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6 Strong Signs it’s Time to Let Go (Repost)

1300092819_ce1c589b90_zA repost from one of my favorite bloggers, Angel Chernoff.

6 Strong Signs it’s Time to Let Go

1.  Someone constantly expects you to be someone you’re not.

A great relationship is about two things: First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences.  So be cordial, but don’t completely change who you are for someone else simply because it’s what THEY want, or because it’s what THEY think is best for you.

If someone expects you to be someone you’re not, take a step back.  It’s wiser to lose relationships over being who you are, than to keep them intact by pretending to be someone else.  It’s easier to nurse a little heartache and meet someone new, than it is to piece together your own shattered identity.  It’s easier to fill an empty space in your life where somebody else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space within yourself where YOU used to be.

2.  A person’s actions don’t match their words.

Be wary of people who only tell you what you want to hear.  It’s so easy to believe someone when they’re telling you exactly what you want to hear, but you have to watch what they do too.  Actions speak louder than words – actions speak the whole truth.

Honestly, everybody deserves somebody who helps them look forward to tomorrow.  If someone has the opposite effect on you, because they are consistently inconsistent, and their actions never match up with their words, it might be time to let them go.  It’s always better to be alone than to be in bad company.  In the end, true friendship is a promise made in the heart – silent, unwritten, unbreakable by distance, and unchangeable by time.  So don’t just listen to what your “friends” say; watch what they do over the long-term.  Your true friends will slowly reveal themselves.

3.  You have a habit of moping and feeling sorry for yourself.

If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.  Being hurt is something you can’t stop from happening, but being miserable is always your choice.  No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.  Negative thinking creates negative results.  Positive thinking creates positive results.  Period.  The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the “buts” you use today.  Things always turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.

Eventually you will realize that happiness is not the absence of problems, but simply the ability to deal well with them.  Imagine all the wondrous things your mind might embrace if it weren’t wrapped so tightly around your struggles.  Always look at what you have, instead of what you have lost.  Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

4.  You’re clutching tight to an easy-street mentality.

Great accomplishments aren’t easy; they’re worth it!  So forget how you feel and remember what you deserve.  Right NOW is always the best time to break out of your shell.  Chances must be taken, mistakes must be made, and lessons must be learned.

Someday you will look back on your life and realize that everything worthwhile you’ve ever accomplished initially challenged you.  And that is as it should be, because big challenges often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary success.  Every struggle arises for a reason – either for experience or as a lesson.  A great journey is never easy, and no dose of adversity along the way is ever a waste of time if you learn and grow from it.

Remember, an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards, and such is life.  When life is pulling you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to eventually launch you forward in a positive direction.  So keep focusing, and keep aiming!

5.  You truly dislike your current situation.

In life, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb, rather than the top of the one you don’t.  So don’t let people who gave up on their goals talk you out of going after yours.  The best thing you can do in most situations is to follow your intuition.  Take risks.  Don’t just make the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what might happen.  If you do, nothing good will ever happen.

In addition, realize that it’s not always about trying to fix something that’s broken either.  Sometimes it’s about starting over and creating something brand new.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.  Sometimes growing stronger means growing apart from old habits, relationships, and circumstances, and finding something different that truly moves you – something that gets you so excited you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning.  That’s what LIVING is all about.  Don’t just settle for the default settings in life, when you can customize absolutely everything.  (Read The 4-Hour Workweek.)

6.  You catch yourself obsessing over, and living in, the past.

Holding on to what’s no longer there holds too many of us back.  Some of us spend the vast majority of our lives recounting the past and letting it steer the course of the present.  Don’t waste your time trying to live in another time and place.  Let it GO!  You must accept the end of something in order to build something new.  So close some old doors today.  Not because of pride, inability or egotism, but simply because you’ve entered each one of them in the past and realize that they lead to nowhere.

Even after the toughest times, eventually you will overcome the heartache, and forget the reasons you cried, and who caused the pain.  You will realize that the secret to happiness and freedom is not about control or revenge, but in letting things unfold naturally, and learning from your experiences over the course of time.  After all, what matters most is not the first, but the final chapter of your life, which unveils the details of how well you wrote your story.  So let go of the past, set yourself free, and open your mind to the possibility of a new beginning.

