Self Care: Investing in Healthy Relationships by choosing the right people

“Love is the totality of appreciation, trust, and understanding” my Grandpa

My personal relationships with my family and friends mean a great deal to me. Just like most people, these are the people I expect to turn to when I need support or guidance in hard times especially. These are also the people I know that will be happy to celebrate my success and accomplishments. Learning to identify what elements created healthy relationships with certain people helped me realize how much of my self care had to do with the relationships I was building.

Self care isn’t strictly about “the self”. Self care can also have a lot to do with building an environment that nurtures you. So investing in the right people who have the self awareness and capacity to offer you what you truly deserve which includes appreciation, trust, and understanding is critically important. It took a few rocky relationships to really understand this.

Have you ever had initiated a relationship with someone you really admired, but their behavior was so out of control you eventually had to cut ties with them? I have several stories to tell, of black men and women I became friends with who’s unresolved issues eventually impacted our friendship. These were beautiful black and brown men and women, who physically survived abusive relationships with their parents/families, or lovers, may have not actually emotionally healed.

Understanding that this world can be cruel is not a truth I’m unfamiliar with as a black woman. However, being on the receiving end of toxic behavior can be extremely difficult. Energy is contagious and having to absorb this kind of energy can make you feel like an emotional punching bag. There becomes a time where you have to make a decision: Have you tried everything you possibly could? If so, is this relationship still worth moving forward? If so why and if not-be clear on why.

There have been some clear and consistent patterns that have proven to be good indicators that a relationship is not worth investing in. Not investing in these relationships gave me the control to create an environment that was tailored to nurture my confidence, intellect, creativity, and happiness.

Since I believe that developing truly authentic loving relationships is a practice of that self-care, I wanted to share a few tips that I’ve learned along the way. I’m starting with the warning signs here but later I will add to this with a list of promising positive attributes that one could look for as well.

Warning Signs:

  1. Jealousy: Jealousy can transpire in overt or subtle ways, so watch your back. Personally, I think the most telling sign is when they act very nonchalant about some crazy shit you’re going through. Don’t misdiagnose their cool and calm exterior, because you know had the same shit happened to them there would be a scene. These are people that secretly enjoy watching you go through tough times. So trust me when I say, these people do not enjoy celebrating with you when YOUR life is good. No mask is that good. For example, I knew my “friend” was jealous of me, when she organized my birthday party and personally invited someone I had beef with. #pettyAF
  2. Lying: This one is simple. Liars just can’t be trusted!
  3. Narcissism: I can probably write a whole book on narcissistic pathology, so I’ll continue to elaborate on this in another post. For now, I’ll just say that people who are excessively self absorbed make really, really bad friends. They are selfish and you can’t tell them shit about it.
  4. Not knowing when to say, they’re sorry: I expect my friends to fuck up, because my friends are people and people make mistakes. If you can’t learn how to forgive your friends, you will cease to have any. However, should an opportunity of reconciliation present itself and your friends admits that they were wrong but won’t offer an actual apology-you better bounce ‘cus they ain’t shit. I had a friend, who admitted to me that she lashed out at me, because of issues she was going through with her man. I thanked her for sharing what was really going on — but I also explained how her actions upset me. Her venom against me was really out of pocket, especially considering how I didn’t actually do shit to her. At this point she tried to minimize her actions by not taking total responsibility, “Well I already told you, I was in a daze, he had me paranoid, I wasn’t really myself. What else do you want?”. Um, a fucking apology.

Please comment with responses, I’m very curious to see if other people have noticed this as well and what they think.

Peace, Love, & Harmony Ya’ll.