Category: Forgiveness

Apology Letter to Myself


Dear Sweet Self:

I owe you my deepest apology. I allowed people to treat you as if you didn’t matter. I did not stop people from emotionally and physically abusing you. I ignored your pleas to be heard. Instead I kept seeking love outside of you and kept you in situations where you should have held your head high and walked out.

I didn’t believe there was better love out there. I believed whatever situation you were in was as good as it would get. I know better now.

I am deeply sorry for putting you through the hell of trying to make you into someone you are not. I could feel you urging me to stop, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t want people to disapprove of your silliness, intelligence, inner beauty and shyness, so I kept you small and hidden. I wanted you to blend in with the crowd so you wouldn’t be made fun of. I’m sorry I dishonored your heart and true essence.

I’m sorry I disrespected your emotions. I only allowed you to feel anger instead of the rainbow of emotions we humans are intended to feel. Emotions that would allow others to help you when you needed it.

I’m sorry I compromised your spirit by making you feel powerless to the world. I could feel there was so much more to you, but I was afraid to let the world see who you really are.

I’m sorry I disrespected your body. You clearly expressed your dislike of alcohol and I didn’t listen because I didn’t want you to stand out. I also gave away the sacredness of your body to men who didn’t deserve it. For this I am eternally sorry. I did not understand how precious you really are.

I’m truly sorry I compromised your value by failing to uphold healthy boundaries. I let others walk all over you. I let them hurt you and treat you as if you were nothing. You never ever deserved it. It was only a reflection of how little I regarded your worth.

Sweet self, I promise you, I will always, always do my best to protect and love you. You are my priority now. Thank you for unconditionally loving me and forgiving me before I even asked.
I want you to know I’m in charge now and everything is going to be okay! I have been reborn. I get it now! From this point forward you are my priority.

I love you.

Kristen

Taking Radical Responsibility for Our Lives

BuddhaPath

If we don’t own our stuff, we will never see our disempowered pattern nor will we grow and experience a better future.  As Buddha says, “Enlightenment comes from awareness.” In order for us to grow, we must first become aware.

I remember clearly the day I took radical personal responsibility for my life. It was about 7 years ago. I stopped dead in my tracks at the foot of my bed and looked back over my entire life. I steeled myself for what I was sure was going to be an onslaught of shame and regret. I remember cringing inside afraid of what I might see, but I went for it anyway.

I faced every disempowered behavior I could remember: bending and stretching to fit others’ ideas of who I should be, doing things I hated to please another, failing to hold much needed boundaries and playing small to be liked.

I kept going: one night stands, drinking alcohol or smoking weed to fit in, staying with partners who hit me, drove intoxicated or emotionally abused me and allowing disrespect from friends, family and partners. The list went on and on.

When I was finished, I just stood there unsure what was next. What I did know was the world did not end, I did not lose a limb, my children were still alive and…

I felt… free?

Holy Mother Earth, I felt FREE! I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Everything that I had kept hidden, all the secrets, all the shame, was out in the open. I was free!

Yes, I did that. All of it. It was me. I am the one who is responsible for my choices and my life.

I understood for the first time how the unworthiness hidden inside of me manifested dangerous, reckless and unkind behaviors to myself.

I gave myself a big hug and said, “I am so sorry I did this to you. You deserve so much better! I will do better by you in the future. I promise.”

And I forgave myself.

Something radically shifted that day for me. I was reborn. My path to worthiness and empowerment had begun. I now always seek to recognize when I am acting out of shame or unworthiness instead of love. I catch myself sooner and I make choices that will lift my heart and life rather than perpetuate a defeating cycle.

And you can do the same.

Ownership Practice:

Pick a date and time to be alone with yourself where you will have no interruptions. Open your mind and heart. Allow yourself to remember and replay all the times you did not love yourself or protect your well-being. Recognize each one with neutrality and non-judgment. Allow the memories to come forward one at a time. No judgment, no condemnation. Just recognition. Own it all.

