“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.”
I’m not sure who said this quote or what type of situation they were specifically referencing, but I do know that this quote has helped me make some important decisions over the past year.
I always try to look at life from an optimistic perspective, to see the best in people and in situations. I want to live a happy, fulfilled life and thus, I constantly seek out true happiness. I consider life too short to waste time on petty drama and longstanding grudges. I believe in the power of second chances, of forgiveness, of tolerance. I have never been the type of person to willingly walk away from a relationship with another person, because I always seem to find some redeeming quality that outshines the not so good qualities.
I strive to be a good friend and generally, a good human, to every person that I meet. No matter what other people have said or what I have heard, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and to approach each new relationship with a clean slate.
Unfortunately, when I allow myself to be so emotionally vulnerable and open to other people, I put myself at risk of becoming someone’s crutch, the person they depend on to help carry the weight of their own struggles. This past year, I learned what it feels likes to carry the weight of someone else’s world on my shoulders.
It all started the same way any relationship does, with small talk, relatable jokes and meaningless banter. It was a fun, light-hearted and a mutual friendship in the beginning, full of smiles and laughter and great memories. But gradually, the weight of dependency was added into the mix.
I was constantly asked to reassure this person that they were good enough, pretty enough, smart enough and that they mattered. Every time this person felt down about themselves, I was asked to quite literally prop them up rather than to just comfort them. Every time this person got angry at another person, I was asked to tell them that their anger was entirely valid and that they had no fault in the situation. This person wanted me to validate their beliefs, to tell them what they wanted to hear, no matter the truth. I was being asked to serve as a temporary bandage for a deep and horrid wound that required stitches to heal.
It became a constant internal battle within myself: how do I help this person without letting them emotionally burn me out in the process? How do I help someone who is entirely incapable of helping themselves? The answers to these questions finally came to me when I realized one important fact: the person I was helping had no intention of helping themselves. They had no intention of getting better, of seeking out professional help, of working through their issues, of walking away from their own pity parties. This person liked the attention that came with being the person everyone wanted to help, but no one could ever seem to heal.
I finally realized that there was nothing more I could do to help this person and that in order to maintain my own emotional wellbeing, I had to begin to distance myself. I couldn’t continue to prop them up, to be there 24/7 while they refused to help themselves. At first, I felt guilty, like I was walking away from a friend in need. But slowly, I began to feel the weight that had previously been sitting on my shoulders lift away and I knew I was making the right decision.
Walking away or distancing yourself from people who are having a negative impact on your life can be a difficult thing to do, but it can also prove to be extremely empowering and rewarding in the long run.