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Before It’s Too Late: 8 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Parents Honestly

Before It’s Too Late: 8 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Parents Honestly

“One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad.” – Jim DeMint

It is only when you become a parent yourself that you realize what an enormous sacrifice and how much hard work it is to raise a kid. Then you start feeling guilty that you never really appreciated what your parents did for you. If you get a chance before they leave forever, tell them what you feel and how much you will miss them. Here are 8 things I wish I could tell my parents.

1. I am grateful for the role models you provided

Strong ethics and hard work marked you as special. They were your hallmarks. You gave me the role models to follow and I will never forget that, and will teach my kids the same. You taught me that there were no short cuts and you encouraged me to study hard. You did not get too upset when the report cards read, “He should try harder.”

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2. I love the way you helped others

You went out of your way to help neighbors and friends who were experiencing difficult times and you demonstrated your values by taking action. If our neighbour lost her keys, Dad was there to tell her to retrace her steps. It worked every time!

3. I now know your standards were never too high

When you taught me that there was only one way to do anything – the right way – I thought you were far too strict. But there was never any question about shaming us in public, which is so popular nowadays. Now I know what is always right and that shoddy shortcuts and manipulative tactics will never pay off in the long term.

4. I love the way you encouraged us to work and earn money

You demonstrated a hard work ethic. I was allowed to work at the age of 17 in a laundry for two months, which was difficult, but taught me many life lessons I will never forget. Then I had an astonishing range of summer jobs such as bar person, lab assistant, door to door salesman, and fruit picker. This taught me the value of money and how to save for emergencies.

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5. I am grateful you never intervened at school

I had problems at school, but you never intervened because you taught us to fend for ourselves. There were cases of bullying, sporting failures and disappointing exam results but you were never going to intervene on our behalf. We knew that we had to stand on our own two feet. You allowed us to fail and learn some tough life lessons. We were astonished when parents of delinquents and bullies were constantly ringing up the Principal to protest about the suspension of their little pets.

6. I am grateful for the chores we had to do

I complained at the time, but now I know the true value of helping out around the house. My mother worked, so we all had to muscle in and get things on the table by a certain time. We learned great skills and my ironing, cooking and gardening skills are still admired. Thank goodness you never spoiled us.

7. I thank you for the gift of reading

We were encouraged to read from early on. I still have my first Ladybird book, “Dick Whittington Goes to London.” Other kids never read anything and they grew up to be bigoted and badly behaved. Reading was an eye opener to the real world and I will never forget that wonderful gift you gave us.

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“From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover that you have wings.” – Helen Hayes

8. I thank you for teaching me about gratitude

“Count your blessings,” was my mother’s refrain. Every day, she reminded us to be grateful and that is the most important lesson my parents ever taught me. She just knew instinctively that was the secret to happiness and success. She would laugh now at the research which shows that adolescents who are taught to be grateful do better at school and suffer from less depression and envy. Everybody knows that, but she actually practised it and I am so grateful for that. Thanks Mom!

 “Children are grateful when Santa Claus puts in their stockings gifts of toys or sweets. Could I not be grateful to Santa Claus when he puts in my stockings the gift of two miraculous legs? We thank people for birthday presents of cigars and slippers. Can I thank no one for the birthday present of birth?”- G.K. Chesterton

Featured photo credit: rioBapt 013/ marco antonio torres via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 15, 2020

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

“Entitlement is an expression of conditional love. Nobody is ever entitled to your love. You always have a right to protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being by removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances.” -Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson

It’s not always obvious if you have someone toxic in your life. A toxic relationship is one that is harmful to you. A toxic person can create distress to the degree you feel inadequate and isolated. So, what makes a toxic person?

A toxic person has toxic behavior, meaning it’s not that the whole person is toxic[1]. It’s what they do that counts. Most toxic people run from accountability and misrepresent reality to you. They misrepresent your worth and your ability to heal from them can be stifled the longer you keep them in your life. You have a role to play with it as well; if your values are dismissed by them and you don’t act on it, you have allowed room for toxicity to grow.

When you are in a toxic relationship, you feel less than. You feel as though you are not worth anyone’s time or effort. You feel unheard, and sometimes you feel unsafe. You don’t feel good about yourself in a toxic relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, or family member.

You may stay in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. You may believe yourself to be a burden, have a lack of boundaries, resist change, fear conflict, try to be a people pleaser, find yourself codependent, or are partially stuck in a pattern or unhealthy cycle of abuse.

Letting go of toxic people may not be easy. In order to do so, you have to know why or how they are toxic to you and read between the lines that they do not have your best interests in mind.

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Letting go of toxic people is hard because you are good and want to see the good in others. You think their apologies are authentic. You have trouble believing they are being dishonest. You don’t spend time healing from it. You get pulled back into the pain because you don’t want it to end. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t right.

