I have great conversations with my friend, Adam. He is my client, I am his client, and most of all we are friends. We spend a great deal of time sitting and chatting about life and the meaning of it all. Sometimes they become very deep philosophical conversations, other times we just laugh about the craziness of humanity and all of our drama. Above all, we listen to each other.

Earlier this year there was a conflict between myself and one of my friends, and it was clear that the relationship was coming to an end after several years of being friends and confidants. I was feeling the pain of the loss and could not wrap my head around it. I felt angry, disappointed, and sad.

One Friday afternoon Adam and I were sitting at the Monon Food Company enjoying our regular “Fish Taco Friday” lunch and I was talking to him about the sadness I felt and how hard it was to let the relationship go, when he gave me a piece of advice that really made an impact for me. It changed the way I looked at the people in my life. “Hazel,” he said, “I only want to be with the people who want to be with me, and I give little thought to those who do not.” This allowed him to be fully present with those who chose to be with him.

He was right, we cling to relationships out of habit, we hang on because we always have, even when those relationships become judgmental, negative, and unhealthy. We cling to them because we don’t like change the same way that we hang on to stuff that is no longer useful or valuable. Rather than letting it go, we will rent storage units to store stuff that we no longer need so we can replace it with more stuff that we don’t need, all because we cannot let go of our attachments.

Letting go of things or relationships is never easy when we first begin the process, but it is very liberating once it is done. I think about Adam’s advice often and realize that it has given me the freedom to have ease with the relationships that I have because I am with those who want to be with me and I do not have to waste energy worrying about those who do not.

Thinkkit Day 14 – Did you get any good advice or learn a valuable lesson this year? Was it expected or unexpected, easy or tough? Share what you learned.