6 Steps To Move on From Unhealthy Relationships

There are moments that you struggle in an unhealthy relationship. Find out and understand how you can avoid and get out of it.

At one time or another we have all experiences a realization that a relationship we are in is just not healthy for us anymore. It could be with a mate, a friend, our body, or even food; however, the root of this feeling is the same across the board. We think to ourselves, “This just doesn’t serve me anymore.” At one point, the relationship provided some level of happiness, but now the cons far outweigh the pros. This is where the crossroad lies. The choice we face is simple: do we continue down this path because it is familiar and comfortable, OR do we take the road less traveled, removing ourselves from an unhealthy environment so that we can live a happier life? Before you answer, let’s take a look at the process of moving on, which so often is filled with fear and holds us back.

Step 1: The realization.

Just the single realization that you need to make a change is a HUGE part of the process, and can provide some relief. You can’t change what you aren’t aware you need to change, right? So, once you can look at the situation objectively as a 3rd person, and say, “Hmm this is not a healthy situation,” you have already started to shift. The process is actually more mental than physical. Yes, we need to take action to make positive changes in our life, but the bigger hurdle is getting our mind to agree to stick to the plan. We must know, with certainty, that this is the right thing for us. Remember - the body is the servant of the mind, not the other way around. You can “do” all kinds of things, but the reality is, if your thoughts and your feelings are not 100% in alignment with what you are doing, you are going to end up right back in the same spot.

Step 2: Deciding what you DO want.

So you have decided that this is what you DON’T want. Now you have to decide what it is that you DO want. This sounds silly, but if you are going to remove something from your life, you MUST be clear about what you want to replace it with. This new void is going to get filled with something, much like a hole you dig in your backyard. In a short amount of time, nature will fill it back up. 9 times out of 10, if you don’t take the time to consciously choose what to replace it with, you risk ending up with another relationship that doesn’t serve you any more than the first. This parallels the smoker that gives up smoking, but ends up overeating to compensate because they didn’t stop and make a conscious decision of what positive action they would take when the urge kicks up. Take some alone time and really put thought into this. Write a clear description. I have a journal and I write everything from my sleeping dreams to my intentions to brilliant words of wisdom that I come across. When you commit this stuff to paper, it gains a life of its own, and is actually the first step in the creation process. It becomes real and powerful. I tie this back to the whole idea of getting clear in your mind what it is that you want. When we write it down, and think through it, our mind registers it and understands, “Ok, this is not just a foggy wish anymore, this is a very clear picture and now I am more able to filter out the stuff that doesn’t align with this intention.”

Step 3: Remove yourself from the current situation.

This is the big gnarly monster that stands in the doorway between the life we want and the life we are currently living. How many times do we allow this fear of the unknown to keep us stuck in a mediocre life? We are afraid of what we would have to face, change or possibly even fail at to get to where we want to be. It’s ok to be afraid and to feel fear. However, the difference between the people who are living a life of happiness and those that aren’t, is that the happy people step up, face the monster, feel the fear, and make a decision to pass through that doorway, no matter what! The reality is, all real change will bring up fear, doubt and anxiety; but, that is also where growth, success, and new results await us! Happy people are the ones who know the secret: that whenever you want to change something for the better, you always have to go through something uncomfortable, but on the other side lies bliss. I don’t know about you, but I am willing to trade some discomfort for a life of bliss. And I have… and still do, on many occasions. I could list multiple examples from boyfriends and friends, to how I have felt about myself or my living environment, to the future of my career and my business. I have had to take this step with courage and wisdom when I knew my current circumstances were not in alignment with my vision. I absolutely had to move on. I had to do what I knew was right for me and the attainment of my goals. Don’t expect other people to understand. They may not support you. In fact, even the most well meaning people could very well discourage you and attempt to squelch your hopes for a better life. Often times you will represent the courage they themselves do not have, so keep this in perspective. My certainty, that the benefit of “moving on” was far greater and more powerful than the fear holding me back, was what gave me the strength to charge forward!

How do I remove myself in order to move on?

Well, I think that the answer is fairly obvious, but one that we sometimes choose to block from our sight. In the case of a mate or friends, we simply stop hanging around the people who are unhealthy for us. If it is our mate that is unhealthy for us, we sit down and have a serious and honest discussion about our needs, values and goals. If their values and needs are not in alignment with yours, or if this has been an on-going issue, then it is time to tell them how you feel. This conversation is one that can be a challenge for sure. If it is a long-term relationship with living arrangements, children, finances, and so forth involved, then obviously it is more of a transition than a conversation. The crucial point is that you begin the process.