When you are finished, wrap your arms around yourself and say out loud: These were my behaviors driven by low self-worth. I recognize my old pattern. I did the best I could at the time. I’m sorry for putting you through that. I will do my best to love and protect you in the future.

And so it is. Amen.

Dear New Wife

FriendsStrangers

Dear New Wife,

I remember the first time I met you. It was at my son’s birthday party. I was pleased to see my ex-husband as happy in a new relationship as I was in my new marriage. I was eager to get to know you, the newest member of our big, loving family!  When we were introduced, you hardly smiled or acknowledged me. Although it took me aback, I continued to welcome you, smile and talk to you, but again, you scarcely acknowledged me. Something didn’t feel right about that, but I quickly discarded it and went on about the business of being myself. After all, it can be awkward and uncomfortable for the new love to meet the ex-wife. 

As months passed, I felt you somewhat warm up to me and life moved forward. We continued with the pre-established status quo of joint holidays and occasional joint vacations with our kids. It was nice. After all, we had been divorced 10 years and had figured out a way to be friends. And man, did our kids benefit from it! So much so that they often told me they never felt the heartache of typical children of divorce. Win!

You see, my own parents had modeled ex-ing beautifully for us and I was so grateful we were able to do the same. It’s the best thing for the children and the circle of family involved. Divorce does not have to equal division, bitterness and hate. It can be the beginning of something new and wonderful!

But something seemed to change after my new husband abandoned our family a year later. It became apparent that my new status of “available” was threatening to you. I tried to ignore it and work around it, but it only gained force like a hurricane slowly making its way toward shore. I was shocked and perplexed.

Couldn’t you see with your eyes and feel with your heart that I was nothing to fear?

My children began to notice their parents’ friendship compromised for the first time in over a decade. They witnessed their father’s kind and respectful behavior toward their mother change to cold and distant. They also noticed how unwilling he was to stand up for or protect them in situations where a father should. It became unwittingly clear he did everything possible to quell your insecurity even if that meant choosing you over them and treating me as if I was a non-person. He put aside his priorities and his personal freedom to appease you.

Perhaps you can trust his devotion to you now.

Sadly though, none of this needed to happen because there’s something I don’t think you understand. Just because people divorce, doesn’t mean they don’t love one another anymore; oftentimes, the love has only changed forms. My ex and I simply morphed from husband and wife to a sibling-type relationship. He became my brother. It was a friendship built on healthy boundaries and respect for each other and their personal lives. We cared about each other’s well-being as family would. We were often told we modeled a new paradigm for what healthy divorce and co-parenting can be. We were proud of our friendship.

Why weren’t you thrilled to have a drama free ex-wife like me?

I tried to ease your mind and calm your fear that Spring morning in Starbucks. For two heartfelt hours I explained my ex and I’s friendship. How he and I would help each other out with tasks from time to time, work together to meet our children’s needs, but not once had we crossed the line of “friends” since our divorce. In fact, we hardly even hugged save an occasional holiday. Our only crime was being nice to one another.

I had compassion for what I was sure was your backstory of pain. I understood. You see, I did not see you as an enemy or someone trying to hurt me. I saw you as a sister. Another woman who did not yet understand her worth or trust in a man’s love. Couldn’t you feel the truth and integrity in my words? But no matter what I said, how gently I said it or how compassionate and transparent I was, it was clear your mind was made up.

My ex and I don’t talk anymore. We no longer share joint holidays with our children. We don’t help each other out with tasks or work together as cohesive co-parents. His relationship with his children has suffered terribly as they’ve watched their father bend and stretch to make you comfortable. They watched the life they knew, enjoyed and felt safe in dramatically change. Where there was once unity and peace now lies the moss covered headstone of a dead friendship.

I’m still perplexed how this situation is better than the amicable situation we had before? Are you really at peace now? I wish I could say you are, but I continue to hear stories of your insecurity aimed toward other people. Perhaps it wasn’t me after all, but you all along.

