February 20, 2013

The people you choose.



We spent some time out at the ranch this past weekend, and while we were there I kept feeling this overwhelming sense of gratitude for the family placed in my life and for the blessing it is to be surrounded by people who are loving and accepting and kind and good and an example of how family should be for one another. I'm not a perfect person. We all have our faults and our deeply held beliefs and opinions and our life path that we chose and our weird personality traits that are sometimes good and sometimes bad, but I kept thinking to myself how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who choose to love others just the way they are.  I think you have to come to a place of security in yourself to see differences in others - areas where you may disagree and sometimes strongly - but love them anyway.

Just when we got home from the ranch on Monday, I got into yet another fight with a challenging person in my life (sorry to be vague, but this one is a bit too personal to get into details about - it's a relationship I've chosen not to discuss on my blog), and I got to thinking about the difference between accepting and loving someone fully when it's easy, because they're just like you, and accepting and loving someone fully when it's hard... when they are very different. And that's the measure of real love, isn't it? It's our natural inclination to surround ourselves with people who are just like us, because they make us feel good about ourselves and they agree with us and they don't challenge us or make us question the paths we've chosen. But I think it's so important, as a citizen of the world, as cheesy as that sounds, to be OK with people who are different. Who come from a different culture. Who believe in a different God, or none at all. Who have more money than we do, or less. Who voted for a different president. Who speak differently, live differently, look differently, make different choices. IT'S ALL OK. The only thing that isn't OK is when someone discriminates against you or is cruel or makes assumptions or casts insults because of those perceived differences. That's been my struggle with this person in my life. Where do you draw the line between loving someone despite your differences and "taking their crap?"

Personally, I think it's important to respect yourself enough to let go of relationships that only add toxicity to you life, and focus your energy on the ones that add light, instead. Not because they agree with you and make you feel good about yourself and have things in common with you, because they may not even have all of those things! But because there is no excuse for hatred. There is no excuse for purposefully being cruel or knowingly hurtful. There are rules in relationships. There just are. And I guess, as a rule follower type of person, I'm willing to let go of relationships that break the rules. And my rules are simple: 1) love, always, and show it with your actions 2) accept, even if you don't agree with 3) respect, always.

I haven't always been perfect at keeping those rules, myself, but I think I'm coming to a place in my life where I'm realizing that these simple things are all it takes for a successful friendship/marriage/relationship of any kind. It sure is fun to really bond with someone over your similarities, but differences are totally OK too. We need all kinds of people in the world.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling thoughts this morning. Thanks for listening. :) Here are a few more random pictures from our weekend at the ranch. Happy Wednesday!


PS - If you'd like to read more of my ramblings today, this time on what it takes to "follow your dreams," head over here. :)

48 comments:

  1. You definitely get more perspective from not allowing toxic people into your life. I've been at a place where you want to keep a friendship/relationship, but sometimes the negativity is too much. & in those cases, as painful as it is, it's time to love yourself and walk away. Respect is always important, and if that's broken, it's hard to mend a relationship/friendship. Sending Virtual Blog Hugs!

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  2. The art of letting go. I feel like I've always been the type of person who just wants to be there for someone, even if I know they aren't good for me, but because they need someone.

    How do you know when enough is enough? It's a question that will be answered differently by everyone. Sometimes we let those people stomp all over us and run us into the ground. More times than I'd like to admit, it's happened to me. But I was trying to maintain a friendship, I was trying to be there for them anyway.

    Then one day, you kind of realize... you deserve to be treated better. You deserve respect. And you will no longer be treated like a doormat.

    That realization is so profound, and getting there to ACTUALLY letting go of that person is one of the hardest things - but once you follow through, and take control of the people you allow into your world, it feels overwhelmingly liberating.

    It hurts my heart to hear that this is something you have to go through, but it's wonderful that you're standing your ground and looking at things from a "big picture" perspective.

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  3. I was JUST having this conversation today. On how important it is to be responsible for the reality you construct for yourself. To feel comfortable walking away from relationships that are truly negative. I agree that it is SO important to acknowledge the differences people have and to always offer respect. And to also demand respect back. It is not okay to not be valued, but that is a two way street.

    I am a very big believer that the type of people you attract are because of how you portray yourself, and how you portray yourself is directly linked to how much you value yourself. More people need to own their reality and recognise that you get what you give.

    Okay, world's longest and by far best comment ever is coming to end now. GREAT post. X

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  4. this is the post i want to write on my blog and WISH i could without fear of the backlash it will cause. One day I will. for now, ill just link to yours.

