I often write about how to improve your relationships with others or with yourself, usually by pointing out when a relationship is not working. You have the
freedom to stop trying when a relationship is not working. I think that it’s hard to know when to let go of something you can’t have. We’re not quitters. We’re wired to think that we can succeed at anything if we try hard enough.
Why do we work so hard to get what we can’t have? When will we learn to accept the truth and stop resisting the reality of the situation? Maybe it’s because we’re told that failure happens when people stop trying. We’re told that people are the most discouraged just before they reach their goal.
That’s a good way of looking at things when the goal is to pursue an artistic passion, succeed in a business, lose some weight, or save for retirement. It doesn’t work so well when the goal is to have a particular kind of relationship with a specific person.
First, Recognize and Accept the Truth
Sometimes, the truth of the situation is that you’re trying to get something from someone who can’t give it to you – the neighbor who won’t be friends, the boss who can’t recognize your potential, the spouse, sibling or parent who doesn’t give you love.
No amount of contorting yourself to be someone you’re not, or shrinking your boundaries until all you have left for yourself is a tiny box, is going to change the situation.
It’s tough to recognize that truth. It’s rotten. It’s unfair. But what’s worse is to crush your spirit by believing there’s something wrong with you because the other person can’t or won’t give you what you want, what you deserve. What’s worse is to give up yourself.
Freedom From a Burden
When you aren’t getting what you need in a relationship, and you’ve asked for what you need and tried repeatedly over time, it’s time to stop trying. It’s time to recognize that the two of you are not in agreement about the kind of relationship to have, and that the other person is not able to give you want you need.
It’s okay to make a change. It’s okay to stop trying to get what you need from someone who can’t give it to you. It’s okay to make room to receive what you need, what you’re looking for, from someone else.
- An unfriendly neighbor is not a sign you don’t deserve friends, it’s a sign to look elsewhere for friendship.
- An unappreciative boss is not a sign that you don’t have more to offer, it’s a sign to find a new boss, within your current company, or at a new company.
- A poor relationship with someone you love is not a sign that you can’t have strong relationships, it’s a sign that you may need to reset your expectations for the kind of relationship that person is able to have with you.
There have been many times in my life when I have had to let go of what I could not have. I wish I could say that my life instantly got better and I was rewarded with something terrific, like a gooey chocolate dessert was your reward for having eaten the slimy canned asparagus when you were a child.
Freedom Brings a Gift
Most often, when I let go of what I cannot have, my reward is a physical and mental release from having to try so hard and getting so little in return. I am freed from my own expectation and given the gift of a clear view of reality. My reward is a better relationship with my own mind and my own body.
If you’re feeling the burden of trying to get or keep a relationship, let it go. Free yourself from what is not yours, you open your hands, your heart and your head to receive what you need. Stop resisting the change that is standing in front of you begging for attention. Recognize that you’re not meant to have what it is you thought you should have, what you wanted. Recognize that your path is curving away from there, and leading you to someplace new.
Walk your own path. That’s what you are meant to do.
Live Honest, Open and True
When hard work in a relationship doesn’t bring the reward you want, it’s time to recognize that you are not meant to have that particular relationship, at least not in the way you thought you were. It’s time to recognize that you need to move on. You deserve to be close to the people who are important to you and you deserve to be closer to yourself. It’s okay to stop trying and when you do, you’ll see that your path will lead you to someplace new. Your path only takes you to where you’re supposed to be.
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