The good news is my children and I discuss life issues openly and with higher purpose and direction in mind. The years have passed and they have grown and cultivated a new relationship with their father based on forgiveness and compassion for his fear of standing up for those he cares about.

They love him more than anything. Just as you do.

I have chosen to grieve the friendship my ex and I had, keep my distance and settle into this new format of ex-ing. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about him or ever will. Love does not change, but situations do. And when my brother feels the freedom to enter back into my life, I will gladly accept him and you as well.

I pray for you often, sister. I ask God to help you find your worth and self-esteem. I pray you see the gift in peaceful ex-ing and open your eyes to the good woman I was then and still am today.

Until that time comes, I will be over here enjoying a great life.

Sincerely,

The Ex Wife

Why Receiving Compliments Can Be Difficult- A Collaborative Column

kristen-bio Kristen Brown

In my 20’s, my “I suck” wound (unworthiness) was so big I could hardly look in the mirror because all I saw were my flaws – flaws I noticed myself and flaws that had been pointed out to me by others. No matter how wholeheartedly a compliment was given, it felt fake and untrue to me. Although I’d say “thank you” to be kind, I couldn’t receive it.

One day I read an article that said to ignore or push out a compliment was to turn your back on a loving gift. Can you imagine how it would feel if you wholeheartedly and excitedly handed someone a heartfelt gift and they said, “I don’t want that!”?

I know for me it would sting.

The article went on to say that when we graciously receive a compliment we are actually giving back to the giver because their heart becomes full with our receiving! In other words, their soul expands with their giving of love and our receiving of it.

Makes perfect sense doesn’t it?

So why is it we don’t easily apply this principle, graciously receive compliments and get with the program? Because…

When we don’t deem ourselves worthy of glory, we will not ever believe someone else does.

Many of us hold ourselves hostage to an unachievable standard of perfection. We believe: Unless or until I achieve (fill in the blanks) _____, _____ or _____, I will never be worthy.

Instead we are forever reaching, striving, straining and draining our way to reach a place we believe will finally make us worthy.

Loves, there is no amount of stuff we can acquire that will make us feel worthy. No amount of relationship, money, body or career status will ever fill the unworthiness void in our hearts.

Unworthiness healing is an inside job and here’s how it starts:

Know your true origin as a child of God – Equal to all living beings on this Earth. Not above, not below. Magnificent, unique and beautiful in your creation. God does not make mistakes and you are no exception.

Focus on what is right with you rather than what is “wrong” – We naturally begin to reflect our inner beauty and worthiness when we give ourselves grace for our mistakes and embrace our journey as one of learning and growing not of perfection.

Be your own best friend – Encourage yourself. Speak kindly to yourself. Forgive yourself and love yourself. Treat you the way you treat others. You need your acceptance, love and compassion just as much as your loved ones.

Receive the love coming your way – It’s there! Love is all around you! Open your eyes and heart to receive it. You are worthy of every compliment given. We came here to make manifest all that God is, to shine in our own special way. If someone is giving to you, open your palms wide and receive.

And most importantly…

Choose to see compliments as a reminder of your glory!

Kristen Brown is Sweet Empowerment’s page admin.  She is a spiritual and relationship coach/mentor who is on fire to help others heal their wounds and attract the life they’ve always dreamed of! If you would like to hire Kristen for personal coaching, click HERE for your free 15 minute consultation!

Sue BIO  Sue Markovitch

There is a chemistry principle called “Like Dissolves Like”, that describes how substances with similar characteristics will dissolve in each other. Salt shares similarities with water, so salt dissolves easily in water. Oil has the opposite polarity of water, so it does not. We’ve all seen oil floating on top, or in a separate layer from the water. It is because they repel.

For most of my life, compliments were oil to my water. I repelled them. If someone said, “You look great!”, I would grab a roll of belly fat and respond with, “Are you kidding? Have you seen this disgusting belly?” If someone said, “Your hair looks so nice like that”, I’d squirm around talking about how I’d gotten up late, didn’t have time to straighten it, blah blah blah.