You should walk away from a toxic person because you need to preserve your peace. You need to feel like yourself again. And you need better support.

Letting go of toxic people can involve four major steps.

1. Recognize the Red Flags

Red flags are signs a person is being toxic. It’s when someone shows characteristics that you should feel caution about. It’s when you feel any level of dissatisfaction and distrust. Trust your gut. When you recognize red flags, you can evaluate whether a person is trying to manipulate you or not. This gives you some level of control over what you allow in your life. The earlier you detect these behaviors, the better off you will be.

Red flags can include:

  • They always put themselves first.
  • They point out imperfections and sabotage your self-esteem.
  • You may feel drained or used when you’re around them.
  • What you give isn’t reciprocated. They don’t return the goodness you provide as a friend.
  • They ignore your boundaries and get angry when you tell them “no.”
  • You catch them in half truths or outright lies when you confront them about anything.
  • You are the villain; they are the victim.
  • Second chances always lead to repeated patterns of behavior.
  • They may engage in abuse.

2. Set Boundaries

There are emotional boundaries that one can set, but there are also physical ones[2]. You can leave any time. Setting boundaries is also an important part of self-care.

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You shouldn’t walk on eggshells. Tell them how you feel. Are they respecting you, fulfilling your needs, and listening to you? If not, it’s time to set up a healthy emotional distance and start letting go of toxic people around you.

There are levels to this. You have your inner circle, which could include family, and then you have acquaintances and strangers. If a toxic person is in your inner circle, it’s time to pull back and put up some boundaries for them to follow. If they can’t hear you out, you can cut off the connection completely.

You can give second chances, but you have to be careful. If someone knows they can get away with something, they will do it again. If there’s any chance for the relationship, they have to know not to cross certain lines.

3. Invest in Yourself

You deserve to know you are worthwhile. Try to remember that things will get better and that anything is possible. How do you do so? Invest in yourself.

This means self care, goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive support, and feeling a sense of peace. Your greatest ambition should be to love yourself. Without self-love, letting go of toxic people will be difficult.

Every relationship is a risk, but if you know yourself and what you will allow, toxic people will have less of a hold over you. If you are a giver or people pleaser, you are most at risk to being in a one-sided relationship. You shouldn’t be punished for caring, but sometimes trust needs to be earned. If you have self-love, you are treating yourself the best way possible. You know that others need to meet your standards; otherwise, they don’t get to be a part of your life.

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It’s possible that you can love yourself and still not see the signs. It can be difficult for some to be aware that toxic people exist. However,, if you know how much you mean to others in your life and what you are worth, you will be less likely to take on a relationship that is harmful to you or repeat negative patterns. Self-love is how we get out of toxic relationships, but it’s also how they never begin.

4. Know When Forgiveness Is Possible

There are times a person will prove their worth to you. They may make a mistake that makes them seem like a horrible person. They may forget to be good to you because of their own issues. They may just have no example of what a healthy relationship looks like. They may have an inflated ego that really comes from insecurity. The list goes on.

If they apologize, that’s a start. Look at their actions. Are they changing for the better because they really want to change or just seeming to in order to manipulate you? A person may control others with their image or perceived personality, but if you see through them, you may be able to discern the degree to which they are willing to be there for you.

If they start to do the right thing, you may begin to trust them again. Don’t start forgiving them until time has passed and you are sure there is growth, even if they show vulnerability or remorse. You can give a second chance if they truly have an awakening. Otherwise, it’s best to get out. Don’t let them walk all over you; let them walk out the door.

If you do give a second change and they still refuse to change, you have every right to remove them and continue the process of letting go of toxic people. The moment you even want to leave may also be a good time to get out. You don’t have to compromise yourself in order to care for them.

Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger[3]. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. You have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone. You don’t have to let them back in. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

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Remember, forgiveness is ultimately for you, not them. You don’t need that person in your life in order to forgive them, and if you give them a second chance, proceed with caution.

Final Thoughts

Recognize the red flags, set boundaries, invest in yourself, and know when forgiveness is possible. This is how you cope with a toxic person impacting your life. You have power in the direction of your life and the people who accompany you as you move forward. Use it.

If a person is worthwhile, they will prove themselves through their actions, not their words. If they cross certain lines that really harm you, you owe them nothing. You have every right to feel what you feel and to be upset. Honor your feelings and communicate them because it’ll only continue to keep happening if you don’t.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to take control. It’s time to live for yourself, not for what others say about you. It’s time to set your standards higher than they’ve ever been before. And most of all, it’s time to let go.

Resource reminder: A physically abusive relationship is ALWAYS toxic. There are resources for you. Always speak up.

If you are in such a cycle or domestic violence or abuse reach out for help. For example, there is The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) which can be reached at 1−800−799−7233. There are other ways to get help if you simply ask for it. 

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Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

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