These horses couldn’t get enough of each other. I think they may be frenemies. Is this the nature of boundary-pushing friendships?

Certain people fall (or are pushed) into our lives. Sometimes the blessing one person provides–and at just the right moment–is beyond comprehension. We think, and may even say, “Where would I be without so-and-so?” Then we picture some horrible, smelly, wet, dark ditch (or, insert your own horrific thought here) that, without them, would surely have been our reality.

But what about other people whose impending presence make us sweat, bite our nails, tug our hair, or double-over with a belly ache? Too dramatic? Is there anyone in your life who, when they call, you send right to voice mail? Me neither, but just in case…

So why am I talking about this today? Because when I think about the people I know who are fighting for their lives, their marriages, their careers, their sanity; “life is short” is what comes to mind. And sometimes we have fallen into a trap in which other people’s expectations are what keep us from the kind of life we dream of, or at least from pursuing the goals we’ve kept pushing aside while helping other people fulfill theirs. Or we have a “friend” or two who take, but don’t give back. It may not even be a person, but a “thing” that we’ve committed to that doesn’t actually fit into our already busy lives.

Is there anyone or any thing that comes to mind? Is it time to say “No” and make it stick? Is it time to readjust the schedule or priorities? Do you need permission? Ok, you’ve got it! What are you waiting for?

22 thoughts on “Permission

  1. What an exquisite photo! I have a sneaky feeling that animal blog posts/photos have crept into your unconscious. Seriously, though, the photo speaks worlds about the blessings of friends we cannot live without and the ways in which we need to free ourselves from the things/people who, intentionally or not, hurt us. Funny you should write this just when I’m thinking of someone who I know loves me and still manages to not pay attention to my offerings. Yes, it hurts, but I do the best to remind myself it’s about her, not me.

    1. I can feel your pain over your “friend.” I’m glad you can let, or begin to let her go–realizing that your time, energy, and special sort of giving (you give so thoroughly to those you stand beside) are valuable and worth being appreciated. I know that you give freely…without the expectation of a tit-for-tat response–but to be ignored or taken for granted is another issue entirely. I applaud you, as I so often find myself doing.

  2. Britton- love this blog and the photo. I think you are so right about us getting weighed down by what people think or expect of us. As i can attest, it is not always the easiet path to take when you say “no” but in the long run is is wonedrful. I have had to give up negative people because I know they can drag me down. You are one of the ones that make me feel light and welcomed.

    1. Positive people only need apply—and when I am negative, I try hard to recognize and change it. There is so much to be grateful for–and so much more to create (which takes LOTS of positive energy)!

  3. Such an apropos post, Britton! As women we are susceptible to guilt when we set boundaries… old tapes say, I’m being unkind. I should have been more forgiving and accepting, and so on. I’ve really struggled with this issue– what is acceptable to me and what is not, and what is appropriate conduct on my part and what is not… it’s hard for those with skewed radar for who is safe and who isn’t. Let me count the ways in which I’ve trusted precisely the wrong people. I was thinking this morning about a woman I was close to for years, who dropped our friendship. It sends the message that I’m defective and not worth being close to– very hurtful. But it is about her superficiality and her need to see herself as superior and me as toxic. Sensitive people are well-acquainted with rejection, I think– even more so than one would consider “normal.” xj

    1. I have a VERY difficult time imagining you as toxic–you give so much, so honestly. I’m grateful we have found cyber-friendship, and also grateful for your visit and comment here. Regarding your former friend–she lost out in the deal, but it was her truth. You got hurt, but ultimately won, since you created space for yourself, and/or for a healthy friendship in its place. A friend who wants to feel superior to you is not a true blue—true friends always encourage us to be the best we can be, no ego involved.

  4. I recently had to let a few people go from my life. While it makes me a little sad because I still love them, they were not good for me. Life is short. That became startlingly clear to me last year. You have to make decisions that ensure your happiness and the happiness of your family, and if that sometimes means letting a few people go, then that’s what it means. I don’t feel guilty at all.

    1. I understand the loving and letting go. I have a friend who needed to do that with me–but we still connect every few years, and that seems to work best for her, and I’ve accepted it as well. Truth…I always respect it, even if I don’t like it. I’m glad you do not feel guilty about your choices to let go–so much easier to trust our instincts and move along whenever possible.

  5. Nice piece Britton. I am living these questions and choices right now… major changes not welcomed or appreciated by several vocal family members and tolerated by a few. Awareness changes everything. Sometimes our own expectations and dreams lead us into traps. But as you learn and grow, you reveal your truth, and things can never be the same. You have a new truth.
    I am living my truth, following my heart, and setting my intention for love and peace, and I am happy. There is a price to pay whether or not you choose to listen to spirit, your inner voice, or your heart. We always have a choice.

    1. I am so proud of you. I remember you as a person who marched to her own amazing beat. If you lost that along the way (as we so often do), I’m very happy you have found yourself again. I would love to hear more about your journey.

  6. I love the picture. As for changes, well, sometimes it is better to escape and find a place that’s just right for you. I come from a dysfunctional family, and if I had stayed in my village in france I think that I would have become extremely unhappy. Just a thought.

    1. Yes, I have family members that did that years ago, and are much happier because of doing so! Saved a marriage or two, I’m sure…

  7. I tend to really give people the benefit of the doubt, and give them second, even third chances. But I have dropped a few friends, who either suck the life out of me without giving anything back, or who seem to want to wound to make themselves feel better. Yes, life is too short for holding onto awful relationships.

  8. I’m not sure you would see my reply to your wonderful comment, so I came to visit you here and I’m so glad I did. That was a brilliant poem, made me laugh and feel good. As for relationships . . . as my ex-husband told me when we divorced, you give everyone way too much credit, especially me. Sounds noble, but the issue was my lack of boundaries. I learned a very painful and valuable lesson from him.

    1. I’m glad you liked it–I was laughing as I wrote it, and hoped it would make you smile. :) I’m sorry to hear about your marriage–it sounds like you learned great lessons from it, despite the obvious pain.

  9. Britton, your post reminds me of few years back when I had to write a very long email to a particular group of girlfriends to ‘break up’ with them. They are nice people but hanging out with them always, always made me feel inferior. There was a night after dinner with them, I’d felt so upset I sat down at a bus stop and teared up. So when I read this line “Is there anyone in your life who, when they call, you send right to voice mail?” I thought of them. Life is short. People do come into our lives for a reason. But when their presence makes us feel horrid, I think it’s time to say ‘no.’ It isn’t a dirty word. It’s a word of decision.

    1. It is difficult for me to imagine you feeling inferior, because I see you as a super-talented and kind person–but I understand, because I too (a seemingly strong and confident person) have felt this way too. It’s always a warning sign–we should feel good when we are around our friends–and SAFE, very very SAFE.

      Thank you for coming by!

  10. You had me with the photo of the horses. Recently, a friend I love very much has pushed me aside after 25 years without even talking to me about why. I’m hurt and confused about it, but it also makes me sad for her, because I know what a good, loyal, valuable friend I am. It just makes me grateful for all the people in my life who truly do value me

    1. I’m so sorry this is happening to you. It sounds as if something may be going on with your friend that she does not want you to know, or is afraid to discuss. Have you asked her about what is happening that would cause her to pull away after so many years?

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