Social media is ending relationships as we know them.
Now you may read that and think that’s a good thing, or you may read that and think of it in a bad way. The debate is heavy in both arenas.
After all, if you spend all your time online, you’ll become a recluse, won’t have any close relationships, and may destroy all the ones you currently have in your life, right?
Well, maybe not.
Current statistics show that one in three marriages today began with relationships that started in the online world. Friendships are started through all kinds of sites that would have made those friendships impossible even a few short years ago. And business? The only thing holding us back from doing business with anyone, anywhere, is the amount of energy we put into our marketing budget.
Does that mean social media is ending relationships, or simply changing them?
When we are born into this world, we are handed a set of relationships simply by birthright. You don’t choose your family; they come as a part of a package deal. Take them or leave them, love them or hate them, your family is your family.
As we age, we begin to sort through the people in our lives, and commit to friendships that help us develop ourselves along the way. We make good choices and bad choices. We befriend people that will influence us to be our best and worse selves.
And of course the older we become, the more relationships we form. We can develop business relationships with co-workers, management, and even with our customers and clients. Some of those will turn into friendships, and some may go deeper than that.
Yet overall the sole reason we dive into any relationship, whether it’s for one hour or for a lifetime, is to further advance who we are as a person. People enter our lives to teach us more about who we really are.
Many years ago, I read a poem that helped me let go of a friendship that was fading away.
Reason, Season, or Lifetime
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
And that made all the difference.
When you start to realize that every relationship you create isn’t meant to last for a lifetime, you can begin to appreciate the quality and the purpose each person brings to your life.
But here’s the thing; once you begin looking at relationships in this manner, it’s easier to let go of a relationship you’ve only recently started. A co-worker, for instance, is easy to distance yourself from when you get a promotion or move to another company.
But what about a friendship you’ve held onto since you were preschoolers? Or what about a relationship with a relative – a cousin, a sibling, or even a parent?
Can those be seasonal relationships too?
In my experience the answer is yes … and no.
Your mom, for instance, will always be your mom. You can’t change that. The relationship was formed at birth, and will continue through until the day that you die.
But acknowledging the fact that she is your mom, and keeping her in your life to allow her to have influence on a regular basis are not the same thing.
No matter how strong the relationship, how significant the bond, there are times when you need to sever it in whatever manner you can, and say:
I quit allowing you to influence me in a direction I choose not to go.
I quit allowing you to be one of the most important people in my life.
I quit giving you time, because all it’s giving me is hurt.
Is it hard? Yes. And this post isn’t designed to provide you with all the guidance you’ll need to make that leap of faith and turn away from the relationship that is doing you more harm than good.
What this post is designed to do is to give you the permission you need to say “I quit”, and choose to build other, healthier relationships around you instead.
Let it go
The first step is to realize a relationship is no longer working for you. When you realize it’s unhealthy, determine the cause. Is it something that can be fixed? Or is it a turning point in your relationship? When you know you are drifting apart, going in different directions, with very little likelihood you’ll ever grow into the same needs again, let it go.
When you let go of one relationship, it makes room for others. When you fill your life with new activities – even if those activities are online – it opens up your mind to accept things that may not have been possible in the past. It gives you a fresh start at how you plan out each day, and who you plan it with.
Why do you need a change? Why isn’t this relationship working for you anymore? Why do you need something different in your life? When you start answering the “why’s”, it also opens up doors to show you what you DO need in your life. Pay attention, and use that as direction for finding new things.
Letting old relationships go, and bringing new relationships in with new experiences is not an easy process. You may need therapy to let go of the past. You may need plenty of recovery time to allow yourself time to heal.
But if you keep the end in mind – the ability to further your journey down a path that can only be defined by you – your opportunities will open up tenfold.