I have a certain laugh that belongs to one of my ex-boyfriends.
I hear it every time I do it and I hate it. If you ever hear that laugh you might find it cute, because it is… but my tell is that I will always make a face of “honestly, wtf was that” immediately after doing it. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s overt, but I do it every time.
I have a certain southern inspired reaction that belongs to one of my very best friends.
I hear it every time I say it and I love it. If you ever hear that statement you might find it entirely out of place, because it is… but my tell is that I will always giggle. Sometimes quietly to myself, sometimes loud enough for everyone to wonder what’s so funny, but I do it every time.
Sometimes I giggle at the southern reaction with the ex-boyfriend’s laugh and it’s a mess of expressions.
All relationships leave their mark.
They leave pieces and perspectives and aspects of personality we don’t always notice. They leave beliefs and values and way of being in the world. It’s inevitable because we are often shaped so deeply by the ones we surround ourselves with. So often, in fact, we don’t always realize it’s happening.
Who we surround ourselves with matters.
And it matters a lot.
I’ve received a lot of judgment and criticism for letting go of the hands that held me this past year. For walking away from humans I love so dearly and deeply, that it seems to make no sense why I would do it in the first place. People who were a huge part of my world during the most challenging chapters.
It’s easy for people to say from a place of scarcity, anger, and fear that, “if we walk away from the people who love us, what do we have left?”
But here’s the thing…
Who we surround ourselves with matters, and it matters a lot.
Despite the love and care and wonderful experiences… there was shaming, control, gas lighting, and unloving aspects to those relationships. There was codependence and roles. Roles that said, “this will work just fine as long as you show up exactly how I need and expect you to.” Roles that limited my ability to be who I am in the world. To show up fully.
They left pieces, perspectives, beliefs, and ways of being that were unhealthy for me… especially as I find my way back from years of relationship trauma. Especially as I make the choice to show up in an entirely new way. As I prioritize my work, my health, my values, and my happiness.
Things are never as simple as they seem on the surface. People can be lovely and wonderful and your absolute favorite humans… and they can be wrong for you and what you’re working to create. They can be harmful and unloving alongside all the love and care in the world.
If you think someone is just being petty, narcissistic, and crazy for letting go of the ones they love… for taking actions in alignment with what feels right and true and healthy for them… I would urge you to look at where you’re not honoring what’s true and right for YOU in your own relationships. Where you’re scared of letting go.
It’s hard and scary to be alone, I get it.
But it’s far worse to surround yourself with the wrong people.
With growth comes outgrowing… not always, but often.
And who we surround ourselves with matters a lot.