5 Tips On Letting Go Of Friendships

If-you-make-friends-with-yourself-Friendship-QuotesThis year I turned forty one. When I look back on my life so far, I can acknowledge and accept that I have grown and changed significantly as a person over the years. I would hope others would say I have become more grounded, open-hearted and wiser, but I am also aware that I have become less tolerant of nurturing friendships that no longer serve me well.

I think in my twenties I was keen to be liked, I wanted to be popular, have lots of friends around me and be accepted.  In my thirties I began to get to know myself on a deeper level, I began to realise what was truly important to me, and felt more comfortable in being open and honest about who I really was to others. When I hit forty, I began to look back at my life and all of the friendships I have had, the ones which have nurtured my soul and  helped me grow in different ways.  Fondly remembering the friends that have truly accepted me for who I am as a human being and have loved me unconditionally, through the good times and the difficult ones. And then there are the friendships that have been challenging, the ones that have made me question decisions I have made for myself, who I was, and sometimes those kind of friendships have even been incredibly stressful.

What this life experience has taught me, is that I no longer feel the need to try to be someone I am not, in an attempt to conform to how someone else feels I should be, or how they want me to be. It’s taken me years to really understand who I am, and to have a  acceptance of all my positive and negative aspects of what makes me uniquely me.

Accept that friendships will come and go, and this isn’t a negative thing –  Friendships serve us, in what ever way they are meant to, for however long we are meant to be experiencing them. It is my belief that every person we come into contact with can actually teach us something. They may be teaching us something about ourselves, them, or even situation we maybe experiencing. When we are open to that lesson, and we acknowledge it, it makes it easier to understand why maybe sometimes the dynamics of a friendship change, or maybe why it didn’t last as long as we expected it to, or why it didn’t evolve how we envisaged. When you look at the relationship from this higher perspective, it shows us how every friendship, no matter how it worked out, can enable us to grow on some level.

Do not feel guilty about distancing yourself from something that no longer serves you well –  During my twenties and early thirties, I had a wonderful friend who I spent a lot of time with. She was funny, kind and fun to be around. As we both got older our paths led us in different directions, I was career minded and she longed to nurture a family. Over time, the dynamics of our friendship changed. I had my own business, and was working every hour God sent. The global recession had hit, and I was desperately trying to make ends meet. Like many other small businesses at that time, it was simply a matter of survival. I had the responsibility of staff, as well as bills at work, and bills at home to pay. At the same time she had her first child, and was spending her time enjoying being a first time mum at home, caring for and raising her family.

One day, myself and this friend met her for lunch, and suddenly out of the blue, she announced she no longer felt the same about meeting up with me or our friendship. Our life path indeed had been very different to the one we walked in our twenties, and yes, we had gone off and done completely different things, but to me, we were still the same people underneath all the drama of life.  At the time, I remember I was incredibly hurt but her comment, it came out of nowhere and looking back, it was at a time I really needed support and encouragement from my friends. Feeling totally confused and off guard, I immediately launched into a list of reasons why I was working so hard, almost as if I was trying to justify the personal life choices I had made. It was incredibly soul-destroying, and I left the restaurant close to tears.

Looking back, what this experience taught me, was my friend was judging me, for whatever reason, for the life choices I had made. My vision of what I wanted in life, was in fact very different to what she wanted, and for whatever reason, she therefore felt our friendship must be different too. The truth was, our friendship wasn’t different at’ll, but her expectations of what our friendship should be, in her mind, had in fact changed.

In any friendship, the moment you are unable to completely be yourself, in your own truest essence, unconditionally, in someone else’s company, than in truth that friendship may not serve you well.  You should never be made to feel unworthy, different, unkind, or even selfish, simply on the grounds of the fact you have made different life choices to your friends. Your most valuable friends should love you, nurture you, respect you and be happy for you, even if your day-to-day life is very different from theirs.

Accept that you may not always be in someone’s life either, even if you want to be – Friendships have to be a two-way agreement. And sometimes we change too.  Don’t take things personally, or over analyse the situation, if you find someone isn’t in contact with you as much as they once were. Remember, we are in an age where people’s lives are super busy. Family, work, hobbies and well life, can just take over. Our priorities may shift during certain stages in our lives, and often we find those who once inspired us, or motivated us, or simply made us feel good about ourselves, no longer serve that purpose.

Do not harbour prolonged feelings of anger, disappointment or sadness when friendships move on – Friendships come on many levels. We have friends who we may simply meet for lunch or down the pub for a chat, and then we have the friends that we have bared our souls to. The ones who know everything about us, all our victories and all our failures. So it’s not surprising that we sometimes feel the similar kind of emotions we may experience when we break up with a partner. Feelings of hurt, confusion, anger, bitterness, sadness, loneliness can often consume us, and this is fine. We need to truly experience whatever emotion comes up. Just remember not to get bogged down in these thoughts. Remind yourself it isn’t beneficial to cling to something that is no longer what it used to be, acknowledge that the relationship has moved on, for whatever reason, and it’s actually o.k that you and your friend, are no longer spending so much time together. Your expectations of one another may have changed, and ultimately, we all make choices based around our own desire to experience happiness. I always try to look at friendships from a higher perspective, and try to remain focused on all that was good, and everything productive that relationship taught me.

