or what others think of you?
Give this some thought.. as always writing it through in a journal helps you get clear and move out some emotional energy so you can become even more clear.
I want that for you.
And… if you want even more support, about relationships, about trusting and developing your intuition, about moving into new seasons of your life and more, check out the new Membership Program that we’re opening in July!! Starting at only $39 a month, you’ll get personal support and monthly themes to focus on, with a private Facebook community and more. Get the details here!
With so much love for you..
Leah Shapiro- Life Activator says
You are speaking the TRUTH Lisa!
I find being willing to let people go is a bag part of any transformation and expansion. I’ve also discovered that many of my clients have lots of fear around doing it. They are afraid that if they change they way they are living, thinking and being, then nobody the care about will like them.
It’s true, some people won’t like you, but the ones who truly love you and care about you will still be there. The rest fall away.
You are so right about the one’s who are the worst fit for you putting up the biggest fight! I look at that struggle as a gift. It’s an opportunity to really see the old negative patterns that those relationships where built on and choose to release them.
Your group sounds wonderful!
Leah.. I try (to tell the truth..).. But yes, I think it’s a natural human fear that we all experience to varying degrees.. but there are times when it’s time..when those relationships really are just costing too much to keep..and people can’t see themselves clearly as a result.. they are getting such unhealthy mirroring that it’s truly risky to keep certain relationships going.. so…as the coaches/therapists/mentors/friends.. we need to help people find ways to say goodbye and trust that there will be more friendship, more love.. more good things coming especially when they step out of those unhealthy energies. Love to you…
WERK! This was chock-full-o goodness, really! That is probably one of the most challenging parts of growing and expanding and living your Truth…having to weed out the people with whom you no longer jive. And your vision gets soooo clear regarding who wants only good for you, and who co-dependently needs you. I had to “break up” with my best friend of 15 years who was pretty much like my spouse because things felt out of whack and fake after awhile. It still makes me sad, but I know the relationship wasn’t serving either of us anymore. We have to take the lessons we are blessed with, and then keep on keepin’ on!! Thank you so much for this amazing piece 🙂 Love and light to you!
Eyenie.. those breaks ups are incredibly hard.. painful.. been there and I know.. it’s like ending a marriage sometimes. But it’s so true about how one’s vision gets truly clear…I always love your perspective… Love to you- lisa
I’ve had some really awkward Big Cleanups! I’m feeling really good about the personal relationships I’m in right now. It will be interesting to see how things unfold going forward.
Christie.. unfortunately I think the Big Cleanups are typically difficult/awkward/challenging by nature.. but usually something better follows, we evolve and our sight clears and we recognize old patterns and choose differently. Not fun while it’s happening though.. I write from experience.. Love, Lisa
Yes! Thank you for saying that! I’ve had to walk away from people, a specific example comes to mind with a colleague at work that I had to disentangle myself from because she was draining all my energy and made me feel really low at a time when I was already suffering depression myself!
People who knew us both judged me so harshly “oh how could you!” and were so unkind to me about it. I knew I’d done the right thing, the “friendship” was so one sided it was practically servitude!
Hooray for the strength and bravery to have life Cleanups like this! Some of the people we outgrow put up a real fight! One person grew, caught up with me and found me again! That was a surprise! So gone doesn’t have to mean gone forever, just for now.
Helen… glad you found the clarity.. ‘servitude’.. isn’t a good thing..I think there is often a battle from those left behind.. and returns.. and you’re right sometimes it doesn’t have to mean forever.. but often it does. Love to you, lisa
There are friends who will be there for you unconditionally and there will be “friends” where there is always a price attached. Best to learn early in life how to tell the difference rather than have so called friends bleeding you dry.
hi Andy.. well said.. thanks for commenting..
This is YET ANOTHER wonderful deep meaningful post. One of the things this post brought up for me is a pattern I still need to be mindful of…which is hanging onto relationships where I fear abandonment and remembering that staying in a relationship that doesn’t feel right to me, is instead abandoning myself. I’m not sure when it happened, sometime in my 5th decade, where I started to evaluate my relationships as “energy exchanges.” When this happened, I really got to see my “over giving,” and when I stopped overgiving, the relationships that were more “taking energy” melted away. This is a super powerful post! Thank you 🙂
Denise.. so happy to see your energy here! Energy exchange is a great way to think about it and it can take the places where we get hung up/held back from trusting ourselves out of the mix. We all have those abandonment fears.. they are so primal, but you put it so beautifully that certain choices amount to the abandonment of ourselves.. which is worse.. and a betrayal.. and there is always such a high price for that kind of choice made against ourself..
With age comes wisdom (Note to self:repeat 10 times)… Love always to you- Lisa
Joan Silva says
This was very helpful and insightful. I recently let go of a toxic friendship where she said things just as you mentioned. Hurtful. Unkind. I told her she did not have my permission to speak to me in that manner and her response and belief was that good friends tell each other the good and the bad. Nope. Not without my consent they don’t. Walked away from that friend and as you speak to here she’s made that challenging not wanting to let go. Thanks Lisa. A good article.
I am just in that transition of finding my authentic self but the person that I shared a relationship with and most of my friends want the old me back as all I did was give of myself and mop up their emotions whilst draining myself. I have been a bit like a teenager demanding my right to be me and demanded time for me recently which hasn’t been pretty! It is scary when you walk away from relationships, but the thing I have taken from coaching is that you have to get out of your comfort zone to make change. I am still holding my breathing, crossing my fingers and trying to take actions and so hopefully I will make new relationships to fill the gaps and the new people that I meet will accept me and add to my life rather than suck the energy out of me. x
Hi Toni.. it can be a huge challenge and transition.. for best results try to stay as calm as you can when renegotiating relationships, because some people will want to keep you enough to accept new terms and conditions, others as you say will only want the “old” you..And take it slowly, because this is deep work and you want to move through it in ways that will be the least jarring to your system. Sometimes my clients feel like they have to clean everything up all at once and although it can look like a good idea, it may feel really disorienting to have nobody around. But yes.. you will find new people .. just remember, you will need to show up differently.. and show them who you are in different ways, take on new roles yourself so that the dynamic doesn’t repeat.. that’s the trick that makes a big difference. Let me know how it goes.. wishing you all the best.. Love, Lisa
Hi Joan.. Most of us have been there, and it’s never easy. Sometimes it’s worth going back and trying to work through it, unless it was chronically toxic and then best to bless it and kiss the relationship goodbye. You’ll know by how you feel in your body.. intuitively (vs ego/anger, etc) which one is right for you.. Thanks for writing.. Love and blessings, Lisa
Jessica Mae says
Hello! I love this post! <3 <3
You, as always, have excellent insights.
One thing I'd like to add to the discussion is that after I did my big cleanup, I realized that I already knew a lot of awesome people who I hadn't been investing much time or energy in. They had been hovering on the periphery of my life while the draining people were at the forefront. No longer!
Also, I've found peace in remembering that when I walk away from an old friendship, I am not making a judgement about that person's worth. In each situation, I had been equally culpable for the level of the toxicity in the relationship, after all–I was in it and it took two. So for me, walking away is not about what the other person is or isn't, but about my choices about the types of friendships I want to be part of, moving forward.