I used to call myself an empath. I prided myself on being able to read a room and people in seconds. This helped me navigate situations with care and some ease. But as time went by, I found myself increasingly affected by the emotions of those around me. If my friend was sad, I was sad. I thought that to be a good friend or family member, I had to share everyone’s emotions 24/7. It was exhausting.
After some therapy and self-reflection, I’ve learned a few things that have kept me balanced and made my life as drama-free as possible.
“No” is a complete sentence. I used to always find myself defending myself and explaining why I can’t do something or why I can’t be around certain people. I now realize that I don’t owe anyone an explanation if what I am doing is for my own protection. I don’t need anyone’s permission to opt out of certain situations and activities. Just no.
The past is the past. I used to have this good friend who, over time, stopped responding to my texts or would take days or weeks to respond. I didn’t even consider breaking up the friendship at that point because I would remember all the good memories we had. In the end, she demonstrated lack of care towards our friendship and it took me a long time to get over it. What I’m trying to say is that the past stays in the past. You have to see people for how they are NOW.
Going no contact is freeing. I’ve had my fair share of toxic and narcissistic people in my life. There is no use reasoning with these people as their main goal in life is to bring you down to bring themselves up. With the case of my ex-step “family,” I’ve just gone no contact. Aside from anecdotes here and there, they are out of my life and I don’t allow them access into mine. There is just no room for that kind of negativity in my life and I’m proud to say that I’ve been way happier ever since.
No second chances. People fuck up once in a while, I get it. But if their mistake is directly tied to their lack of respect for me, they get the boot. Of course, it’s different in terms of your career and family may get some more leeway than most, but for the most part, I don’t tolerate people who don’t respect my choices or who don’t respect me as a person. People never change and we can’t expect them to change for us, but what we can do is change our exposure to them.
For the past couple years, I’ve developed so many boundaries towards people and situations. Feelings get hurt because we give people the ability to hurt us. What if we take back that power and perform preventive maintenance in our relationships to maximize good feelings and minimize bad ones?