I was recently tagged on facebook, by someone who knows me extremely well, with a quote, which read as follows:
“There’s a point in your life when you get tired of trying to fix everything and trying to make everyone happy. When you decide to finally quit, it is not giving up. It’s realizing you don’t need certain people and the BS they bring to your life.”
Ok, so now that I have your attention, how would one interpret this?
Is it alright to let things be and give up relationships, which are no longer fulfilling for us?
In my opinion, absolutely.
Relationships need effort and nurturing from both sides to survive. This does not mean that the level of effort to maintain it is always balanced. But, there needs to be at least minimal effort from both sides if the relationship is going to be a long term one. It is unrealistic to force relationships that are no longer working naturally, or if you realize they were never really working well in the first place.
People come in and out of our lives for so many different reasons. I am a true believer that we cross paths with people in order to learn something from them. Even if the interaction is brief, we crossed paths for a reason. This does not mean that every relationship or friendship we have is meant to be long term.
As we grow and mature, we get to a point in our lives when we realize that life is complicated. The world can be a scary place. We hope to surround ourselves with people who are in our corner, who support us, and who are there for us in times of need. Being surrounded with a posse the way we always craved in high school is no longer a motivating factor. And in times of crisis, when we really need to call on these relationships, we learn very quickly who our real supporters are, and cleanse ourselves of those that are holding us back. This does not imply that there was a confrontation of any sort. The relationship has merely taken its course, and it is time to let it go.
So what about all the emotions that go along with letting the relationship go?
All this being said, I realize that it is all easier said than done. In fact, being able to let go emotionally is a process, which often requires loads of time, space, and the opportunity for grieving.
It is especially tough when the relationships that are ending have been long-term friendships, intimate relationships, or those with family members. Or those which have not provided us with any sort of closure. These can be especially painful and the emotions that they bring forth should not be dismissed.
One of the first steps toward healing is being able to adjust our expectations as the relationship changes. A lowered expectation is equated with fewer feelings getting hurt in the process. This is particularly relevant when it comes to family, as it is not always possible to cut all ties. However, we are in control of the amount of support we seek and the amount of energy we are prepared to give back.
Whichever road we choose, and whichever path we choose to get there, we must remember that we are in charge of our own decisions, destinies and our own emotions, as we know what is best for us. And try not to let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Photo: © Anatoly Tiplyashin | Dreamstime.com
This week I’m answering a reader question about birthday party etiquette – more specifically about what is realistic and reasonable regarding invitees.
As with all parenting decisions, there are two sides to this debate. Some parents are so worried about leaving children out or hurting someone’s feelings that they go above and beyond when it comes to planning their child’s party.
These parents will go ‘all out’, and invite all of their friends, family, neighbours, etc.
And then there is the other extreme. What about those parents who tend to give little thought to their invitees? Or allow their children to decide, from an extremely young age, who they want to have at their party?
So what is the proper birthday party etiquette once our children reach school age? Do we invite the whole class? All the girls or all the boys? How can we ensure that we behave ‘appropriately’ without breaking the bank?
Invitations, or lack of invitations, often become extremely exclusive in both preschool and elementary school. At this age, since most of our children’s friends come from school, who has made it on the guest list is often widespread conversation on the playground.
So to invite or not to invite? Parents need to keep in mind the effects that their decisions have on their children and on their children’s classmates. Things may come back to haunt them down the road. The decisions we make about our children’s social life today could contribute to whether they are included at a classmate’s party in 6 or 8 months.
But in reality, it is not always possible to invite everyone in the class, especially when you still need to factor in family and friends from the neighbourhood.
So what are parents to do?
Use party planning as a meaningful learning experience for children.
With my own children, I try to use birthday party etiquette as a social skills learning tool. When composing the guest list, I remind my kids that they need to be considerate of others’ feeling. I try to have them envision being in the shoes of the child who is being left out, and then I have them describe as best they can, how the other child might feel.
These social skills develop on an on-going basis and planning a birthday party is an excellent ‘foot in the door’ for this type of learning. Children need to learn from an early age what is socially appropriate.
The following guidelines might help minimize the pressures faced by many families:
These rules change as we get older. After all, are we expected to invite all of our co-workers or our neighbours out to lunch, or to celebrate a milestone with us? Of course not. And as adults, there is an expectation that the feeling of being excluded would not sting to the same extent. Children’s minds don’t work this way. Children remember when they are not included, and they often feel the repercussions of it long after the party has occurred.
No matter what birthday-party path you choose, it is imperative that you keep in mind that the decisions you make on behalf of your kids when they are little, can ultimately impact the parties they get invited to as they get older. Before the invitations go out, try to envision your child in the position of being the one who is excluded.
Wouldn’t we hate for our child to be the one who gets excluded because of decisions we make?
Photo: © Mkoudis | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
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