I spent the first two decades of my life like many of us do, trying to please other people. When that would fail, which it inevitably did, my approach was to blame myself, my failings, my big mouth. I always wanted to fix it, to make amends, make peace, make up. The idea of losing someone, a friend, a boyfriend, whomever, was terrifying to me; I thought that even if the nature of the relationship shifted there could always be room for that person in my world. So I took their tirades, constructive criticisms, gossip, and side remarks all to heart, always assuming there was something that I could and should do to please and therefore keep a person in my life. What I did not understand was that a persons pleasure or displeasure with me, their reasons for moving on or staying near, or really, any of their choices whatsoever, had little to nothing to do with me. People can say things out of spite, jealousy, and greed. They can and often do put their own interests first and judge others unabashedly through their own lenses and biases. They rarely have the success and happiness of those around them at the core of their actions.
This is not to say that people are bad or unkind or dis-compassionate, just that there are times in life in which those around us do not serve us as friends, mentors, or partners. When this becomes clear, it is time to let them go. For the first time in my life I am doing just that, letting people that bring me down, interfere, complain, or act as bad influences just...slip away. For the first time I have a clear sense of living my own life, for its own purpose, and taking really good care of the most important person in my world, myself.