Compliments were oil to my water. I repelled them.

Once I realized how rude it was to argue with someone, just because they complimented me, I tried to change. I would say, “Thank you!”, but it didn’t feel authentic. Compliments still made me feel seen, called out and vulnerable.

Then I started to learn about my wounds. My brokenness. I became aware of how rooted in Not Good Enough and I Don’t Matter I was. My solvent was composed of fear, so love bombs in the form of compliments could never really get in. They were always repelled, because fear and love are as opposite as oil and water.

Not being able to receive compliments is a symptom of fear and unworthiness, often rooted in shame.

I realized that I’d never be able to truly accept a compliment until I was made up of Love and only Love. It was chemically impossible. So I got to work. I started sharing my story. I started sharing my shame. I found amazing support groups and coaches who knew how to create a safe, sacred space for me to process all the shit that had happened. How I got so filled with fear and lies.

I started coming out of agreement with all the false beliefs that had been my life map for so long. And I got on a new path.

As I did the work of letting go of who I was not, and remembering who I was, I started to become rooted in Love. My identity was no longer Not Good Enough and I Don’t Matter. It was now a worthy, oh so loved Child of God. Once I knew who I was, when someone saw that glorious light within me and took the time to tell me with a compliment, I finally understood the salt.

And I saw the light in them right back, and said, “Thank you.”

Sue Markovitch is a Fitness Coach, Author, Speaker, Spiritual Leader and my beloved Soul Sister! If you would like to discover more about Sue’s awesomeness check out her website Clear Rock Fitness!

KelliHeadshot Kelli Davies

I am very fortunate to be married to a man who gives me compliments on a daily basis.

One morning we were having a deep conversation and he proceeds to tell me that I’m flawless.  It was all I could do to 1) not laugh, 2) tell him he was nuts, and 3) not rattle off a list of all the reasons his statement wasn’t true.

Although I refrained from saying anything, the look on my face said it all.  He said “You’re flawless in my eyes. You’re everything I’ve ever wanted”.

His statement almost made me cry because I knew he was speaking from his heart . He was looking at me through love filtered glasses. So why was I having such a hard time receiving his heartfelt words? Unbelief.

Unbelief that he saw me as complete.  Unbelief that he could look past my physical flaws and still see beauty. Unbelief that he could look past my character flaws and still see a great person.  Who am I to argue with what he sees?

When you’re not accepting, you are rejecting. You are rejecting a gift that is being offered to you.  It is a gift of acceptance, encouragement, and love.

Unbelief is also the reason we feel the need to explain why a compliment isn’t valid.  If someone compliments your shoes, you don’t need to ramble on about how old or how cheap they were.  Just say thank you! How long you’ve had or paid for them is irrelevant to how fabulous it looks.

On the flip side, if you’ve ever had to deal with someone who doesn’t know how to receive a compliment, it can be kind of annoying.  You just want to shake them and say “Snap out of it!  You have good qualities!”.

This speaks to a deeper issue. Is the root of your unbelief unworthiness?

Accepting a compliment doesn’t make you arrogant.  All it means is that you have chosen to believe that someone sees you through love filtered glasses.  It’s OK to receive the gift of acceptance, encouragement, and love.  It is up to you to believe that you are worthy.

Kelli Davies has spent 20 years working closely with the public as an aesthetician/makeup artist whose current work home is Prova Salon in Scottsdale, AZ.  Kelli is a church going,  self-empowerment loving, spiritual gangster!  Kelli’s spiritual journey has invoked a deep passion in her to encourage and speak life into others as they travel through life challenges.

20160617_131442-1_resized  Lisa Marquis

How do you take your compliments, straight up or with a side of squeamish?

When someone compliments you, say, on what you’re wearing, your sense of humor, your beautiful eyes, how do you respond? Do you say thank you very much, or do you minimize what they’ve just said? Shy away from them, deny that it’s true?