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Taking a Hiatus After a Long Relationship is Chance to Regroup

75683917_90fdbe66dd_zI have been alone since June, 2009. This is a little longer hiatus than I wanted but I had trouble finding men who were available, interested in dating, and in addiction/mental health recovery. I saw hundreds of men at recovery conventions but neither they nor I was wearing  a “I am single” sign. I joined online dating sites but found few men who didn’t respond to alcohol as drinking “a little”. An 18 pack a day can be a little to some drinkers. Beer drinkers especially are funny. They can’t have a problem because they only drink beer. Doesn’t beer have alcohol?

So I have created a forum for people in recovery who are interested in dating one another. I have built it around friendship because I believe friendship is the foundation for all lasting relationships. I have also added 60+ areas of interests/hobbies so in developing friendships, the forum members can share similar interests.

For another perspective about taking a hiatus, I added a post from Paging Dr. Nerdlove:

Being Alone Doesn’t Mean Being Miserable

Loneliness sucks. I totally get that. I’m an extrovert; I need to be around people otherwise I start getting twitchy and depressed. But I’m an extrovert who’s gotten very good at being alone. I didn’t used to be. I grew up with a twin brother1, so even when I was in my room reading or farting around on the primitive excuses we had for computer networks2 there were other people around. But once we hit high-school and weren’t forcibly joined at the hip… well suddenly he’s the popular guy on campus and I’m off in my own little world and rapidly running out of oxygen. I didn’t have many friends and spent far more time cooped up in my room, feeling sorry for myself than you’d believe. I was profoundly lonely and miserable. My few abortive attempts at dating were beyond comedically laughable. I mean, how do you end up with someone cheating on you before you’re even actually dating? College was in some ways worse. I had a tight group of friends… but if I wasn’t with them, the emptiness would return, somehow all the worse for knowing my friends were out there. I wanted us to be the sort of friends who did everything together because… well, frankly, being alone would drive me crazy.

It was only after I moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone that I started learning how to separate “being alone” from “being lonely”… and a lot of that meant learning to appreciate my own company. Not necessarily in the sense of “yay, thank god all those annoying people are gone so I can read”, but in the sense of recognizing that it was ok to be alone. It didn’t mean I was broken. It didn’t mean I was deficient. Going out to lunch or dinner with only a book for company didn’t mean that there was something wrong with me, it meant that I was hungry and didn’t feel like cooking. I might have gotten some pitying looks from the waitstaff, but hey… they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them so hell with ‘em. Plus: I had a book. Books are awesome.

The problem isn’t “being alone”, it’s the baggage that we assign to it. The difference between loneliness and solitude is subjective; you can be lonely while surrounded by people or feel content with having some “me” time. That feeling of loneliness comes from the sense that we need other people around because we’re not sufficient in and of ourselves. Yeah, we’re pack animals and we’ve got an instinctual drive to live in social groups… but we’re also individuals and we have to be comfortable with being on our own.

A Relationship Isn’t A Magical Cure

One thing I see a lot in people who are miserable being single is the idea that a relationship is going to somehow make everything better. They don’t get much farther than “get a girlfriend” or “get a boyfriend” and somehow… they’re going to just be better people. They’ll be more confident, better looking, more driven, just… better, as though a relationship was somehow an upgrade to your life’s OS.

“Before we got together I was wallowing in my own filth. Thanks to Relationship 2.0, I’ve suddenly developed social skills, a personality and the ability to do parkour!”

Except that never happens. Being in a relationship doesn’t change anything except maybe how you spend your free time. If you were insecure before you were dating somebody, you’re going to keep being insecure; hell, now that you have something to lose, it could get worse. Having a girlfriend may make you feel more confident… for a moment. Then something is going to happen to you and knock Dumbo’s magic feather out of your hand and unless you’ve also been working on your personal issues, you’re going to go right back to the mess you were beforehand.

If you’re hoping that finding a relationship is going to change things for you aside from giving you companionship – and many of you are, even if you can’t admit it to yourselves – then you’re going to disappoint yourself at best and make things even harder on yourself.

