Nurturing your dream is your responsibility. One key to taking responsibility for your dreams is to be very clear about who is supporting you and who isn’t. Too often I see people suffering through toxic relationships that sucks the life out of them. I’ve had a few in my life and found that planning time to reflect at the end of each year helps me to move into the new year with clarity and greater hope.
As I reflect on the events of the year that’s ending and my vision for the future, I consider the people in my life one-by-one. This is, of course, an emotional part of my year-end/ year-beginning reflection because it always includes happy and exciting moments shared with others and some very low and painful times as well. Nevertheless, I do a relationship assessment because I am aware of the power of influence from people in my personal circle.
As I reflect on the people in my life, I ask myself these two critical questions:
1. Who was a source of light, support, and inspiration?
2. Who was a source of darkness, drought, and despair?
After answering these questions, I move on to developing a quick action plan for moving forward.
For my sources of light, support and inspiration, I consider possible ways to have that person in my life more. Perhaps I’ll do something special and unique to let that person know how much I value them and our relationship. One way I’ve expressed this gratitude to my light-giving friends and family members is by spending a day with them at a really high-end spa. I also make a conscious effort to be a source of light, support, and inspiration to that person.
For my sources of darkness, drought, and despair, I’ve had to examine the relationships a little deeper to determine a course of action. To do this I start with the mindset that it is not healthy nor Godly for me to remain in personal relationships with people who bring harm to me whether it be physically, emotionally, or mentally. Those who bring darkness, obscures vision and hinders dreams are not allowed to stay in my close circle of friends. My purpose in this world is too important for me to allow anyone to obscure my vision and hinder my dreams. Below are some ways I have effectively handled people in my life who were sources of darkness, drought, or despair:
Fierce Conversations - Susan Scott, author of the national bestseller book Fierce Conversations, says a fierce conversation consists of passion, integrity, authenticity, and collaboration.
When my dream hinderers are people close to me, I first make sure they are aware of my needs and expectations of the relationship by verbalizing them with care and candor. For me, this bold and courageous conversation is not about pointing fingers or assigning blame; it is about moving forward with the relationship while achieving my dreams.
Set Boundaries – Setting boundaries starts with knowing what type of behavior is and isn’t acceptable for you. Once I was clear about my acceptability level, there were people I chose to discontinue a close relationship with, and there were others I decided to limit how much time and thought I invested in the relationship. For instance, if you have a friend who doesn’t understand what is appropriate behavior when attending a company event with you but otherwise is a good friend, consider setting boundaries around what type of events you attend with this friend.
Love from a Distance – Choosing to let go of a toxic relationship doesn’t mean that it has be surrounded by unforgiveness or anger. I particularly like what author and relationship expert, Daphne Rose Kingma said about letting go. Kingma said, “Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.” There comes a time when it is best to let a relationship go because your future is too important to hold on to the past. I have fond memories of former times but realize that everyone in my past is not good for my current situation nor my future. Those are the people I love from a distance. There is no unforgiveness, no sadness, and no offensives held against those whom I move to the ‘love-from-a-distance’ category. On those few occasions when I run into them or hear from them, I am pleasant and loving.
What about you, is your dream important enough for you to reflect on the relationships in your life? I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave me a comment and let me know what you’re thinking?
With Love and candor,