If you have trouble accepting compliments, perhaps you are suffering from low self worth. You fear it will make you look conceited or full of yourself to say thank you. It’s just always what you’ve done when being complimented: deflect so as to seem humble.

When we deny a compliment aren’t we somewhat insulting the giver of it? After all, they are making a point to let us know that they like something about us, so isn’t it up to us to be gracious about receiving it? The answer is yes. We should be gracious and accept, but it’s  more than that. We need to improve our self worth, so we can actually believe and appreciate that compliment.

I think we are afraid of the compliment because it puts us in the spotlight for that moment in time, draws attention to something about us. And lots of us just aren’t comfortable in that light. Either because we doubt ourselves, don’t feel good about ourselves or just plain don’t like to be focused on. Or as mentioned above, it feels like we are full of ourselves to be in that place and we don’t want others to perceive us that way.

Daily affirmations can help with the issue of self worth; try saying to yourself that you are worthy, you are kind, pretty, funny, whatever you can come up with that you even remotely like about you. Then focus on the things that you think are your strongest attributes; maybe you are really great at your job, or have a way with people that is really disarming and engaging. It will be easier to start with your strongest qualities and go from there, as those are easier to grab onto. Doing this will also help you with where you need improvement.

Telling yourself what’s good about you doesn’t make you conceited. It doesn’t make you perfect, it makes you aware. It goes toward being grateful. I happen to be very good at my profession, but it doesn’t mean I never make mistakes; when I do, I have enough belief in my abilities to learn from them and move on. And it makes me grateful for the lesson. Boom. Compliment accepted, from myself! That’s what a daily affirmation is, a compliment to you, from you.

Just try it. It will be awkward at first because we’re so used to the deflection and denial. But as you keep at it, you will see that starting with you is the first step to bringing a better you to the rest of the world.

Lisa Marquis is a practicing Hair Stylist, Truth Seeker and aspiring Author! Lisa’s divine gifts of logic and compassion coupled with her articulate, sweet and oh-s0-witty demeanor, make her one heck of a space holder. If you would like to follow Lisa on her Facebook biz page, click here: Straight Up Hair

How to Know When It’s Time to End a Friendship- A Collaborative Column

kristen-bio Kristen Brown

In my not-so-distant-past I had a terrible habit of staying in friendships long after the person had repeatedly shown me who they were or more importantly, who they were not.

I’m fantastic at seeing below the surface of others’ behaviors and extending unending grace, compassion and acceptance. Although those traits make me a good friend to others, they don’t make me a good friend to myself, because I had often let others’ bad behaviors go unchecked at the expense of my own well-being.

Good Friend Trait #1–

Be a good friend to yourself first.

The times I did have the courage to speak my feelings or experiences of them, it was often met with minimization or deference and I would allow them to convince me I was being too sensitive or moreover it was no big deal.

Good Friend Trait #2–

Good friends take responsibility for their wrongs.

The truth is I was a doormat. I simply didn’t know at the time what I was worthy of or how to hold that line.

As I progressed on my healing journey, it became glaringly obvious how I had continually accepted unacceptable treatment from people I called “friends”. It is almost embarrassing what I had allowed (some stories would blow your hair back!).

Good Friend Trait #3–

Good friends don’t do things that blow your hair back. :)

I gave myself a heartfelt apology for compromising my sacred self and made a steadfast decision to not let it happen again. I finally took responsibility for my own care and well-being.

Good Friend Trait #4–

Good friends have your back and care about your well-being.

By January 2011, I had grown tired of lop-sided friendships, so I set this intention:

I only attract people of high integrity and character into my life.

I didn’t just say the words everyday, I embodied them with every cell of my being.

Good Friend Trait #5–

Good friends mirror back your character and integrity. They don’t exploit it.

Soon thereafter, the questionable characters in my life began falling away and wonderful new friends of outstanding character and quality began coming in (three of which are collaborating on this column with me!).

