CLEARING III

The past two days I’ve written about two ways I’ve gained clarity. One is by protecting my energy and another is by getting to know myself and what my body and soul needs. On today, my actual birthday, I’m sharing my final clearing: relationships.

For decades, I struggled with being in healthy relationships with people. Only a therapist can tell you if these issues were linked to being adopted or being abandoned. What I can tell you for sure is that today, I don’t have those challenges.

Here’s how I gained clarity.

Friendship Matters. You know that Jim Rohn quote, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with? Well, prior to 2014, I was the average of a bunch of very unhappy people. Whether it was their marriage, job, or general dissatisfaction, I’d spent a lot of time in close friendship and kinship with folks who were saddened or angry. While some saw me as grounded, deep inside I knew I was not. Since then, I’ve noticed there was a reason we were great friends. We were actually all in the same boat, just rowing with a different oar.

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Once I began to work on myself by looking in the mirror and choosing to repair childhood issues, some of those relationships began to slough off. I can’t be certain, but sometimes I think your internal growth can make others uncomfortable. They don’t know what to do with it, or you. But you know what else? The relationships that weren’t built on those negative qualities have risen to the top and flourished. I’ve never felt more secure with the people I’ve surrounded myself with in all my adult life. Talking to and meeting with these folks feels like a peaceful ebb and flow, instead of a rant session.

Family Matters. I belong to several sets of families: my mother’s side, my father’s side, my step-family, my husband’s family, and all his subsets. For a very long time, I thought we were obligated to attend functions and visit no matter how we felt or what was going on in our lives. Dwight tried to convince me otherwise, but I didn’t listen. Instead, we had to visit my cousin in North Carolina. We had to take the girls to his aunt’s house in Tampa. We had to drive to Chicago every other year for Christmas. I thought these road trips were required.

But over the decades, I’ve learned family doesn’t always follow the same rules they set for you. I’ve learned they’ll keep driving towards Disney World without stopping to say hello. I’ve also learned that’s okay. Realizing I can only control myself, I’ve created my own rules for familial interaction. If money, time, and energy allow me to show up for events, then I do. If not, then that’s fine. In this way, I’ve released myself (and my family) from the obligation, sans guilt.

wilcoxMarriage Matters. The last relationship, secondary to loving myself, is the one I have with my husband. Once I got super clear about who I was and how I wanted to show up in the world, I also applied this to being married, and subsequently, gained clarity about the type of wife I wanted to be.

For 21 years, people have called Dwight and I “the perfect couple,” or better yet proclaimed, “I want what you all have.” These phrases used to piss me off, primarily because we were far from perfection, and also because of something Dwight frequently says, they don’t know what we have, so how can they want it?

Exactly.

What we had was a struggle some years. But when I decided I wanted my insides to match whatever people thought they saw on the outside, our relationship improved. I won’t take all the credit. I mean it takes two people to relate to one another. Dwight shifted how he interacts as well; however, it still required a bit of self-reflection and determining what’s best for us as individuals, and then deciding how we wanted to be together as a union.

So that’s it good people.

This is how I’ve gained clarity towards a path of a more whole me. Through clearing my energy, getting to know myself, and pruning a few relationships, I can say with confidence that I’m a happier, healthier version of myself.

Have you ever journeyed inward? What was the process? What was the result?

CLEARING I

CLEARING II

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58 thoughts on “CLEARING III

  1. SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT! Belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!! Again SHOOT ! I knew your birthday was coming up and still forgot to congratulate you on another wonderful year that has past by and wish you an amazing, successful and full of love new year ahead.
    Just read your posts leading up to this one and what I’ve noticed, that lots of women around our age seem to go through similar processes. As always, loved how you described those 🙂 Big hugs! XxX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s no problem Patty! Thanks so much for reading and thinking of me! I’ve notice the same thing! I’m not sure what it is, but it’s like we get to a point where we’re like, you know what? Forget all these rules and then we figure out what’s important for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a powerful post, and I think you’re totally right about how an internal journey and growth can totally change not only your perspective on relationships, but how others respond to you. You show such strength in how you’ve dealt with your relationships and family, and moving towards being more flexible (such as with going to events, and being okay with not going if circumstances/finances don’t allow, or with accepting others don’t ‘play by the same rules’ etc). It’s a hard one to do, I think. I tend to want to be treated as I treat others, and when that never really seems to happen I’ve found myself feeling so disappointed and let down. I’m learning to care a little less, to be more flexible. But most of all with developing myself I’ve found that I’m more independent than I ever thought and that I’m totally okay on my own. A fascinating post – thank you for sharing your experiences!  ♥
    Caz x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally understand that Caz. I used to want that too…to be treated as I’ve treated others, but I had to find a way to stop holding expectations for people in that way; otherwise, it was a see-saw of that disappointed feeling you describe, and I definitely knew I didn’t have time to continue that pattern.

      Thanks for sharing that bit about independence. It’s an important one.