Unhealthy Relationship

If the unhealthy relationship is with yourself, with food, or with an addiction, then this step would involve removing the triggers from your environment. Begin a journal that documents how you feel and what is going on when an urge hits. Notice it and observe the emotion with a judgment free awareness. When you journal enough of these triggers, you will notice a pattern that will then empower you to find a more positive outlet. You’ll begin to have a heightened awareness of any emotions just as they begin to surface, and that is a defining moment! You now have the conscious decision to move forward in faith, or to step back into fear, doubt, and/or anxiety. This is not easy, but it IS attainable. I have found that surrendering is one of the most helpful and powerful gifts you can give to yourself. So you are frustrated because you just left a relationship and you still have feelings for him or her? Surrender to it! Who says you need to hate them just because you aren’t with them anymore? The temptation to dig in the freezer for some Haagen Dazs is overwhelming? Surrender to the feeling (without going near the freezer!). After all, that is not who you are, that is who you were. You are in the process of making new decisions and creating new results! Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. It is the easiest and fastest way to get the emotion to actually move through you and dissipate. What you resist will persist. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable and acknowledge the steps you are taking, because this is part of the process and reason to celebrate. Your new life is rushing towards you at this very moment! Congratulations!

Step 4: Filling the void.

So you have made it this far, you are clear on what you want, you are beginning to heal any wounds, and you are stepping forward in faith. Now what? It’s time to start filling your life with new, healthy alternatives. Refer back to the description you wrote above of what it is that you do want. What steps can you take now to begin putting that in place? Are there certain places you can start going in order to meet other people who want this as well? Groups you can join? This step is all about filling your environment with things that will help to reinforce this new vision that you have for yourself. You must do the things that you would do if this vision were already your reality right now! Go to those places. Meet those people. Act in that way. Think in that way. You must not only reinforce in your mind that this is what you have chosen, but you also to keep the doors open to allow it to flow into your life.

Step 5: Taking some time to grieve.

Ok, even if there IS cause to celebrate, it’s natural to feel a little sad when we make this kind of a BIG change. Our mind tends to revert to the good times in our memory and want it back. We want to “fix” our own pain and discomfort. We start to rationalize (ration lies to the mind) that “oh, it wasn’t so bad…maybe I’m expecting too much…”. Sadness is a natural human emotion. We have it for a reason and we shouldn’t stifle it. As mentioned above, it’s important to feel it, so we can move through it. If we try to block it out, chances are it will return to wreck even more damage in later days and uglier ways. Choose a specific amount of time to just allow yourself to grieve. Tune into the emotions for a short period of time so that you can burn through them. This is also a great time for some self-examination. What can you learn from this relationship, so that in the future, you make healthier choices? Let go of regret, guilt, shame. This is not a time to judge yourself. I learned a long time ago that every single experience in our lives is there to teach us something. So look at the situation objectively, from the 3rd person again, and write out five or ten reasons why this relationship has made you a stronger, better, and a savvier individual. What kind of lessons are you able to carry forward that you can actually thank the other person, or situation, for? Even in the most painful experiences, when we are willing, we can find blessings. This is why forgiveness is such a powerful practice. Once you can forgive yourself and release judgment, then you can find the beauty in the murk, so to speak. Then, and only then, can you face the situation and say “thank you “for-giving” me that experience”. That is true power! Note: This step may not be applicable for every circumstance, but if you need to take time to heal, make sure to take that time.

Step 6: Be grateful.

At this point, if you are truly following the steps listed above, you are going to be seeing a dramatic shift in not only how you feel, but also what you are experiencing in your life. Most likely, you will feel light years different and better. If not, then go back and review Steps 1-5 and ask yourself if you are REALLY giving this everything you’ve got. Now is the time to reflect on your new experiences and to be grateful for them. If you want to make a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life now, all the better. The stronger the message you can send to your mind that you are loving this new life, the stronger you will make those connections, and the more you will bring similar experiences into your life. Now that you understand what is involved with moving on, you can make a conscious decision on whether or not you need to remove yourself from an unhealthy relationship. Avoidance can work for a little while, but sooner or later, unhappiness hits us up side the head like a ton of bricks. This is your life and you are in charge. It’s time to start directing the show, isn’t it?
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