It has been a hot second since my last part to this series, and I will be completely honest: that part was the hardest. In part III I shared my experience letting go of toxic relationships in my life. My two big takeaways from that season are (1) a relationship’s history should influence your desire for space and (2) boundaries are never designed to offend anyone. It has been so freeing seeing what I need and do not need in my life, and this last part to the series really surprised me. I did not know where this detox would take me or what I would end up doing but this final part has led me to evaluate one of the most influential things in a persons life (even beyond intimate relationships): community.
Your community could be your city, work, place of worship, even friend group or small organization. The word community refers to so many different things, but it matters greatly in terms of how we let them influence us and our behaviors. In this post I am going to share a few examples of times when I experienced communities that just were not good for me and how I worked through those situations.
For disclaimer, I will not be using names and do not intend to speak negatively regarding any organization or person with these stories. This post is designed to help those who may also be unhappy with their situation and wish to find the solution that is best for them. I hope this inspires you to recognize your worth and pursue the people and influences you want for your life.
In college I never had a set friend group. I loved doing so many different things and I felt that I had to pursue a variety of interests simultaneously. I was involved in a pre-med organization, bible study, dance group, sorority, and there were definitely more. I struggled to manage my time between all of them, and on top of that I definitely struggled to leave the groups where I did not feel welcome.
My college experience was full of caddy people. In some of these groups there were little cliques who wrote me off as either the fat girl or the girl with the boyfriend (there are so many layers to how my college relationship contributed to all this but I will leave it at that). At the time I did not realize I had so much control over the people I let into my life. With some of these groups I rightfully left for the sake of self-care, but with others I stuck it out for the wrong reasons. Looking back I wish I recognized what course was best for me and with that I wish I invested more of myself in the kind people I encountered because there were a lot of them.
Through this pandemic I am sure it is obvious to all of us what kinds of relationships can survive a season like this, but as we continue to seek community, virtually or in person, I hope you can discern what groups are best for you and your time. For my college-age readers, I hope you learn to invest in the people with whom you feel calm and accepted rather than anxious and judged.
This detox series became a lot more personal of a journey than I intend. I thought it would just be me organizing my life but it turned into a lot of difficult decisions that I now realize were hugely important. Toxicity in relationships and enviornments is a real thing and talking about it openly can be hard, but removing negative things in our lives to make room for more positive things is so so worth it and that’s what this is all about! Thank you for reading.