I hate using cliches and “inspirational” quotes that look great over artsy photos of the seashore, but there’s one by Ru Paul that’s absolutely appropriate: “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell can you love anyone else?” It’s cool to want to be around other people, but when you’re making yourself miserable because you don’t have one specific person with which to do everything, you’re going to make it that much harder on yourself. Expecting one person – or even a small group – to be responsible for your emotional well-being is an absurd  level of pressure to put on others and it’s unfair to boot. Most folks have a hard enough time managing their own lives. Expecting them to be responsible for yours – even a portion of it – is unfair and it’s going to push them away.

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Learning How to Have a Better, Richer Relationship

4851374698_ae172fcb86_z“When two codependents enter a relationship, they often overtly or covertly try to manipulate the partner to provide the love and approval needed to fill what John Bradshaw calls the “hole in the soul”. Both partners attach themselves to the other for a sense of completeness, a strategy that stunts personal growth and development. By surrendering responsibility for our happiness to other people, we create power struggles, arguments, and ultimately broken promises, expectations, and hearts. We can break out of the codependent trap….by working through the pain of our unmet childhood needs and by cultivating an inner life.”       Ronald S. Miller

In 2009 when I began living alone and learning from divorce, I was determined to find my unmet childhood needs in order to grow more completely. One pattern I have seen is that I don’t feel that I deserve affection from a man. My father was very self-absorbed. Being the oldest child of three girls, I must have learned very young that he didn’t have much to give me or anyone. Instead I apparently decided that I needed to parent him. Actually, I guess I became the parent for both of my parents at a very young age. So it was an old pattern that I have learned to give up. I need parenting also at times.

I know now that my husband and I paid a high emotional price for each other. It is amazing how clear it is to me now and how I never realized it sooner. Maybe because his leaving was so traumatic, I was able to see my anger for what it was. Instead of trying to work through our trouble with each other, we chose to attack and criticize. We were on a collusion course for disaster. I knew that I needed to heal and to mourn.

While I was healing, I am read Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. The author, Harville Hendrix , and his wife, Helen Lakelly Hunt, continue to help healing couples. This book was originally written in 1988 and has been updated. I am read it very slowly and  was learning with my heart and not just with my head.

I am pondering this selection now: From “Becoming a Lover”–“We all have an understandable desire to live life as children. We don’t want to go to the trouble of raising a cow and milking it; we want to sit down at the table and have someone hand us a cool glass of milk….This wishful thinking finds its ultimate expression in relationships. We don’t want to accept responsibility for getting our needs met; we want to “fall in love” with a superhuman mate and live happily ever after. The psychological term for this tendency to put our frustrations and the solutions to our problems outside ourselves is “externalization,” and is the cause of much of the world’s unhappiness.”

So each day I focus on being a happy person. It really is a daily choice I have. To accept what is and to be grateful for it sometimes takes me several start-overs for the day but it is getting easier.

From Yvette Bowlin: “5 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship”:

“Toxic” doesn’t only entail obvious damage like physical abuse, stealing, or name-calling. It also represents all the internal turmoil that results from an unhealthy relationship. I’d like to share how I learned to recognize when I was in a relationship that was not suitable for me.

These are 5 signs that you are in a toxic relationship:

1. It seems like you can’t do anything right.

The other person constantly puts you down as not good enough. They mock your personality, and you feel ashamed most of the time. You only feel pardoned when you take on the traits of the person doing the condemning or judging.

2. Everything is about them and never about you. 

You have feelings, too, but the other person won’t hear them. You’re unable to have a two-sided conversation where your opinion is heard, considered and respected. Instead of acknowledging your feelings, they battle with you until they get the last word.

3.  You find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with this person.

Every day brings another challenge. It seems as though they are always raising gripes about you. Their attempt to control your behavior is an attempt to control your happiness.

4. You’re uncomfortable being yourself around that person.

You don’t feel free to speak your mind. You have to put on a different face just to be accepted by that person. You realize you don’t even recognize yourself anymore, and neither do your closest friends and family.

5. You’re not allowed to grow and change.

Whenever you aim to grow and improve yourself, the other person responds with mockery and disbelief. There is no encouragement or support for your efforts. Instead, they keep you stuck in old judgments insisting that you will never be any different than you are now.

If you’re experiencing even just one of these signs, check in with yourself to see if the relationship is doing more damage than good. Evaluate the relationship and what it’s worth to you.

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