Part of being healthy ourselves, is to consider whether the people we surround ourselves with are healthy for us. This could include a romantic relationship, friendship, co-worker, family member, neighbor, etc. The idea of changing, or especially ending, certain relationships can appear impossible, though continued negative feelings about the relationship is a sign something needs to change. It is healthy, admirable, and self-respecting to set boundaries in relationships. If a relationship is continually dragging you down, making a change could have a large positive effect for your overall wellbeing. Freeing up the stress from such a relationship may provide the room to better go after your goals.
- What is the main emotion you experience with this person? Are you happy most of the time? Or does some other emotion take up the majority of your time in this relationship?
- Are you spending time thinking of how this relationship could change? Thinking through arguments with this person? Thinking of ways this person has impacted you negatively?
- Are you surrounding yourself with negativity? Does this person always have something to complain about? Cannot see the positive side of anything? Is always complaining?
- Does the person spend all the conversation talking about themselves and never asking how you are doing? Giving you time to vent?
- Is this person making healthy lifestyle decisions? Do you agree with the general choices this person makes? The way they live their life? The people they surround themselves with? Do you respect this person? Look up to this person?
- Do you find yourself often questioning aspects of the relationship and whether it is healthy for you?
If your evaluation leads you to think there is much negative feeling with the relationship, sit down and think of the reasons this is. Write these down. Now go back and write down what could make those things feel better. This seems like a simple exercise, but all too often we do not allow ourselves the time to think through our thoughts and feelings.
Now decide to set those boundaries. If you cannot, or if the person continues not to respect those boundaries, it may be time to end the relationship. Even though open communication can be difficult, if you are thinking of ending the relationship it is likely worth communicating to see if anything can change. If it still doesn’t feel good, remember not to put yourself in a position of unhappiness, just to please another person.
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