Sometimes we give our attention to someone who doesn’t really deserve our attention any longer. This is especially true after a relationship grows cold or ends without your understanding why. It’s only natural to think about the other person and wonder what happened but if that person doesn’t look back they probably got what they needed from you. As hard as that is to accept, it helps to remember that a person’s behavior has more to do with them and their issues than it does with you. Perhaps it was you who changed in the relationship. Maybe you stopped giving them what they wanted from you. You were no longer the giver, the enabler or the fixer to someone who used you. When you changed the dynamics of the relationship they either moved on to find someone new or blamed you. You probably saw more in them than what was really there or believed in their potential so the end of the relationship felt like a loss. The truth is the end of the relationship was a blessing.

If someone doesn’t appreciate you or value you, especially when you do most of the caring and giving, they don’t deserve any more of your time and energy. If someone is committed to misunderstanding you or believing a version of you that is not accurate but fits their narrative to justify their life, that is their choice. There are some people that are not meant to be a part of your life. There are some people that need to be kept at a safe distance. Trust that what is meant for you will find its way to you. Sometimes it’s not about a person staying in your life, it’s about the lesson they leave you with. Don’t let the lesson harden your heart. Let the lesson remind you of who you are and what you deserve.

It can take some time to remember who you are and regroup after a confusing, one-way relationship ends especially if those around you don’t acknowledge it. Not everyone needs or cares to hear your side of the story and that is okay. All that matters is that you have the clarity about who someone really is even if others don’t. Your awareness will help you move forward and not look back. It will make you more cautious but that’s okay. Healthy relationships and friendships take time to mature.

Relationships with friends and family built on mutual care, respect, honesty and the desire to communicate and work through stuff are the ones that matter. People in healthy relationships understand that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes and that is how we learn to be better human beings and build stronger relationships with each other. Spend your time and energy on those who deserve and appreciate your kindness, depth and generosity. Some relationships are worth your attention and worth building a future and some relationships are just meant to be one of life’s invaluable lessons. It’s important to know the difference.

There are times in your life when you realize that you deserve more from yourself, your career or personal relationships. These thoughts are normal, healthy and important even if they feel uncomfortable. Don’t run away from them and don’t buffer them with unhealthy behaviors or distractions. Everyone falls into a rut from time to time and it serves as a reminder to pay attention to your life and take better care of yourself physically and mentally. Sometimes taking care of yourself and making time for yourself will get you back on track living the life you want. Other times even after taking care of yourself, owning your stuff, and having great people in your life, you realize that you need to adjust a few things. Change sometimes seems overwhelming but you can do it and you deserve to create the life you want.

The first step is to ask yourself this question- How did I get here? Answering this question will provide insight into why you are where you are and why you made the choices you made. Don’t approach this question with shame or judgement. Approach this question with compassion and love for yourself. No one comes into this life with a guide book. We learn as we live. We do the best we can with what we know at that time given our emotional maturity and the expectations and influences of others up to that point. Once you understand where you are in your journey along with the good parts and the areas that need adjustment, you are ready to begin. Coming from a place of understanding, acceptance, gratitude and forgiveness will help you move forward without regrets or resentments. More importantly it will help you create and attract more of what you really want.

If you are at a point where you are fulfilled and happy with who you are and what you have, that is awesome. Be very proud of yourself because you’ve probably worked very hard to get here. If you are also grateful and not focused on what you don’t have, that is the icing on the cake. Even at this stage we all can benefit from being mindful, living in the present moment and making smart and healthy choices.

If you are at a point where you are not fulfilled and you know you deserve more or are capable of more, that is okay. The fact that you are paying attention to your present situation and want to change is huge and an important first step. If you are wondering, where do you start? The answer is you start where you are. Focus on what you want and what you need to change to have a more fulfilling life. When you know what you want and what you don’t want you can start to write down your short- and long-term goals and make your plan. Be realistic with your plan and hold yourself accountable. It helps to chart your progress, seek support, enjoy healthy rewards along the way and celebrate your success. While it is said that change doesn’t happen overnight, small changes over a period of time do add up. With discipline, patience and time you will become the person you wanted to be, living the life you visualized and filled with the things that make you happy and the people who love you and support you.

When an item is torn or broken you can try to repair it with glue, a stitch, a patch, keep using it and hope for the best. The reality is with each use it can become even weaker, less reliable and may even break again. Sometimes we find ourselves in a relationship that’s like a broken object. Some are worth fixing and some are not. The key is knowing which ones to work on and which ones to let go. Fortunately, unlike broken objects, people have the ability to listen, communicate and change. A relationship that is strained or broken can grow stronger if those involved are honest about how they feel, open to how others feel and are willing to understand what happened and what role they played.

When someone in a relationship feels used, hurt, lied to, gaslighted, disrespected or that they don’t matter, they have a few options. They can ignore it, try a temporary fix or be honest about how they feel. Ignoring it or trying a temporary patch may add some time to a relationship but it won’t fix it because as time goes by one or more of the participants will grow hurt, angrier and more distant. When individuals are honest and take responsibly for their behavior they can make amends, move forward and have an even stronger connection than before. They have the ability to understand the consequences of their words and actions so they don’t keep making the same mistakes. One can learn to be more present and mindful in their life and realize how their behavior has a direct impact on others. It is rewarding and empowering when each person takes responsibility for their behavior and understands how much they contribute to getting through the ups and downs and misunderstandings in any relationship.

One of the most difficult aspects is when one or more of the individuals involved is unwilling to take responsibility for their behavior. If a person isn’t honest or won’t take responsibility for the hurt, stress or drama they cause, there is nothing you can do. One of the most painful things in life is when you face reality about who someone actually is and have to set strong boundaries or let them go especially when you still love or care about them. It is difficult and unhealthy to be in a one-way relationship and hold on to someone or need something from someone who has nothing to give and doesn’t care. Sometimes a person like this has to be in your life but you can learn and develop the tools you need to navigate this relationship. You can learn to ignore the breadcrumbs they toss your way to rope you back in and get you to engage. You can learn to become indifferent to their words and actions and not engage or react. A major turning point is when you understand and accept that their behavior has nothing to do with you and you can put them where they belong in your life; at a safe distance.

Relationships with the right people are one of the greatest gifts in life. It is never too late to surround yourself with caring, genuine and authentic people who bring out the best in you and support you. A healthy relationship is not one-way. It is about each person caring for and about each other. It is knowing that you can get through the rough patches with open and honest communication with each person taking responsibility for their behavior. These are the relationships worth working on and cherishing in your life.