Weekly essays this month sure seem to surround the topic of seeking and releasing relationships. A more savvy writer would say it is because September is my wedding anniversary month and this is a very strategic plan of mine. Alas I am not that savvy writer. Here is a photo of us celebrating this month though.
Talking on the podcast about friends, mentors, influencers, ways to foster relationships, and being a spiritual gangster has put me in a reflective mood about who I am connecting with these days.
It is easy to let time slip by and all of a sudden it is months or years before you reach out to someone. Then it has been so long it feels insurmountably embarrassing. Which just compounds the issue because more time passes.
Unless that is just me?
Today I want to look at both moving away from and towards different relationships. Healthy relationships are a component of the Mental Well-being pillar of Sustainable Productivity. Good relationships take effort and sometimes part of that effort is paring down what is not working – releasing those connections that are no longer lifting you up.
We all raised to not touch the hot stove, to not run into traffic. To avoid physical pain. This is the basis of thousands of years of evolution. Survival of the fittest.
Did you know that relationships can affect our mental and physical health in similar ways.
Kross, et al published a study that shows physical pain and rejection show up similarly in the brain. When participants were asked to consider a recent rejection, the brain lit up just like brains have in 500 other studies of physical pain. This was not a small result either – this happened up to 88% of the time.
Rejection hurts – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And sometimes we are the ones that realize we need to do the rejecting.
Some relationships are for a season of our lives. I had teammates who I spent the majority of my waking hours with, but we eventually drifted away. Some divorces happen because the people grow apart. That does not mean that these relationships were wrong. Sometimes they just run their course.
You may know what I mean. That lonely feeling you get in your gut when in a room full of people. Maybe you try to explain thoughts and feelings in different ways yet nothing really lands. Instead of trying to fit that square peg into a round hole, what if you considered spending less time with that relationship?
There’s no lonely quite as brutal as the lonely you feel when you’re surrounded by people. Meg Tietz
I would also like to float the idea that you might need to start with releasing relationships that are not working for you in order to make space for the ones you are seeking. This may leave you in the scary in between where it feels like you are alone.
Trust me, you are never alone.
You are never alone because you always have your own true self. That inner voice that helps you decide what is meaningful, true, and Sustainably Productive.
Some call this your conscience or God or the universe or even Jiminy Cricket.
This core self is where you can always go to establish what is true for you. This is the space where healthy relationships grow from. If a relationship you are seeking connects with this space in your gut, it will feel more authentic and grounded.
Even when the public facing you feels surly and dark, you cannot escape from the light of the true you. I love how Natasha Smith puts it:
Nothing can separate you from the love of God. Not even you.
Sustainable You Questions
1. How do you feel in a room full of people? What are physical signs and symptoms that you might need to think of releasing relationships?
2. What is the first reaction you feel to the idea of sitting still for 5 minutes? Not necessarily meditation, but just being still. If you are anxious about this, why?
3. What is preventing you from seeking relationships that might help you feel seen and restored instead of burned out and empty?
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