It wasn’t the pain of saying goodbye that hurt me.
It wasn’t the idea that we would no longer be friends - would never again chat on the phone about nothing at all. It wasn’t the pain - because it wasn’t truly pain at all. It was hard. It was hard to say enough is enough.
In 2013, I watched as five of my nearest and dearest relationships crumbled around me. I felt stupefied at times watching it happen, feeling as I imagine one would feel watching a car pull out in front of a train. That desire to reach out and yell STOP! delicately paired with a calm sense of what-will-be-will-be.
It took me losing several friends to see that it wasn't the friendship ending that was hurting me - it was the experience of watching an already dead relationship seek a passive aggressive revival, and knowing that I was saying no more.
Those people said to me “you are not enough” and “this is what you must do, so say I, to be enough.” And it's not that I didn't care to make those changes they so flippantly asked me to make in myself. No. Far from it! It was the realization that I would so willingly want to change everything about myself to be kept in their lives that made me Stop. Set down my phone. Look in the mirror, take a deep breath, and pull on the strength that’s always been there.
And in those moments, I realized that I had grown. That I had come to a place of love and acceptance in my own life that was so full of light, there was no longer room for pain, for manipulation, for pressure.
I had unknowingly decided, without a doubt, that I was enough. I am enough. I am worth genuine, selfless, unconditional love.
If you're going through something like this, you should remind yourself that it's okay to be mad. It's okay to be hurt. It’s okay to grieve the loss of a toxic relationship. It's okay to feel all of the feelings. But it's never okay to be made small, to be put down, to believe you are less than.
To provide ultimatums and judgements of character are the ultimate signs of weakness and ill intent. "Man up." "You will answer me." "I've held my tongue for awhile now." "Stop spending so much time with your husband. He's so temporary." Ignore those types of words, because you are enough - just as you are - independent of someone else's approval.
Look for the friends who tell you “yes you fucking can.” “You are more than capable.” “I can't believe you haven't done that already!” “Leave nothing out.” “I can't wait to hear all about this.”
What they’re really saying is “you are enough" - and these are the sort of words that come from a place of love. Those are the words we should be hearing. These are the words we should be spreading.