18 September 2007

Understanding that relationships have cycles that end

Most of us are familiar with personal relationships and the cycles that they can follow. We know the warmth and passion of the early stages of a relationship, the trust and the security of a long term relationship and even the sadness and sense of loss when a relationship ends.

All relationships have cycles because people change over time. The person you are today is most certainly different to the person you were ten years ago. As we change, sometimes we out grow the people around us, to the point where the friends we’ve had for years suddenly seem to have little in common with us and less effort is made to catch up and slowly the friendship fades away.

Just as our personal relationships go through these cycles, it’s important to understand that all of our relationships go through similar cycles. Whilst these changes don’t necessarily mean that all relationships need to end, some most certainly do. The tricky part is knowing which ones need ending and which ones don’t.

For me personally, I don’t like negative people and I do my utmost to keep them out of my life. When people enter a negative zone in their lives, I am understanding, but it reaches a point where I have to say enough is enough.

Now as tough as this may seem, I think we all need to be careful of getting caught up in negative, energy sapping and victim based relationships. People in these cycles love an ear to complain to and if you are surrounded by them, you will get dragged down into their world. How can your life ever be in any kind of balance if it is filled with negativity? The answer is simple – it can’t.

I have had a number of times when I have “sacked” clients. The relationship was just too hard, too demanding, too one sided and just plain difficult. I have called the clients in, sat them down and explained that I don’t want to do their work anymore – for all of the above reasons. It makes me feel a great sense of self respect and pride for being strong enough to say that this relationship no longer serves me and I don’t want it or need it. Generally the client is shocked but I am sure that most of them have heard it before because they are difficult people in all that they do.

If you are struggling to find a sense of balance in your life, is one of the contributing factors negative relationships that need to end? These could be with customers, staff, suppliers, business partners or friends. Perhaps today is the day to sit down and say a few home truths about how you are feeling. Relationships that end rarely end well. It is up to you to decide how you want relationships that have reached their use by date. You can choose to let them die a slow, natural death or you can take control and nip it in the bud now. The choice is clearly yours.

Is there any one particular relationship that is causing me a lot of grief and stress? Can this relationship be fixed? If not how can I end it and get on with my life? Will I end it? What are the benefits to me of ending it? What do I have to do today to end it?

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