According to gas and electric companies, closing a door to an empty room in your house doesn’t mean that you will save energy or reduce your bill but when you close doors on any relationship that doesn’t support your mental and emotional well-being, you will save a lot and win BIG!!
I have always had a hard time saying NO. I became a people pleaser and if I see a situation or a person in need, I insert myself to help. I was never careful with this and now some people have taken advantage and feel as though they should get more and more of me without pouring anything into me. I have also had people in my life who felt that I shouldn’t help anyone else, just them. This is definitely why praying for discernment is necessary!! My grandmother always taught me to treat people how I wanted to be treated and I believed that people were raised to do the same until I ventured into the world. I understand now why she and my mother sheltered me but I wish they had let me experience more so I wouldn’t be trying to close doors now.
Sometimes we give people more chances in life than they probably deserve with us. I have learned that some people are truly just a season in your life. In order to have healthy successful relationships, you must be getting some sort of positive return on the investment you are putting in. Relationships are give, take, compromise, and sacrifice from all parties. A good friend or family member should care enough to see when you are low and need uplifting. That friend or family member should be able to provide some uplifting but pray for discernment to understand the difference between what they can’t provide and what they won’t provide.
A college friend and I became best pals, we shared an apartment and my first car. We had a blast together. They say when living with someone you learn all things about them and I agree! This friend invited people into my space, they used my things, ate my food, and even stayed in my room when I wasn’t there. In addition, those things caused a wedge in the friendship. After becoming adults, she would always have a need for me to do something, her hair, her child’s hair but I didn’t feel like it was benefiting me. In a different crowd of people, she was different with me, I felt a vibe so I cut off contact. I am sure I acted on emotions but when I reached out after 15 years of growth and maturity, I told her I couldn’t remember exactly what happened but I wanted her to know that I apologize for my role in the misunderstanding and disagreement. She replied, “I think it was something you posted on Facebook but I accept your apology and it was years ago, I can’t remember what happened yesterday, so I am sure not that long ago but I accept your apology.” Nothing followed, I said take care, and here’s my number if you ever wanted to reach out, God bless. I knew then that, this was not a friendship I needed because she did not acknowledge any wrongdoing on her part. It was okay to close that door!
I was planning a trip home for my mom’s birthday. My mom lives in a rural area and I’d be home for a few weeks, I wanted to save as much money as possible. I talked to a friend about my dilemma and she seemed in support of that idea. I booked my flight at the cheapest airport which was an hour and 45 mins away from where my friend lived. I followed up with a text asking, would you be able to pick me up from the airport? She said yeah sure. Then I said ok thanks, I will give you gas money and also purchase a hotel because my flight lands close to midnight. She replied you can stay at my house, no problem! I replied oh wait, I’m not flying into the airport in your city, it was way too expensive, I am flying to the other airport an hour and 45 mins away. She replied, I think there’s a shuttle that comes from that airport to my city and I laughed because as my friend for over 20 years, and during a global pandemic, you surely would know I wasn’t riding a public shuttle. She said well check and let me know, she was serious! I checked but my feelings were hurt so I didn’t follow back up with her. The shuttle wasn’t operating because of the pandemic. I booked another flight to get me as close to my mom’s as possible and then got a rental car. I spent way more than expected. Not to mention it was near the end of December when this trip would take place. Not fully understanding why she made that decision, I didn’t reach back out to her. The next time we spoke she text me a day before my flight asking me what did I decide to do? If you could have only seen the look on my face when I replied I purchased a flight and got a rental. She replies, ok because I don’t trust my car on the road….to make a long story short; I knew her situation but never heard about car issues and whenever she needed me, I was there in some shape, form, or fashion because that’s what friends are for. It’s okay to close that door because the value in the relationship wasn’t the same. At this point, there had been multiple occasions where it was one-sided so as my grandmother used to say, “Feed people with a long handle spoon”.
Being a single parent of 4 children and having served in the military, I have had the luxury of seeing a great deal of the world. When I travel home to Alabama, the military didn’t pay for those trips, I did! You learn how people value you in those situations because they either won’t visit or make time to see you while you’re home. Instead, they ask are you coming to Kansas, Georgia, Florida, or anywhere else to visit them, never considering that you have already traveled a great distance and more than half the way to where they can come to see you at least. Not only is it taxing on your physical well-being but financially as well because you don’t get any extra incentives because you want to visit family. For me, this is now an empty room because it seems to happen every time I go home. This tells me that some family members don’t value my kids and me enough to visit and the dynamics of the relationships aren’t benefiting me and at this point, it is better to love and pray for family from a distance! Not to hold a grudge or anything but just accept that your views on consideration and the importance of that connection aren’t weighed on the same scale. It’s okay to close that door!
Lastly, when you are in love….Eve said it best, Love is Blind! To follow up on Marvin Gaye’s Love and Happiness, something makes you do wrong, make you do right! I have had my share of encounters and mistakes! I can honestly say that I didn’t love myself enough to know what love was, what it was supposed to feel like or look like. I didn’t have that father figure to show me what a man’s love was or is. I was raised by my grandmother and mother. They taught me independence and survival. It was hard for me to close doors on bad relationships because I wanted to love, I wanted somebody so much and I wanted what I saw others getting. I thought something was wrong with me. I have had men that I loved the ground they walked on, beat me, mistreat me, use me, call me out my name, embarrass me, cheat on me, neglect me in all ways, disrespect me, and leave me feeling lower than low could ever be. I didn’t know my worth or love myself and I thought that I hated being alone. But most came from my bad decisions, my choices to not pray for what God’s plan for me looked like, I did my own thing!
Now I am tired of picking myself back up because God is going to allow me to go through these things over and over again until I change…
I changed the way I viewed things, I changed my woe is me, I changed my surroundings, I changed my coping methods, I changed my spirit, and changed my way of thinking and doing! I wanted a better me so I could attract better company! These changes did not happen overnight, I am still making some changes and setting boundaries but I do know that I will NEVER, EVER find myself in one-sided situations unless it’s for my KREW (Khloe, Kaden, Kasey, and Kaige), LOL!
Now reading this, you may be thinking that I am just saying closing doors to empty rooms mean eradicating yourself from people who don’t value you and you’re right, I am saying exactly that! I am also saying close the door on the negative parts of that relationship and replace it with something positive, something that will make you evolve and grow spiritually, mentally, and emotionally! It’s about finding peace and happiness in situations and setting boundaries that won’t cause any stress, depression, or anxiety. It’s about UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! It’s about getting to a point where we accept other people’s FREE WILL, the way God accepts ours, and being okay with that, still moving forward!! Love brings peace!! Be prepared to close those doors on emptiness because misery loves company!!
If you are not benefiting then it may be time to re-evaluate and determine if that relationship is worth salvaging. You know what you need, desire, and want in your relationships. Here are a few recommendations to help you decide if the relationship needs to have its door closed:
- If you are emotionally drained more than you are filled
- If it brings you anxiety, depression, and discomfort
- If you don’t feel supported, valued, and appreciated
- If the compromises and sacrifices are one-sided
- If you are the one constantly and consistently giving
- If you experience isolation and manipulation
- If you can’t share your success and feel celebrated
- If you are dismissed more than you are heard
- If they can only come to you when they need something
- If there is no mutual trust or love
- If you are abused mentally, physically, and emotionally
- Review the Serenity Prayer ( A helpful way to remember the principles of recovery)
- If they can’t be the same with you no matter the company you are in
- If their situations always are more important than your own
I truly hope that you have enjoyed this blog and I am beyond grateful that you took the time to read it!!
Katrina S. Williams