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  5. Absolutely. The world would be a better place if we could let go of the hate and the need to change one another. Sometimes we have to accept that certain people don't bring anything positive to our lives and we have to let go. It sounds like you're definitely being the bigger person in this situation. Thanks for giving us all something to think about today :)

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  6. I completely agree with you. I find that the most toxic people in my life are also the ones I have either the longest history with, or are family members, so cutting them out seems practically impossible. I appreciate differences, but really struggle with watching someone I care about make repeated mistakes and refuse to listen to advice. I'm learning the only thing to do is to live and let live, and try to limit contact. Great post!

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  7. I choose to work on relationships with people that are worth it, and cut out those that are more toxic. Sadly though it's not always that easy, for example my brother is a total nightmare (no exaggeration) but I choose to keep him in my life because I love him anyway. I just don't tend to spend as much time on that relationship as I do on the healthier ones.

    Lovely post xx

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  8. I agree with what you said, how it's important to have people in your life, that love you no matter what. That's something that I'm always striving to have myself. And it's good to have people in your life that you love, even with differences you may have.
    I'm sorry that it's hard for you with that certain person in your life, but that's just how some things are I guess. I'm sure you deal with it the best way you can.
    On another notes, those pictures of the ranch are great. That one animal, the armidillo?-looks pretty neat. And those cinnamon buns looks so good! Yum.
    And I read your other post about 'Following Your Dreams'. That was a good post as well :)

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  9. I love differences! That is what makes this world so interesting. I have a friend who is a hard-core Obama lover. Me, not so much at all! But we are able to discuss everything and still love and respect each others opinions. I have a few friends who are gay. Do I 100% agree with it? No. But do I support them and think they should be able to be married? YES! My dad and sister are atheist. But I am a Christian. I definitely think there comes a time in your life where you just have to really distance yourself from the person/people who bring you down. Put up a wall and don't allow them to break it down. Most of the time those people are so miserable with their own lives that they don't know how to do anything but hurt the ones they are supposed to love. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.

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    1. Alice - I love your comment! You really hit the nail on the head :).

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  10. I feel like you are totally reading my mind this week.
    Love it!

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  11. Jenni, sometimes your words just come together so beautifully. The message is clear and concise without being pushy and that's not always easy to do!

    I feel as I age I'm more aware of these things. I specifically remember being friends with someone who was toxic to me in University. We had been friends because we grew up together in a very small town where often, we don't choose our friends because there isn't a lot of choice. As I got older I realised that I can in fact choose the people I want to surround myself with and if it isn't a healthy relationship, I don't have to continue it. Sometimes those decisions are come to easily while other's it's a process but in the end, we need to take care of ourselves.

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  12. Such a well-written and thoughtful post. Isn't that funny that it takes us "so long" to realize those things? I agree that it just gets to the point where you are "taking their crap" and life is just too short. And sometimes, people need the lesson of being alone to learn how to function properly in any given relationship. Anyway, sounds like you have it mostly 'figured out' and that's admirable, friend. Kudos indeed.

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  13. Love this and totally agree.

    I had to let a friend go a couple months ago, it just HAD to happen and it's been really hard. But, I know I deserve better in a friend. Yeah, we'd been friends since the 1st grade, but I felt as though she was taking advantage of that and of me. She wasn't following your rules ;) I've learned that the word selfish isn't really all that horrible of a word. I was selfish when I ended our friendship - I was looking out for me and my well being, and that's okay.

    As always, I love you.

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  14. This is a constant battle I go through on the daily :/

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  15. Wonderful ramblings this morning! It' so true. I love how you note removing people from you're life who don't bring light. Thanks for the reminder that we need to balance who we share our lives with and remember the key "rules" when choosing those people.

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  16. Thank you for verbalizing what I knew but couldn't. That it is 'ok' to let toxic relationships go, to have enough respect for myself to not be a part of it. Thank you.

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  17. What a wonderful post! I am touched as the essence of the post hits very close to home for me. Recently, I decided to cut ties with a close girlfriend. The decision was a long time coming and I realized that her negative energy, daily critical comments, and judgmental nature weren't really benefitting our relationship. I like how you mentioned that one needs to come from a place of security in themselves to see differences (and love) others unconditionally. This rings true in so many ways. For us women (and men)in our 20s, life is changing dramatically for us. We start careers, get married, have children, find religion, etc. and the gap/differences become more defined. What I've noticed is individuals who aren't secure with themselves or where they are in life are more prone to identify differences in a negative way.


    I commend you for looking at this situations with such maturity and grace. It's definitely a struggle dealing with toxic friendships and I feel you made the best choice for YOURSELF to let it go.

    Friends should build each other up, not bring each other down.

