Changing times, changing ties

On your journey of self-growth, not everyone you know may be able to keep pace with you but if you have to let go of them do it with gratitude and love


I remember about four years ago my husband and I were in a couples coaching session together and I was just about to embark on a 10-month leadership programme. Our coach said to us, “If one of you is doing inner work, the other needs to do their work too, otherwise you will leave the other behind.”

That comment stayed with both of us and fortunately we are still together and doing our inner work separately and simultaneously. But that’s not true for all my relationships. Some of them have been left behind.

It is inevitable that as you grow into new success, you will leave people behind. Not everyone will understand, appreciate or even follow your lead. I see this in my current work where, as I step outside the box to lead, it unsettles those that are close to me who don’t necessarily share my journey or belief system. Suddenly there’s unease in our relationship because what I believe in and do feels ‘weird’ to them.

How can you meet this challenge?

There is no hierarchy in spirituality 

We are all beautifully unique and our experiences and beliefs will impact and shape the success we have in life. Some people are really open to exploring their story and journey. Some others aren’t—they’re caught up in the status quo and for them it is the only way. There is no right or wrong, only an opportunity to explore. You can’t force anyone to want to shift even if you see how they’re limiting their power. Your job is to claim your light and success.

Don’t make their resistance mean anything about you

When people would challenge or resist my work, I used to make it mean something about me. I’d feel that perhaps I wasn’t enough and I didn’t really get it. But with time I realised that it’s just an expression of where they are and what they can see at this moment in time.

Redefine the relationship

You don’t have to cut people out of your life because of your new-found success. You get to redefine the relationship on your own terms. You can leave someone behind metaphorically but that doesn’t mean you have to do it physically as well. If you enjoy aspects of the relationship then keep them, just follow the resonance of the energy. Be clear with them and have a courageous conversation that shares what you enjoy about being with them and what boundaries need to be in place for you to still enjoy each other’s company. For example, I have a friend who thinks a lot of the work I do is silly, so we have an agreement not to talk about it.

Let go with love

For those relationships that you really need to let go of, do it with love in your heart rather than resentment or ego. We are all figuring out this game of life and we do so at a different pace and in different ways. When you decide it’s time to leave a relationship behind, you can do so by releasing them and sending them love. Holding on to resentment will not serve you on your onward journey. It won’t always be obvious when you need to leave someone behind.  Sometimes the relationship just wanes and fizzles out.  It’s helpful to bring closure and to acknowledge the gifts that the relationship gave you.

As I look back at some of my relationships that no longer remain strong, it’s helpful to acknowledge and be grateful for what they gave me at the time. That helps me release the energy and give thanks for their support and friendship at the time. It means that if I meet them on my onward journey, I do so with a clean and open heart.

Open up to new relationships

As one relationship is left behind another potential one is coming into fruition.  You are a traveller on a journey called life. As you stop along the way at different destinations, new people will be there to greet you. Many people don’t see the new friendships and opportunities. They keep their heads burrowed down and don’t notice those around them. If you stop and take time to enjoy the journey, you’ll make the most wonderful and incredible connections at just the right time. Your job is simply to be open to them and pay attention.

Relating to others as you grow as a person is both challenging and nurturing. It requires us to really know ourselves and get to know the other person. Once we’re clear about who we are, what’s important to us and what our definition of success looks like, it’s a lot easier to navigate through life in relationship with others. We see that our job isn’t to change anyone else; it’s just to follow our own guidance and energy.

In relationship we co-create, and it’s important to honour our authentic selves by being with those that give us energy and empower us. Allow yourself the power to choose who you are in relationship with as your move forward. You choose who you plug your energy system into and you also get to unplug from those that no longer serve you. Doing this from a loving perspective is the key.

 This was first published in the May 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Vanessa Anstee coaches women to live their courageous life now, gently and with a kick. She’s an executive and personal life coach with a passion and commitment to living fully.