Updated: Mar 1, 2019
When you let go of people who provide no value, it frees you to acknowledge and strengthen your bond with people who DO bring value and positive meaning in your life. Letting go of "bad" makes room for "good". This keeps you in "gratitude state" vs "emotional austerity state."
It doesn't mean those people you release from your inner circle are "bad". They're just not good for you! Billions of people live on our planet. Freeing yourself from "low to no" value people, frees those people to find their right match too!
Choose the people in your "inner circle" wisely. Choose those who bring value and heart-soul connection into your life. Make sure you also bring value to them. This is the true meaning of "interdependence." Surround yourself with good people. It determines your happiness level and earth "frequency". Choose people who help you in some way. Choose people who "up your game".
This is especially important if you're grieving.
Positive By-Product of GRIEF: Relationship Clarity
I learned this lesson over the past year, while grieving the deaths of both my parents.
When you're forced to let go of people or pets you deeply love - through death, divorce or other physical separation - you start recognizing those people who support you, step up, make you feel nurtured, honored, loved - while you ride the up & down see-saw of Grief. Its emotional, mental, spiritual instability that shakes you to your very core. You also recognize people who do not support you, though you assumed they would. Relationship Clarity.
Grief brings you relationship clarity. The people you counted on or felt closest with before your loss, may not support you now. They may not know how. You're in no condition to give them an "Instruction Manual." Save your energy. If they prove you cannot count on them now - don't expect them to change. Find others who can help you, hold your hand or make you smile. Cut your losses.
Those you least expect to "step up", may give you exactly what you need at the most perfect moment. Even if they don't know it.
During grief, it's more important than ever to feel like you matter. That you're not invisible. You can be the most self-sufficient, bull-headed, strong-willed and self-motivated person on the planet. When you lose someone you deeply love, someone linked to your heart and soul, you're likely to become a cream puff or delicate daisy. Emotions control you as they never did before. Your world is shattered. Your pain is real. Pain pops up at strangest times, in strangest ways. Grief has its own rhythm.
While you look the same on the outside, you're not the same on the inside. Grief shatters your world. The more you loved that person you lost, the more shattered and broken you feel. Picking up the pieces, finding new motivation is not always easy. It takes time.
It's important that others "see" you; acknowledge and help you. Whether they make you laugh, hug you, bring you a meal, sit with you until you cry, text "how you doing", help you pay bills, clean the house, take you out for some fun, simply ask "how do you feel today?", acknowledge your special talents or loved one's gifts and talents. You need that acknowledgement. Whether you realize it or not.
Even if you've been self-motivated your entire adult life, losing someone you deeply love will likely demotivate you. You will question everything; even your faith is tested. You need nurturing, soothing from others. A kind word, a gentle smile, a small but sweet gesture made at the right time - will mean the world to you.
Stay open and pay attention to the people around you. If your grief is fresh (first 6 months), keep a Grief Journal with a "gratitude section" listing everyone who makes you feel good or does nice things for you. You can thank them for their generosity and thoughtfulness later when you're stronger. Don't forget to thank them! Just do it when you're ready. Don't over-exert yourself; add too many obligations. Grief carries a heavy weight. Those people who help you will know this.
Many of you know I lost my father 3 years ago (2016). Lost my mother over 1 year ago (Nov 2017). Lost my brother and sister to murder in 1988. Last week, I lost my loyal canine companion Zoe after 14-1/2 years. All of these people (Zoe had 4 legs but definitely a person!) meant the world to me. Loved them each deeply. Deep heart-soul love. Deep pain. Each loss brought a new element to grief.
Since my mother died, have no real family except two cousins. Friendship connections matter even more now. You don't need 100 friends. A handful of heart-soul connected friends or family members is quite sufficient.
Over the last year, some friends I'd known last 8-20 years made my grief worse, not better. They expected "the old me" who made them laugh or listened to their troubles. They expected the "light-hearted, emotionally stable, ever-present and always forgiving Robin". I couldn't be that. They expected me to work at our friendship: initiate outings, get-togethers, pay attention to them. I couldn't do that. They expected the self-sufficient Robin who could pay her bills, make business decisions, stay organized, work 5 days a week, handle conflicts with contractors and mechanics while wearing a blind-fold. I wasn't that.
It was time for those friends to step up. They didn't. Same applied to some friends in Sedona since I returned in July. The art of "being there" is lost on some people. When you're grieving, you just want people around you who know how to just "be there."
So this past year, let go of some old friends. They expected more than I could give. While providing no value or support in my life. If they needed a Grief Instruction Manual, they could Google one. Or read my Grief Posts on this website. I could barely see straight most days for over 14 months! Teaching others how to support you during grief? You simply do not have the energy. Grief carries a heavy weight. Lighten your load.
During grief, you learn who your true allies are. That's an amazing gift! You learn which people you are soul-connected to; which people you are not. Which people value you. Which people don't.
When people help you during grief, help you when you're down, help you feel stable, nurtured - they are true friends, family and allies. If they don't help you, don't make you feel good, balanced, nurtured or honored - let them go. Save yourself from drama or excess conflict. Don't worry about them. They will be fine.
Letting go of those you loved the most: not easy. Letting go of superfluous family or friends: that is easy.
As you grieve people who meant the world to you, you sift through your other relationships. Choosing which people deserve your attention and which do not. Ease your pain. Take care of yourself. When you feel strong again, acknowledge and appreciate the people who helped you through this horrible journey! Those people deserve your time and attention.
In today's hectic world, simplify your life. Surround yourself with good people. And stay connected with them. Support them when they need it.
During my personal grief process, my neighbors stepped up in ways that melted my heart. Neighbors in Arizona and Texas. Texas neighbors stopped by my house almost every day. Arizona neighbors call, text or knock on door every 3 days. One Texas neighbor knocked on door for almost 30 minutes! While I was working with a client.
Neighbors and friends I least expected to "support" me, came through. Including this Christmas. Two Sedona friends invited me to their Christmas dinners. One of those friends I hadn't seen in years. Her invitation meant the world to me. Other Sedona friends & acquaintances I hadn't seen in years: stepped up, called, texted, consistently. While people who claimed to be "close friends like family" did not step up at all. You learn who your true allies are.
General Rule About Relationships - During Grief or Just Life
Choose people who care about you, support you, make you laugh, bring you value and "get you." Life's too short to choose friends and family in your Inner Circle who require work or an Instruction Manual. Make your life easy. Be choosy. Creating the perfect Inner Circle of friends & family for you: the biggest decision in your life. When you choose good people, your life is easier.
I'm very lucky to have wonderful friends and cousins who stepped up and became more than I ever expected. This year, grabbing hold and investing in all the good relationships I have; all the good people around me. Letting go of other people frees my calendar to strengthen bonds-connections with those who kept me sane through the grief chaos. Bringing them equal or more value than they brought me. Excited about that. Win-Win.
Appreciate the good people in your life. Even if a simple text "thank you for being in my life" or "How you doing?" It might mean the world to them at that moment. When you think about someone you care about, let them know. Otherwise they won't know! If they're meant to be in your Inner Circle, they will respond in kind.