When things fall apart, new things can begin

This is your daily reminder that you have permission to let go of relationships that harm you.

I wrote this in my journal the other day and then sat there for awhile and stared at it.

For me, this is a radical, revolutionary (rebellious?) thought.

Perhaps like many women, I've let my sense of well-being become inextricably bound to the stability and longevity of my relationshipseven when those relationships hurt me. I'm an eternal optimist in relationships. I can change him! She's not really that mean! It's ok if they hurt me because I'm turning the other cheek!

These are the things I'm learning about relationships:

1. Forgiveness is not synonymous with reconciliation.

I forgive because this is what God asks of me. I forgive because, ultimately, letting go of resentment helps me live a better, happier, fuller life. Forgiveness is not about my relationship with the person who hurt me so much as it about my relationship to myself and God. I forgive because it frees me up to be the person God created me to be. I forgive because hanging onto dead or harmful relationships is lack of acceptance and denial of reality. I let go in love because my worthiness as a beloved child of God is not dependent upon the approval of others or whether our relationship is fully reconciled.

2. Mistaking codependency for forgiveness

I am one of those people who can't sleep at night if I know someone is mad at me. Desperation clutches at my chest and I cannot rest until I know things are going to be OK. A breakthrough happened for me when I began to see what drove my desperation: relationship codependency. I know codependency can sound like an off-putting psychological label, but here's what it means for me: placing my happiness and well-being in the hands of others. My codependency manifests itself when I rush back into harmful relationships. I think women are conditioned more often than men to equate their self-worth with the stability and longevity of their relationships. I was taught that tolerating hurtful behavior from others was actually the Christian thing to do because it meant I was "being forgiving." It's hard for me to distinguish sometimes between codependency and forgiveness which is why having trusted friends is so important. My friends only want what is best for me and they help me stand up for myself in relationships.

3. Relax and detach

I have so much anxiety around relationships. I can become so other-centered that I completely lose myself in their needs, their wants, their expectations—to the point of harming myself. I feel so much better about myself when I relax and detach. I don't mean callous disregard or giving the cold shoulder. I simply mean, relaxing my grip on outcomes in relationships. Letting myself relax into the flow of what is happening without needing to force/control things is so much healthier for me. Here's a revolutionary thought (haha): I can't control or change others. Ultimately, people are going to do whatever it is they are going to do. There's freedom in that because it means my responsibility is simply my own thoughts, words and behaviors. When I'm taking care of myself and my responsibilities, I like myself.

Endings are not always bad. Things fall apart and this is just a part of life. When something ends, a new thing can begin. And when things fall apart, I find myself free to let myself relax into whatever the future holds.

It's not always easy, but it IS simple—if I just let it be.