I believe with all my heart that when I finally knew I was worthy of solid, reciprocal friendships, my energy shifted to something higher and I was no longer attracting friends who were jealous, disrespectful or backstabbing.

Good Friend Trait #6–

Good friends support and encourage your accomplishments.

What I have learned thus far on my journey is when we grow spiritually, we might lose vibrational connection with certain “friends”, thus creating misalignment in the friendship.  This does not mean we are better than anyone; it only means we are at different places on our journeys.

The few times in my life this happened to me I did not have to do anything.  The Universe took care of it for me.

My only job was to forgive them and myself and walk away with love.

~Kristen Brown- Site Admin and Loving Friend!

 

KelliHeadshot Kelli Davies

As someone who’s spent most of my life as a single person, I always prided myself on being a good friend. I am that friend who gets called in a crisis for words of advice.  Not only do I serve as counselor, but also confidant, fashion consultant, & ride or die chick!

Unfortunately for me, because I am always there for my friends, I had an expectation that I would get that same effort in return.  That expectation not being met has left me feeling very disappointed and unimportant on more than one occasion.

How do you know when it’s time to unfriend someone? When the friendship bank account is empty.

Two of Gary Chapman’s five love languages that I express are quality time and acts of service.  I realize now that they have a great impact on how I evaluate friendships.  Do they hold space for me? Do they make time for me? Am I the only one making deposits into this friendship while they keep making withdrawals?

This lead me to my next question.  Why aren’t they making any deposits? Don’t they care about our friendship?

My spiritual growth has helped me to realize that there is always a deeper issue going on that can explain people’s behavior.  When I got quiet, God spoke to me about three different situations; life circumstances, unhealed wounds, and perpetual self-involvement.

Life Circumstances: This one may require you to extend some grace.  Life happens!  Marriage, children, divorce, and death all can cause your friend to go M.I.A.  Sometimes it’s not because they don’t care, they just don’t have anything left to make a deposit.

Unhealed Wounds: If you are someone who is full of positivity, light, and has a generous spirit, it may cause people to latch onto you. Part of their self-medication is to feed off of you and the friendship until there is a zero balance.

Perpetual Self-involvement: These people are so self-absorbed that they will make any and everything about them because they are stuck in their story.  Making a deposit of emotional currency doesn’t even cross their mind!

When it comes to your bestie, your go to person, invest wisely .  Give to relationships that value you, and that you can withdraw from as well.

If you are going out of your way to make deposits into your friendship bank account while the other person is on a spending spree, it’s time to invest your emotional currency elsewhere!

It’s not an easy decision.  Once you are away from the friendship, you’ll be surprised at the weight that is lifted from your shoulders. You can then put that energy into a friendship that is balanced.

Kelli Davies has spent the last 20 years working closely with the public as an aesthetician /makeup artist. (She is truly THE best!) Kelli’s current employment home is Prova Salon in Scottsdale Arizona. Kelli is a church going,  self-empowerment loving, spiritual gangster!  Kelli’s spiritual journey has invoked a deep passion in her to encourage and speak life into others as they travel through life challenges. I am honored to call Kelli one of my dearest friends!

20160617_131442-1_resized Lisa Marquis

Wouldn’t it be great if unfriending someone was as easy as clicking that little button on Facebook?

No confrontation, no hassle. Click! No more stories, no more reminders of them or their family and friends. Easy, right?

But what about letting go of a friendship outside of cyber space?

How do we know when to call it quits?

The simple answer would be, when we feel we don’t have that real friend connection anymore. Perhaps, if we are only friends through technology. But wait, we can’t just go dumping all our friends because we don’t see them every day.

It’s not that simple is it? We all have friends that we love but don’t see regularly.  We’re busy. It’s harder to maintain friendships as we get older. We’d like to see them more, but life gets in the way.

When we were in school, it was easy; we knew we’d see our friends every day. Just show up. As adults we have to make an effort to keep friendships alive. It takes both sides to keep things going. Do you have friends that aren’t making the effort anymore?

