The People Who Matter Will Stay
People move through life surrounded by concentric circles of intimate relationships that vary in degree of closeness and type of relationship. The purpose of the relationship could be to find a source of important and meaningful information, a stable aid in personal development, or simply a source of social well-being.
Think of a button on a shirt, for example. It will fall off if the threads that tie it to the garment break. Something similar happens with friendships, although in this case the threads that unite our hearts are more complex, and evolve according to demands, needs, and expectations.
Friendship, like any bond between people, isn’t static. This dynamism causes it to evolve and the things around it must adapt. However, sometimes the change is so big and so negative that the thread breaks and the button is lost.
These losses almost always leave a trace of nostalgia, as if they were irrefutable proof that we aren’t what we used to be. However, we shouldn’t let that nostalgia confuse us, especially when these relationships become selfish, surrounded by a halo of coldness.
Trying to cling to something that isn’t working anymore
Attachment is harmful when it obligates you to stay in a relationship based on something that once was, but isn’t anymore. Or when a handful of good memories sustain a tedious routine full of disenchantment. The relationship, which has become an illusion and now only generates conflict, doesn’t deserve any more time than it’s already had.
It’s not that distance and problems deplete the level of affection or the quality of relationships. Nor does routine, which turns the relationship into a familiar pleasure, but keeps you from truly appreciating when the company of the other person complements and enhances your daily well-being.
Relationships deteriorate because one or both people stop taking care of it. The process is accelerated by the awareness that each other’s paths are diverging. Unless you submit to the emotional blackmail you receive from the myth of stability, your existence will be subject to changes, and therefore, your relationships will, too.
“If they don’t love you the way you want them to love you, then why does it matter that they love you?”
If you insist on forcefully maintaining something that has naturally ended in some way, you’ll just be messing with your own feelings, as well as those of others. You’ll spend your life clinging, which isn’t the same as getting real meaning out of it. You need something that will enrich you and the relationship.
We’ve been taught to hold on, not to let go
To paraphrase the controversial Osho, sometimes learning isn’t possible if you don’t free yourself from everything you’ve learned previously. This doesn’t mean temporary stupidity or insanity, it just means you stop trying to understand, so that you can start paying attention to things related to your intellectual, social, and moral development.
In social psychology, the rule of similarity states that partners and friends who are more similar are more likely to establish stable relationships. Only people who share your values will be able to have a closer relationship with you in the long term.
You have to find what you need. Don’t simply settle for things that don’t hurt you, but also don’t fulfill you. Some people should leave so that others can truly offer you their company. No drama, no trauma. Accept changes in relationships as natural processes, as a way of shedding your skin.
This involves challenging the lessons that you’ve received on love: love is not being held back, it’s wanting to stay. Both with your partner and your friends. Both with the books you read and the job you dedicate your time to.
Sometimes you just have to pay attention to your basic intuition. Let the ones who matter stay, and let the ones who don’t contribute anything go, even if you’ve been with them for a long time, disguising the discomfort as routine.
When you’re wiser and no longer wounded, you’ll be able to ensure that your growth occurs alongside people who truly want to stay in your life. People who you can debate with and have different points of view, but who you rarely have to walk on eggshells with. And let them count on you, because you count on them in your life.