Always be grateful for the friendship, no matter how it worked out – Our life is made up from millions of experiences, day in, day out. The people we meet and bond with, help to create an important part of those experiences. Never regret a friendship that maybe didn’t evolve in a way you had hoped, even if it caused you pain or sadness. I believe, we can either look at our past friendships in a way that can hinder us or help us. Always remember, the pair of you did have a connection on some level, otherwise you wouldn’t have considered that person as your friend. Always try to remain grateful for the good experiences you shared, as this places your thoughts and personal energy in a more positive vibration, which will help aid the healing process and enable you both to move on.

     

7 Tips On Making The Life Changes You Desire

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“Change only takes place through action, not through meditation and prayer alone” – The Dalai Lama

A new year always brings hope of making small or even bigger changes in our lives, maybe changes we have been thinking about for some time, but haven’t had the energy or courage to really focus on during the months that have passed.  We may be longing for a new job, or a new relationship, maybe we truly wish to have more quality time with our partners or family. It could be we want to get fitter, lose weight, or just simply take a little more care of ourselves.

For many, change can be scary or unsettling, dipping ones toes into the unknown can throw us out of our comfort zone and even fill us with fear. For others change is seen as an exciting adventure, something to embrace and actually trust in. Many of us are in fact creatures of habit, and although we long for areas of change in our lives, we stick with something we may not necessarily be happy with, simply because it has become our routine, an existence that we have actually accepted as being part of our life, it’s just the way it is.

Write a positive change list – At the beginning of each year, I actually like to take a moment to reflect on the year just gone, as well as creating a moment of positive focus on the year ahead. During a period of ‘quiet time’, I’ll put on some beautiful music, light some candles and simply meditate. This helps me become grounded, calm and peaceful, a beautiful and perfect state to be in, when you wish to make positive change within your life. After which, I will sit down and write a list of all the life changes I wish to make during the next 12 months ahead. Writing them down, for me, re-enforces not only my desire to make those things happen, but also helps me truly focus on the things that really matter.

Take positive action, small steps at a time – Two years ago I saw the Dalai Lama speak in London, it was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life. During his talk he spoke of how change can only come through positive action. Manifesting the changes we wish to see within ourselves, our lives or the world in which we live, can only come through each and everyone of us taking sole responsibility for those changes to occur. We cannot rely on areas of our lives to alter, if we simply think our desire, or our deep longing for something to happen, will in fact, make it happen. If you truly wish for change to occur in some area of your life, then you alone, need to find the courage to start acting upon that wish and take full responsibility for that change.

Face your fears and let go – Sometimes, inviting change into our life, actually means facing our fears. We may be too scared to leave a job we really hate, because we are fearful of not being able to find another one or pay our bills. We may be frightened to leave a unhealthy relationship behind us, as we are deeply fearful of being alone. So instead we choose to live in a bubble of happiness, because it’s easier to give in to our fears, fears that we have in fact created for ourselves inside our own little heads.  What we have to acknowledge is, that in certain situations, the life we are actually hoping for, actually exists outside the edge of our comfort zone, and unless we have the courage to leap into the unknown, we become a victim of our own fears and subsequent unhappiness.

Imagine the happiness you wish to experience and feel it deep within your soul –  I strongly believe that our own thoughts and actions have a huge affect on life that we experience.  The sacred law of karmic return, or the law of cause and effect.  If one is mindful of every thought and action one has, as well as keeping a positive mindset surrounding the type of life one wishes to experience, then one is actually inviting this type of experience into their own reality. This doesn’t mean to say, you won’t experience challenges, disappointment or sadness in your life, these things are always present to teach us, but keeping your mind focused on love, positivity and kindness, actually re-enforces the love, positivity and kindness that you will in turn experience within your own world. Positive thought creates positive action.

Share the changes you wish to create – Sitting down with friends or family and sharing details of the changes we wish to create  in our lives can actually help us keep focused on the task ahead. It can also provide an unexpected support network of people, all of whom wish to encourage you to reach your goals. A few years ago I was really unhappy in my job, and I was desperate for a change. I was so unhappy, that every morning was literally filled with dread about the day ahead.  It was a well paid and very secure job, one that I had been in for 13 years, and the thought of leaving actually filled me with fear and anxiety, but I was knew it was beginning to impact other areas of my life. Once I had told my friends how unhappy I was, I was overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I received. It felt as though I was no longer facing the dilemma alone, and I eventually found the courage to leave and search for a much happier existence.

Don’t Give Up – Change generally doesn’t happen over night, often it’s something that we have to continue to strive for. Even when the light may seem a very distant glimmer at the end of a long tunnel, don’t lose focus of that feeling of happiness you know you deserve. Re-visit the list of positive change you wrote. Go into meditation and ask yourself for guidance of how to can implement these changes. Spend some quality time with a positive person that you may know, someone who will inspire you to reconnect with your own desire to make the change at hand.  Trust in yourself that you can succeed and remind yourself that it will happen when you have learned everything you need to from the experience.

Don’t hide behind excuses you create within your own mind, take complete responsibility – When we are anxious of making a change in our life, it’s very easy to hide behind excuses of why we believe we cannot change that situation. Instead of creating excuses of why you can’t do something, start to focus your attention of creating solutions to those challenges.  An excuse, is often manifested in our heads as a direct result of an emotion, an emotion which is usually fear.

Trust in the fact that sometimes the journey is the lesson, not the change itself – Looking back at my own career change, it was, without a doubt, a very long, difficult and exceptionally challenging path (I wrote a post about it last year, as it had such an impact in my life). But on reflection, even though it was really hard at times, I can see that journey itself actually taught me a great deal about myself and my ability to let go and trust. The life lessons I learned from having the courage to truly acknowledge, that I was the only person in charge of my own happiness is a teaching I will always be grateful for.