The Truth About “It’s Not You. It’s Me.”

Photo by Lesha

(And I think you clash with the colors of my world)

This can be true about a lot of different relationship dynamics. From lovers to friends to coworkers and teammates.

I talk a lot about raising your standards… primarily because I often need to hear this reminder. I sometimes fall into the trap of sympathy for people, or I get sucked into the spiral of, “I can help this person!” — which contributes to my desire of being needed. But when that relationship begins to cause me stress and discomfort and taxes my personality, it’s time to say “sionora.”

We all have our wants and needs. Everyone around us is sorting this out, too, and in every relationship there has to be a healthy balance of give and take. Certain parts of our lives are triggered by the emotional feeling that we really are able to make a difference for someone (This can be a very good quality! I know I feel incredible when I’m able to help someone. It’s a primary driven-focus of motivation for my actions.). We may feel that it helps us because we are recognized. We are supportive. We offer the sensitive ear that we would like to receive in our moments of difficulty or struggle. It’s good for our egos. It fills a void. It contributes positively to someone else’s life. But… what do you do when that relationship takes a toxic root in your life?

It usually doesn’t start off “bad”; we would just end it before it ever begins, right? I’ll give you an example: I had a very good relationship with someone who I truly enjoyed as a friend more than as a boyfriend. As we dated, things got more serious for him than they did for me. I was being asked questions that implied a lot more than I was ready to entertain, like, “How many kids will we have?”

As his interest grew, I felt more and more uncomfortable about our friendship/relationship. It wasn’t him. It was me. I began to avoid his phone calls. I began to feel stressed when we went out to dinner and had that silence in a conversation that could be pivotal to the words that were uttered next. I felt anxiety from the relationship. “Uh-oh, things could get awkward.” He was a great person, completely fun to spend time with and ready for adventure, which I loved, but way more serious about commitment than I was currently interested in exploring. I knew it wasn’t fair to him since my feelings were not the same.

His pursuit to reach his desired outcome conflicted with my needs; and thus, jealousy and possession began to set into the mix. If I had calls from guys, he would ask me about them in an interrogative sort of way. If I was late from an errand, he’d question my whereabouts. I began to feel the walls closing in on me, and it was making me miserable!

It’s kind of difficult to just drop everything and take an axe to it, but that’s exactly what needed to happen. We had the talk. I knew he was going to take it badly. He did. It was uncomfortable for both of us, but our road together had to diverge since we were meant to travel different paths. Luckily, I was able to be strong enough and not repeat previous patterns like I did in my youth by compromising my standards and settling for less than I deserved.

An important lesson I have learned through the many mistakes that I have made is that you never have to “give-in” on what you think is important for your needs. You also don’t have to justify your reasons just to bring someone else satisfaction. I recognized that my need for fun company conflicted with his need for a committed relationship, and we certainly weren’t traveling at the same pace to ever sync up. You have a responsibility to take care of your needs. No one else is going to do that for you, and you should never expect someone else to handle such an important responsibility.

The people we allow into our life who occupy our time must be able to positively contribute to our betterment, growth, and overall fulfillment. If someone is going to put some stress and strain on the relationship,it must end. Now, I’m certainly not saying that at the first sign of difficulty you bail, but when it becomes repetitive, stressful, and it detracts from the beauty you radiate to the world, it becomes necessary to do so. When I was getting interrogated by my friend, it caused me to be closed off, defensive, quiet, jaded — completely the opposite of who I am when I’m feeling my best. It’s as destructive as eating an entire package of Oreo cookies at midnight on your bedroom floor. No bueno.

See, when the right people are in your life, they will pick you up. They will help you shine. They will help you be more of who you are, allowing you to grow into the person that you are meant to become. When these negative energy suckers and emotional drainers are eating away at you — feasting on your positive spirit, enthusiasm, and energy — you can’t possibly be your best. You are unable to help more people with the gifts you possess when you are being forced to compromise your standards. That’s lowering the bar instead of raising it. The higher the bar, the better the people with whom you’re surrounded.

There is no shortage of people in this world, so we have the ability to pick and choose our friends and those we wish to be around. We may as well select the ones with the most joy that complement our life’s pursuits. This support and love energizes us so we are able to color our world.
Radiate your gifts.
It’s not them. It’s you.

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