    ♥ Talia
    http://rubytiaradiaries.blogspot.com

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  18. That is all so very true, but so hard to follow through with at times. I think I need someone to remind me of these things daily. It is also hard to recognize a toxic relationship when you see one and have the wisdom to let it go...Sometimes it is just setting appropriate boundaries with others to protect yourself and other times it is enough to say good bye.
    That definitely took some maturity on your part to be able to recognize the differences in others and appreciate them anyway.

    Thanks for the motivation today!
    Shannon

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  19. I think that's so true. I totally removed a very toxic "friend" from my life a couple of years back, and have never looked back. I also temporarily removed someone else from my life, because they made me feel so awful- but I found it made life hard for people I truly loved for me to do that, so let them back in. And since, they've actually been completely fine. So sometimes, letting a toxic person go isn't a forever thing. x

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  20. Thank you so much for sharing, I loved this! I think your 3 rules are great ones. I think it is important to make a concious effort in life to love, even when its difficult. I think the best things come from that type of love, the kind that pushes you to learn more about yourself. Thank you for this reminder!

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  21. whoa. whoa. whoa. whoa. whoa.

    My former best friend has mental illness, and there is a balance of "but you me" "but I love you" "you are not you" "what if you're you again one day" "no one is perfect" "when have I ever been" "it used to be easy" "but it's so hard" "can I walk away" "how do I walk away" that I struggle with on a regular basis. The trick is that there isn't a right answer, there isn't. I've always concluded to keep her, and sometimes "what if" sustains me.. Who am I to walk away from anyone, when I have been blessed so greatly by those who stayed beside me through the crazy battles of my life? beats the shit out of me.

    but it's true. how right you are. on all accounts.

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    1. "but YOU hurt me.." <--- good thing I proof read.

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  22. you are someone after my own heart. seriously.

    i feel like i have been following your blog for years (which technically i have) but i always love it when you spill out your guts. your blog continues to be a favorite of mine.

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  23. when you said "Where do you draw the line between loving someone despite your differences and "taking their crap?"..... I felt a chill and thought "Why hasn't somebody explained it to me this way before?".
    You are so right, and I love your rules.

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  24. Thank you for sharing your experiences around people and their differences in your life. I was reading the minimalists blog the other day and they spoke about surrounding yourself with similar minded people - but what do you do when its your immediate family members who are so different to you? If it's one of your parents adding toxicity to your life - how do you handle that? (currently what I'm dealing with!)Such a wise and honest post Jenni xx
    Lou @ The Honesty Path

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  25. You are so wise. I definitely agree with you. I am going through my early 20s and I feel like it's definitely one of those times in which you just start eliminating the people who are hurtful, inconsiderate, or not supportive. A few weekends ago one of my "close" friends went off on me, saying some of the most hurtful things I have ever heard. With that, I have taken a new approach at examining the way people treat me and how I treat others. My job is simply to love people, not judge them, but at the same time, I need to surround myself with the most compassionate and understanding individuals in order to be the best person I can be. Those that just perpetuate negativity have no space in my life.

    Thank you for being so honest and eloquent. I love your posts.

    cardigansandpassports.blogspot.com

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  26. eeek.

    !!!

    the struggle between never throwing anyone away because everyone is worth some value, and keeping your sanity. it's a tough one.

    so, i sum it up with: eek!

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  27. jenni, as always, i SO needed this post today! i feel like your rules are so very basic and necessary in relationships, it's a shame people can't be so open to following them more, ya know? it IS such a struggle between accepting people and taking their shit- and i hate that feeling of not knowing if i'm being walked on or not...

    i always ask myself, at what point do i SOTP being the bigger person and start doing what i think is necessary- which is removing the toxic from my life!

    errr.... humans...

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  28. I think this post is going to generate a lot of feedback, it touches a raw spot that most people can relate to. I really appreciate the depth of this post. My M.O. is to treat people the way I would want to be treated... and for a long time it never occurred to me to set boundaries around how I allow others to treat me. Self respect and self love is an honest foundation from which to build rewarding relationships, and healthy boundaries (respecting people for their differences, but not taking crap) is part of that foundation. Great post, lady!

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  29. So true. Get rid of toxicity and focus on those that matter. Ps. I love the animal shots, especially the one with the bunny. What a cutie!

    x
    Bonnie Rose | The Compass Blog

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  30. Beautifully written Jenni. Ive learned to let go of these toxic relationships cause they only brought me down. It's so hard... Your amazing!

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  31. Jenni, so happy that you wrote this post! I can totally relate, especially when you said "The only thing that isn't OK is when someone discriminates against you or is cruel or makes assumptions or casts insults because of those perceived differences."- I have a couple of people in my family that do everything they can to slander my husband and I because we are different from them- we have always been nice to them, just to always get mistreated in return. I am at that point, as you are, to where I don't know what to do- forgive them, but let go at the same time or try to be nice, but get sucked back in with the insults. I would love to hear more about the decision you make..best of luck with it all :)

    http://mylifebeingrenewed.blogspot.com/

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    1. That's a very similar situation to mine, Melinda, and I have just decided to no longer tolerate it. I told her it's better we're not a part of each other's lives if she is going to be so confrontational and insulting to me all the time, every time. You teach people how to treat you, you know? Good luck to you.

