Thought of the Week: Take Responsibility For Your Relationships

This ideology can easily be misconstrued if viewed upon with a misleading perspective. Unfortunately, there are many unhappy people in the world. Much of this unhappiness is the cause of harmful, dare I say, toxic relationships.

I am not only referring to romantic partnerships in this instance, but all kinds or relationships and associations.

Whether you believe it or not, you have a responsibility and a choice to decide whom you are going to mix with in life. Once you are born there is no set group of people that you have to mingle with no matter what. You have the freedom to choose which relationships to build and which relationships to step away from.

Before I proceed I am going to answer the query you are undoubtedly contemplating. What about my family? I have to stick with my family through thick and thin, no matter what and no questions asked.

Part of me believes this is true. Yes. You should give any person, particularly your own flesh and blood, the benefit of the doubt. Everyone has their flaws so it wouldn’t be gracious to just leave your family hanging.

Your family differs from other social bonds you form in life in that you have no control over who your family is. You come out of your mother’s womb with no clue about who your parents are and who your brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. For this reason I tend to understand why people hesitate disassociating themselves from their family members. But what if…

The relationship with your family was so pernicious? So physically and mentally draining? So catastrophic to you and your health that you just had to get out? Well, then I would argue you aren’t taking responsibility if you stay engaged in a situation like that. Family is everything up to a certain point. There always has to be a give and take.

Perhaps using the words “get out” is a bit dramatic to describe alleviating a challenging familial situation. Maybe a better choice of words would be spending less time with those members of your family who attempt to suck away your well-being and add no real value to your life.

As for any other relationship in your life, you have the onus of responsibility to nurture them or break them. It might sound harsh, but why spend time with people whom you share no genuine connection with, whom take advantage of you, or whom you never feel right around? Even if this is a person whom you think you are in love with. Why stay together when neither party is happy?

People change. Circumstances change. There are many reasons why people choose to stay together in troubled relationships-fear of being labeled selfish, fear of being alone, etc., but only one authentic reason why they shouldn’t: their own well-being and the well-being of those around them. Children aren’t going to experience as high levels of well-being as they could when their parents aren’t in a loving relationship.

I don’t suggest you disband every relationship you think might be damaging. You know which relationships are truly problematic and which aren’t. I advocate that you seek to cultivate the relationships you genuinely care about; those relationships steeped in compassion, love, altruism, gratitude, and enjoyment. If you are experiencing a dysfunctional relationship or association, then distance yourself from it the best you can. Your prosperity will thank you.


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