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It's not you, it's us.

I have been feeling the urge to walk away lately. To stop trying so hard to matter to people who aren't nice to me. I have spent decades just wanting to make everyone feel better. Especially in friendships. I want to be liked. I want to be loved, cherished, appreciated - and I want to deserve it. I've always wanted to be hard to lose. To be the person someone always wants around. And I am not one to stand up for myself or my feelings. I have given a lot of apologies I didn't believe in because I was afraid that if I put my real feelings out there ... pain, disappointment, anger ... the person on the other end wouldn't choose me. I made myself small because I didn't want to fail at being liked.

I've poured myself into countless friendships with this mentality. Usually believing that those people wanted me in their lives as much as I wanted them. I'd look beyond moments of discomfort or pain. Telling myself - they don't mean to hurt you, they are just comfortable enough with you to be vulnerable ... and that's a good thing. Head down, apologize, do better. Be better. I like to boast about how good I am at communication - and I do talk about my feelings A LOT. But I rarely communicate how I am feeling with the person who needs to hear it. And I think that is because somewhere deep down, I believe that the feeling of being a disappointment is more hopeful than the feeling of being dismissed.

I'll admit ... I have lost a lot of friends too. A lot of people who I whole-heartedly believed would be in my life forever. Most of them were unexpected and all of them got to leave without talking about it. I wonder what they would have said if I told them that my feelings get hurt too. That it wasn't always easy to read their expectations. And I would have done my best to grow with them. That I believed I was doing my best. I wonder if those friendships actually were meant to only last a season. I wonder if they'd remember why they left in the first place and what they would say if I asked why our friendship wasn't worth fighting for? Sometimes, I wonder if they ever miss me and if the ones I've hurt have forgiven me.

Truth is ... the more I experience, the more I realize being a coward doesn't work. We cannot take care of each other if we aren't honest. You cannot be in any relationship with a person who doesn't respect you. To that we all respond with a resounding "duh". And how can the real you be respected if nobody knows who she is? If you don't give her voice and value. Believing you have worth is scary. Especially when you've built your personality on a foundation of self-doubt. When you've put all the power of your worth into other people. The bravery is in our ability to decide and to know that we have value. All of us. And it's okay to be confident in that. We shouldn't have to exhaust ourselves trying to convince anyone that we are worthy of respect. Of understanding. Of time. You are.

And if you happen to find yourself in a relationship where you're the only one putting in the work. It's okay to walk away.  I tend to only speak my truth when I think I can accept the loss. I will communicate my boundary after I have accepted the reality that it could be the end of the road. Not everyone is willing or able to meet every need, or expectation and I know that. But if I continue to allow a friend to hurt me after I've expressed my limit - that is self-destruction. I know it's easier said than done. Because you've deposited pieces of yourself in those relationships. Little pockets of your love built deep into the roots, giving you countless reasons to stay where you are.

"You're being too sensitive"

"But what about the good times"

"That's just the way they are"

"Stop being selfish"

"You're a bad friend"

But here's the thing. We are changing every day. Our needs change as we evolve. As we grow. As we flourish and as we fail. And who we are to each other on day one can't possibly be the same as who we are to each other two thousand days later. Too much happens in those days. If we aren't communicating. If I never tell you that I need you, that you hurt me, or that this version of me isn't available to you in the same way - how will you ever know? How can you adjust ... how can I adjust ... how can our relationship adjust? The answer is ... it can't. And in my opinion that means it can't move. It can't get better. Which means it will get worse. We will hurt each other if we aren't actively working on caring for each other.

So, it's okay to protect yourself. To look for love where you leave it. It's okay to grow in and out of relationships. To speak up for yourself. It's okay to walk away when you can't see a light at the end of the tunnel. And it's okay to take a break and come back. Every relationship is not meant to last forever.

Whew, I needed to hear that.

Okay, that's all.

Be kind to yourselves (and stay hydrated). <3


Salimah Handa
Salimah Handa
Jan 27

Love you. That is all.


Jan 26


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