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  3. Happy Birthday, KE! This post was my favorite of the three. I’m an introvert, so being around people is draining, period. Doubly so if those people are toxic, negative, or complainers. I’ve found positive folks I can be myself around, politically, artistically, etc. When I feel like going out, they are the ones I want to visit. Family obligations are tricky until you realize you don’t have to do what you’ve always done. If you prefer a quiet Christmas at home, stay home. The first year or two will be difficult, but if you stand your ground, people will adjust. I am currently on an inward journey. I read a lot of books on happiness, creativity, stress reduction, forgiving and moving on. I journal, free-writing yields a lot of insight and clarity about my feelings and values. The result is a better sync of the inner me and the outer me. That kind of growth DOES make others uncomfortable. Sometimes they adjust, sometimes they fall by the wayside. I am still waiting to see which category my husband is in. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joan! What you say is absolutely right about the first year or so. There’s all the implicit guilt tripping and comments and “are you coming home this year” over and over, but you’re also right about holding your ground. Each year, it’s easier for me to say, “Nope. Not this year.”

      Glad to hear about all the ways you’re journeying inward. I wonder what it is about the next part of life that makes some of us pause, reflect, and do better?

      Are you serious about the husband comment??? Good luck with that moving forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Indeed. Funny how people will ask of you things they don’t ask of themselves. And even funnier how we obligate ourselves to people and events that are unfulfilling!

    Anywho, thank you for this “series.” I think the truer an individual becomes, the better. And not just for herself but for the world. Thanks for your contributions, Dr. G.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. All…the…time Kelley and then look at you like whaaaat??? You’re not coming to visit?

      Thank you for reading! Thanks for the compliment! I agree. If we could all just be as true as possible, maybe the world would be a little brighter.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy (belated) birthday! I was waiting to get to this post to say it. I hope you had a wonderful day. Wow, that Jim Rohn quote is amazing. It prompted me to pause and think. I think I have a mixed bag. I also think that I am a mixed bag to other. I love what you said about wanting your inside to match your outside. That resonated with me. I appreciate you so much, Kathy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Kim!!! I absolutely did. That quote will make you do a quick reflection, and sometimes, it’s like uh-oh lol

      Glad yours is more mixed than awful. Thank you again Kim! I’m glad we’ve gotten to know each other (in a sense) via this blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yeah, my relationships have improved a ton. I do have one friend I call an emotional vampire because she would suck the life out of me IF I LET HER, but I don’t let her. I’ve learned to stay engaged with her without indulging her pity parties, etc. But we genuinely have a good time together and I enjoy her company. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be her friend.

    As someone said before, I used to be in a victim/savior dynamic with this particular friend and once I realized it wasn’t my responsibility to make her better or fix her, I was able to be a better friend to her since she never asked for nor requested saving from me. Amazing how that works.

    Thanks so much for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess that’s the thing with me. I can’t seem to not let others’ emotions and stuff affect me. I think what you’ve said is important too, you enjoy her company.

      You also said something worth repeating, “she never asked for nor requested saving.” Hmmmph. A lot of times those saviors jump right in and start saving, and ain’t nobody asked them for nothing! This is really a great idea to ponder. Sometimes we put ourselves in these situations/roles and then wonder what happened.

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      1. Yeah, when dealing with someone who knows they need therapy but also admits they’re not ready, then I find it best to just let their crazy roll off me because I can’t fix it for them and they’re not ready to fix it. I will clarify, though, that I have ended friendships when the crazy got to be too much, so even I have my limits. A generally positive person who has some stuff to work on is different than a person who doesn’t own their terribleness, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, KATHERIN❣️I hope you are still celebrating! Thank you for a thought-provoking series to commemorate being another year older and wiser. You share a lot of yourself on this blog, and I sometimes forget that we have yet to actually meet! One day😊.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Leslie! I thought I’d answered this but maybe not. I’m glad you appreciate it. I share because I really hope to provoke thought about how we interact with one another. Separate note, I’ll be in Detroit next month…hit me up on one of these social media sites so we can hug and take a picture (if you have time).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes to pruning relationships. I recently got rid od a toxic branch…a friend I’ve had for 16 years, and no doubt that the toxicity was a result of meeting him within days of ending a toxic friendship but not having processed it all and grown (as you know, that takes years, not days), and to make it worse, falling into a victim/saviour dynamic. That dynamic shifted long ago as the victim mindset is not really mine, but a distorted sense of gratitude and loyalty for that driend meant I let the ‘friendship’ continue past its used by date. Funny though, at around the same time as I met him, when I started doing things that brought me joy, e.g. french language classes, travel and a return to my career, I made great friendships, some of which are thriving to this day. Happy Birthday Kathy xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for sharing this Mek! I like this whole answer for a couple reasons. A lot of times we think we have to hold on to toxicity just because of the years, which in my opinion is just a form of fear. I digress. I’m also glad you were able to pinpoint exactly what type of relationship it was and why it didn’t work after a period of time. Introspection is important for growth (I think).

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ash! Over the years, I’ve learned vulnerability and authenticity (which I think are two different things) are important to become your true self, even if we don’t go around blogging about it. Thanks for the compliment and kind words.

      Like

    1. It waaas! Thanks Yecheilyah! Aye Aye Aye! Are you a Gemini too? I find there are a lot of them in the blogosphere (not surprising, I suppose).

      Thanks for reading and for the kind words.

      Like

    1. Thanks Annika! I absolutely did.

      Thank you for the compliment about the blog post/series. Authenticity has become really important to me, and being able to write about things without bashing others is too. I’m glad you read and commented.

      Liked by 1 person

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