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  32. WELL SAID! I love this and can relate this post. It's sad when certain friendships end but it's much better to not have those toxic people in your life, and to surround yourself with positve people who appreciate you/your friendship.

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  33. I love your ramblings :) I've been trying to figure out what really makes certain friendships actual "friendships" lately. You know, what things are okay to accept and which are not. It's tough but you said it perfectly... we must let go of relationships that only add toxicity to our life, in whatever way.

    P.S. is that an armadillo? Can't say I've ever seen one of those guys before :)

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  34. Great post! Sometimes people are only in our lives for a phase of it. I try to let friendships develop or recede organically. Plus, there's some sort of societal pressure that the number of friends corresponds to success as a person. We can get wrapped up in popularity. A sage person told me once, "it's not how many friends you have...it's that you have the right friends." As for friends being toxic...we have too many people that love us that don't get our time due to the time spent with a toxic person. I try to remember that the negativity probably comes from somewhere else (i.e., I've become the doormat), and I wish them well (and possibly a healing) on their journey (even if just mentally) from which I've removed or at least reduced my involvement.

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  35. Thank you so much for sharing this, it was definitely something I needed to hear. I struggle with where to draw the line when it comes to a toxic relationship but the person is a family member. I agree with you that there comes a point when you simply just need to focus your time and energy on the relationships that bring light in your life Yet realizing this still doesn't make it any easier to let go when it is family. I feel guilty like I'm not giving it my all when I consider it. I feel like I just talked in circles but I hope that made sense. haha Anyway, I'm really glad you shared this today.

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  36. Family and friends should be our 'cheerleaders' in life, as we should be theirs.
    Cortne
    cocoinmagnolia.com

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  37. This really hits home with me, as I have been dealing with several difficult relationships recently. I appreciate your words and thoughts on being mature enough to know when to let go. It's easier said than done, but it definitely feels good to have some breathing room. (And a lighter load on your shoulders!)

    Have a great day, I think you're fabulous.

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  38. This post holds a lot of truth! I feel like you've come to a solid conclusion at a young age- it takes a lot of us a lot longer to figure these things out! I feel like what you explained was the golden lesson I learned at 30 and it has given me so much more freedom and LOVE. I can accept others with differences and get the good ring/yang balance. And those people that try bringing poison in my life? I set my boundaries super close to me. I don't have tons to give or take from them and I feel like that's the best, most healthy relationship I can have with them. Sorry for the novel.

    You're awesome!
    xoxo gay

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  39. This is beautiful! I agree with this post and it really made me reflect on some of my own relationships. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  40. I love this post so much I had to figure out how to make my first 'Blogger' comment to tell you 'thanks' for posting something like this. This year and last I've been focused on making my life for *me* and not anyone else (not in a selfish way but I think you know what I mean?) and that means simplifying my life - clean out anything/anyone that doesn't make me feel better or help me grow. I figure if I have to second-guess their true sincerity & if they're really my friend, then that's my answer already there.
    It's really hard letting go of relationships in that sense but sometimes you have to realize that you can either keep on with that person and keep things messy/complicated or do what's right for *you* and let them go. It's hard and sometimes you'll feel like crap for it but...at the end of the day, you have to realize that you have to do what feels best for *you* and no one else.
    Gah, I hope that makes sense. lol But the post touched a heartstring so I wanted to tell you thanks. Oh and I *love* your blog. :)

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    1. Hey there! Thanks so much for taking the time to figure out the Blogger comments. :) I appreciate your thoughtful response! Good luck to you on surrounding yourself with those people that lift you up. :)

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  41. I tried commenting on this post a couple days ago, but blogger wasn't having it. Who knows what I wrote that day, but I love everything you shared in this post. It is easy surrounding ourselves with people just like us, but, you're right, the true measure of love is loving someone who is difficult to love.

    For me, it's not easy just letting to of people who are cruel/difficult... they're someone who desperately needs love too. It is important to have boundaries with those people though. Limiting your time with them at first is good, but there is a way to deal with those types of people. Very carefully is a good way to do it.

    I like your three rules for a relationship. They're rules that anyone can follow if they try.

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  42. The first photo is so mysterious and interesting... http://pralinkablogs.blogspot.cz/

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Thanks so much for leaving your two cents! I read and appreciate every comment and respond when I can. Thanks for reading. :)

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