Renovating our rooms, our lives and our relationships — why some things (and people) need to go
We recently undertook the daunting, yet deeply satisfying task of repainting the largest room in our house located smack in the center of everything. It is the heart of the house and a paint job was long overdue. We had walked by the cracks in the ceiling and the walls screaming out for a fresh coat of paint for far too long. We had pushed it off for myriad reasons, but it was time to get down to painting business.
The night before the painters were to arrive, we pulled artwork off the walls, took curtains down, carried everything out of the room that didn’t require a team of burly movers. As I glanced around the expanse of this room with it’s empty walls and nakedness, I gleaned a new sense of appreciation and basked in its bare bones beauty. Though there wasn’t a lot of clutter to begin with, there was undeniably something so refreshing about the empty space. Sometimes we just need to peel back the layers of our environments…and our lives.
We declared that we were going to be mindful of what we brought back into the room, post-painting. Did the objects hold meaning for us? Did they bring us joy? If not a definitive YES, they were going to have to find a new home.
Most of us hold onto stuff in some way or another. It could be physical objects for sentimental reasons. It could be because they were expensive so we assign a certain value to them or it could simply be because we aren’t really even paying attention. There’s the physical space and the stuff and then there are the people — how are they making you feel? As with furnishings, we get to decorate the room of our life!
What if we could renovate our internal world in the same way we see possible with our external one?
As harsh as this may sound, there are people who can be considered dust-collectors and energy vampires. They are the ones who, like the cracks in my ceiling or the chipped paint on the wall, you live with until renovation can no longer be ignored.
Letting go of people has never been my forte; actually I’m terrible at it. And yet, there are times it has been necessary. Putting off the inevitable doesn’t prevent it from eventually occurring. On the other hand, seizing the opportunity to take a stand for yourself, is a radical act of self-love and self-care. The more it is practiced, the more peace you can bring forth and the easier it can become.
This came up for me recently. It wasn’t easy. I probably could’ve handled it better and to be honest — it isn’t comfortable for me to write about. That’s precisely why I want to share it. Something tells me that I’m not alone here.
Life is too short and too precious to not renovate and take stock of your inventory. As with the furnishings in my room, I had to examine a particular friendship, asking myself how that relationship made me feel, but also what my underlying motivation was for staying connected to it. This one wasn’t authentic and it was time to let it go.
Life isn’t about taking the path of least resistance. In fact, when we avoid the truth of our discomfort we are ultimately hurting ourselves further. This isn’t something to be ignored. Don’t kid yourself. These relationships affect you. They dull your sparkle and possibility. They also block the path for more authentic ones to enter.
Some people are better at defining boundaries and making clear-cut decisions. There really is no right way or wrong way — there is only your way. You are the one that has to live with your actions and decisions (and all the people in your world). So, you get to decide.
Here’s the thing: when we feel that a relationship is unsafe, untrustworthy or draining in any way — the chances are that it is. End of story. Sometimes that takes time to see and/or admit, but we arrive there when we do hopefully no more worse for the wear. Perhaps there is a last straw that breaks the camel’s back — the last bit of evidence you need to act.
Why is it so hard to let go of people? As with vices in our life, we can be addicted to people. We can be fearful of letting people go, breaking habits and changing course. We can get stuck. But the good news is that sometimes we just wake up and smell the coffee. Sometimes enough is enough and we are ready to take a stand for what is honest and true on behalf of ourselves.
We can’t be all things to everyone. We can’t fix friends. And we don’t need to take a consensus about our feelings — we simply need to feel them. Sometimes we hold onto people and things longer than we should, we don’t grant ourselves permission to purge. I’d like to cancel my friendship please…seriously.
We have to decide which ones need work and which ones need to hit the road — then allow ourselves to say good bye.
But be forewarned, we avoid this because we know it isn’t easy. We avoid it in an attempt to bypass conflict, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t forge ahead. Sometimes people don’t want to be let go of and sometimes they will lash back out. Again, stay the course. We don’t live our lives for others, we live them for our most authentic selves. Realizing that a relationship you invested in isn’t authentic, can feel like a bitter pill to swallow. However, holding onto it without addressing the writing on the wall can ultimately cut much deeper. I think it hurts either way — they don’t call it a journey for nothing.
If we can agree that it matters what kind of food we eat and how we take care of our physical body — why not reevaluate the people we let into our personal space?
- Does this friendship bring me joy?
- Does this person lift me up?
- Is this person a ‘dreamkeeper’, one who holds me accountable to my aspirations?
- Am I my best self when we are together? Do I like me in this relationship?
Life isn’t about mastery, it’s about living and feeling and figuring it out as we go. Sometimes that includes saying no. Sometimes that means letting go of that old sofa. Sometimes that includes ending friendships. If we can find ways to be honest with ourselves, to protect and create boundaries, and to communicate clearly — we can certainly iron out some of the bumps on the life road. Endings are beginnings. Renovation unveils your best self.
Could you use a bit of de-cluttering in your life? Do you have some relationships calling out for a renovation? Let me know how you handle this situation in the comments below. As always, I LOVE hearing from you.