We all do! So, how do we decide which friends to let go of and which ones to keep working for?

Not the easiest question to answer, but here’s an idea.

Maybe you’ve got a friend that doesn’t feel like the right ‘fit’ anymore. They don’t get in touch with you as much as you’d like, but it goes further than that.

Do they respect and hold space for you when you need them?

Will they tell you the truth (in a loving way) even when it’s hard or may hurt you?

Can you enjoy being with them without working at it?

To go a little further, does this friend act as though your stories and experiences don’t matter? Do they disrespect you? Does it always seem to be about them? Are they too much drama?

While no one is perfect, we need friends around us who accept our imperfections, and we theirs. It’s not always pretty; maybe we need to humble ourselves and admit that we haven’t been the best of friends either. Apologize, and mean it. Make the effort to really listen to their story. Forgive their faults and be willing to tell them the difficult truths in a loving and productive way.

One way to decide whether to end a friendship is to turn it around and ask yourself, “If I were them, would I be my friend? Am I being the friend I’d like to have?” If the answer is no, it’s time to let them go for their sake as well!

Life is too short to maintain half-assed friendships. Go all in or let them go, make more time for the real ones.

In the end, it doesn’t come down to hours spent in the same room, but quality of time we spend together that makes a true friendship.

Lisa Marquis is a practicing Hair Stylist, Truth Seeker , aspiring Author and one helluva Space Holder! Lisa’s divine gifts of logic and compassion coupled with her articulate, sweet, but oh-s0-witty demeanor, make her one of my favorite people! If you would like to follow Lisa on her Facebook biz page, click here: Straight Up Hair

Sue BIO Sue Markovitch

Friendship can mean anything from companion to soulmate. Now we also have Facebook friends; lots of them. With so many connections, how do we know when it’s time to unfriend someone?

I consider the level of commitment.

With hundreds of Facebook friends, some I haven’t seen since high school, my level of commitment is low. If they are not adding light and love to my news feed, it’s not difficult to either hide them or unfriend.

They probably don’t know or care.

With acquaintances, it gets more difficult. These might be people I work with, work out with, friends of friends, that type of thing. Here I have to have my boundaries in check, and know it’s OK to decline invitations without explanation. Again, the level of commitment is low.

My work is to be myself and not worry about approval.

A closer circle of friends, my tribe, is a group of people that were friends before I came along. They included me in their lives. My work here is accepting each member of the tribe, if I want to belong. I don’t have to be soulmates with each person, but I must love and respect each member. There is no unfriending, because the tribe is a package deal.

If I find I am not treated well or just no longer vibe with this tribe, it is my job to leave peacefully.

Solo friends, the ones we make time for, trust and share our hearts with, come and go. This was hard for me to accept. Not every friendship, even if it dives deep, is meant to last. If my instincts tell me a friendship has run its course, I have to be brave and talk about it, and if needed, bid it farewell. Learning this is like learning to lovingly break up with someone.

My job is to wish them well, while honoring me. There might be backlash, but that’s better than committing to friendships that don’t fit.

Sister/brother soulmate friendships are the ones I want to spend my time on. The ones I go to when I need someone to tell me the truth, encourage me, love me no matter what. When I look back, I see who was there for me at my worst. I see who listened to the same problem for years, and never said, “OMG, just get over it already.” I see who literally loves me no matter what.

My work here is to not ever take these souls for granted, and learn to be that rock solid in return.

The work is always about me. My vibe attracts my tribe. So…am I being authentic? Do I recognize my worth? Am I approval seeking? Am I practicing healthy boundaries? Am I being loving and respectful? When I approach relationships like that, broken friendships seem to fall away. What’s left is freedom to love my sister soul friends wholeheartedly, and be loved back.

Sue Markovitch is a Fitness Coach, Author, Speaker, Spiritual Leader and my beloved Soul Sister! If you would like to discover more about Sue’s awesomeness check out her website Clear Rock Fitness!