Making significant life changes is never an easy road to take. Often, when you head out on that journey, there will be people in your life who will not want to go along for the ride. Then there will be those who you will not want to take with you.

The gnawing feeling deep down in your soul tells you that you need to make that break. Your heart says that you don’t want to hurt those in your life, but your spirit asks you to take a good hard look at whether or not those people belong in your life as you move forward. It can be a tough, raw decision to break from someone you love,especially when you know that they are benefiting from having you in their lives.

How do we know when it’s time to let go? There are some telltale signs and symptoms that a relationship is ill and needs to be cut out:

Repetitive arguing: this is the obvious one; however, it’s also the one that is often swept under the rug if one or both parties is going through something tough, life altering, and/or devastating. Job loss, lost loved ones, or struggling with addictions can be fuel for toxicity in any union, intimate or platonic. If you notice that your interactions are becoming more terse and tense and you simply start to dread interacting with someone, it’s time to have the talk or get up and walk.

No growth: humans are built to evolve. If one of you is growing and the other one is not, that can actually be OK. Sometimes, we grow one at a time, and other times we grow in parallel. Blessed is the friend, family member, or partner who supports, praises, and encourages the person going through a growth spurt. Some of us are in continuous growth mode and others grow every few years. What is not OK is suppressing someone else’s growth because we do not want to grow. Talking down to another and poo-poohing on someone’s efforts to grow is selfish. It’s not OK to avoid your own growth. If you know that you need to do internal work to get past some hurts or traumas, do that work.  It’s not always up to one person to do all of the growing — riding coattails isn’t cool in work, money, families, relationships, or growth! Only you can do the growth work that is required of you. Although it is cool if you can get someone to do it alongside you.

Stunting: No, not a short joke. Stunting someone else’s growth through manipulation, persuasion, or throwing an outright tantrum, is no bueno. Period. If your growth intimidates someone else, it’s on that person to talk with you about it. Mature dialogue involves asking good, thoughtful questions, such as “I am concerned that you’re leaving me behind. Is that the case?” Or “I noticed that you’re really busy with setting up your business and/or work, but I’m feeling a bit left out and lonely. Can we compromise and dedicate some one-on-one time without electronics and other distractions?” Or “I see that you’re really getting into this; is there an opportunity for me to join you at some point?” #GrownAssTalk.

I am a big believer in time, place, season, and reason when it comes to the people and the relationships we have with them throughout life. Sometimes, we have to go our separate ways in order to achieve some healing, growth, or spiritual goal. Other times, we realize that someone was only in our lives to teach us a lesson, even if it was a painful one to learn — one that we might not want to repeat. Often, people can come back together again after that work is done. They exchange their lessons in hopes to illuminate each other about their journeys and how the time apart helped them to grow. What a beautiful thing, no?

So, as you map out your journey of growth, remember that you are in charge of your compass (rose) and only you get to decide if it’s time for a growth spurt. You are the CEO of your grown-ass self, and only you have the keys to your karmic ride. Make sure that any passengers understand your strategy and your target destination, and give them the chance to take the risk in being your ride or die. If they choose game playing, dream slaying, or negative nay-saying, pull over and give them Lyft money as you politely remind them that “I am the boss of me” as you drive into the sunset.


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