Time to say goodbye.

goodbyeoneLooking to the start of a new year can be exciting. It can be the time to plan ahead, and dream of good things to come.

But to make way for new beginnings, it’s important to let go of anything that is going to hinder or harm you. Nobody has an infinite amount of physical time, or emotional energy. So it makes sense to use what we have on relationships that will benefit not drain. That are reciprocal, not a burden.

We all have relationships in our lives that come to a natural end. For whatever reason our contact with that person has run its course. We move on without a sense of loss or pain.

But there are other relationships that we cling to. Or we continue to involve ourselves in, with the hope that there will be a shift in commitment, interest or behaviour. And it’s those interactions that we need to reflect on. Perhaps it’s time to say ‘goodbye’?

Life is too precious to waste on others who are ultimately using or abusing.

I wish I had learnt this sooner. I wasted so much of my life on my mother. Years of thinking, talking, worrying, crying, soul-searching.  And all for nothing.

When my mum abandoned me as a young child, it wasn’t until much later that the impact of her actions came into force. I spent years wondering about her, blaming myself, searching for some answers. And as an adult when I discovered she had told everyone that I had been killed in a car crash, I was in agony. But my emotions were misplaced. I was grieving for the loss of my mother, but instead I should have been grieving for myself.

Instead I sought refuge in alcohol and my life spiralled slowly into the depths of despair. I had to hit rock bottom before I was ready to let go of my mother. Letting go was a gradual process of dealing and disposing of the rubbish that filled my mind. It was ‘Goodbye’ to self-hatred, worthlessness, guilt and shame. And a ‘Farewell’ to the oppressors of addiction, depression, loneliness and fear.

With time, prayer and courage I was able to overcome the negative connections of the past. In doing so I became emotionally available. I opened up my heart, mind and soul to those who could respond out of a true sense of friendship and love. Just as importantly, I learnt how to end relationships. What freedom!

It’s crucial to recognise those relationships that are harmful or futile. But if you decide that now is the time to end your involvement, be prepared.  Don’t underestimate how difficult, how painful or how long it can take to let go of a relationship. The more you have invested the harder it will be to break free.

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

Lao Tzu

But keep strong and it will be worth it. Visualise how you want to live your life. Surround yourself with good people. Kind people. Say ‘hello’ to those who inspire you and fill your life with light, joy and passion.accept

Accept those that accept you.

Embrace those that embrace you.

Love those that love you.

And as for the rest – time to say ‘goodbye’.

43 thoughts on “Time to say goodbye.

  1. Hi Carolyn and thank you for sharing your stories. I have had to leave relationships behind. I have sibling that have walked away do to addiction problems they have. I always leave the door open incase there lives change, but don’t worry about it any longer.

    Life is short and we have to remember to heal and to move forward.

    When I hear of parents that mess up there childrens lives and hear your story I am so proud of you for learning to be who God intended you to be and not let a parent take that away from you. You are an inspiration to others. Keep up the good work!

    • Your comments are always so warm and encouraging Debbie. Thank you! Glad you found the strength to walk away from the addicts in your life. That may sound strange coming from a recovering alcoholic but sometimes tough love is the only way to go. As you say, life is short. And you too deserve to make the best of life. 🙂

  2. Beautiful post, Carolyn. I love this line – “Don’t underestimate how difficult, how painful or how long it can take to let go of a relationship.” I know for me when I needed to let go, there has always been mixed feelings. It’s hard to realize once and for all that the illusion that I had created in my mind was only that, an illusion. All the best!

    • Those illusions can be very powerful and appear to be so real Cathy! But so often we are holding onto to something that wasn’t even there in the first place. Wishing you all the best too!

  3. I often struggle with my draining relationships. I’m working on boundaries that don’t completely cut people out but that lessen the drain, if you know what I mean? Sometmes I wonder how much to pull away. I like to leave an opening for influence if interaction is impossible. You know?
    I loved this post. I’ve thought about this dilemma a lot.

  4. Hi Carolyn, thanks so much for being so frank and honest. Sharing this with us is incredible and helpful. In the past I have found it difficult to let go of harmful relationships and I still battle with it because I always seem to see the good in people and I guess believe they will change but slowly I am learning it’s best to move on.

    • Thank you for your encouraging comments Sandra. Seeing the good in people is a wonderful quality! But as you point out, it really is best to move on if the relationship is harmful and the other person shows no indication of wanting to change. We can only ever change ourselves and that can start by believing that we deserve better.

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  6. Love this post my friend, so apt and definitely rings true in my life! 🙂 My best statement is “But to make way for new beginnings, it’s important to let go of anything that is going to hinder or harm you.” Amen to that! Here is to a cleaner Year with room only for the good in life x

  7. Where do I start Carolyn? I think you and I may have a few conversations on loving ourselves you make it look easy to share the pain but something tells me I have many more tears to shed but I see I am making progress. 🙂

    Thanks for writing and so sorry you lost your way as well .

    Take Care and keep up the good work you are worth it
    as am I


    • Yes Eunice, you are definately worth it 🙂
      So glad you can connect with what I have written. I agree we could talk and talk about the importance of loving ourselves. For me sharing the pain is part of healing process and letting the pain go.
      Wishing you much love and happiness in 2013!

      • Thanks I am hoping it will get easier for me to share as well for it is the things that were never said that caused me so much pain

        Love and Happiness on your journey as it continues this new year!


  8. It’s definitely been my experience that the biggest obstacle in the way of my creativity and getting what I want in life has been the fear of destroying one or more relationships I have in my life, as if I’m always going to be alone if those relationships go away. Thankfully I’m becoming more and more aware of how this operates in my life.

    • Chris that is such a big fear for many of us. You are so right in how relationships can be an obstacle to our creative path, and it really is important to be aware of how it impacts your life. I wish you continued success and happiness on your journey.

      • I am extremely creative and have noticed that when I am single I can make much more progress with my creative pursuits. I have come to realise that I can live without a relationship but not without my writing and that if I do have a relationship it would be best for me to be with someone who understands and appreciates my creativity or who is creative themselves, so is like-minded. (Well in my ideal world anyway.)

      • I do agree with you that creativity can require a lot of personal time and space. And I think it does help if you are in a relationship where the other person is also creative but as with any aspect of the relationship it is about acceptance and compromise.

  9. Another beautiful post, Carolyn! I especially liked this: “With time, prayer and courage I was able to overcome the negative connections of the past. In doing so I became emotionally available. I opened up my heart, mind and soul to those who could respond out of a true sense of friendship and love. Just as importantly, I learnt how to end relationships. What freedom!”
    I will definitely be sharing and wish you all the best for a Happy New Year and 2013!!

  10. A timely post for everyone on the cusp of a new year. Thank you for all your thoughtful and moving articles in 2012, Carolyn, and for your visits to the House of Dreams.

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  12. What came to mind as I read your blog was “the power of choice”. Choosing who or what I want in my life has been empowering after decades of bunkering down with fear and low self esteem. Discovering that I could actually choose my life was big for me. After 18 months of really hard work, I really like myself and my life.

  13. Saying goodbye to loved ones is also difficult. You really don’t say goodbye just that “I will see you again someday”. Grief is a lonely emotion but I believe is necessary and it must be felt in ones own time and way.

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