I am the type of person who is always cleaning house, so to speak, but the end of the year is an especially auspicious time to survey my internal landscape, as well as the exterior demands on my time and energy to assess if anything needs letting go. It’s quite difficult for me to release people from my life because I am ever hopeful, easily see the best in a person, and practice being as compassionate and non-judgmental as possible with everyone I meet. I’ve gotten much better at taming the caretaker tendencies in me, so I more quickly detect when individuals have become too much of an energy drain, but it doesn’t make the process of letting go any easier. I still question whether I could have been more understanding. I still worry about the emotional aftermath on both sides.

Is this judgment, I wonder? For who am I to stand in judgment of another human being? Maybe it’s just a bit of wordsmithing, but I decided to give this process a different, less loaded name: discernment. Drawing a boundary is about making a decision that is right for me. It’s about respecting myself, not pointing fingers.

When I manage to reframe the situation as such, I come to immediate clarity that, yes, ending this relationship is the right decision to make. Where do I feel this? Not in my heart. (Never in my heart, that old softie.) I feel it in my gut, where the decision sits quietly and unassumingly, as plain as pie. So while my heart nurses its tender sorrows and the critical voice of my mind finds me wanting in compassion, my trusty gut shows me where I stand in truth. It reminds me that I have limited, precious resources at my disposal, and even that it is a touch arrogant for me to worry and presume that the people I let go will flounder without me. Perhaps. But I choose to believe that I am giving them the opportunity to meet others more able to support their needs. And maybe I’m even giving them the gift of finding strength in themselves.


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