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  • Writer's pictureTai John

Build, Don't Burn

Man, let me tell you about this broad named Time, as of lately she has been of the essence and sis has been trippin’ because she has not been as valued as she should. Amongst many things the Pandemic did, one thing it did for sure was boosted her confidence, & sis has been making it loud and clear that she is precious and should not be taken for granted by any means. One minute sis will allow you to live your best life and the next she’ll snatch that right back and make you as visible as Casper.

Admittedly, I forgot to treat Time as she deserves. I forget to be in the moment rather than focus on things that have yet to come to fruition. Sometimes (rarely) I forget to reach out to my tribe or specific people to simply check-in, or I dismiss people altogether for how they made me feel, lack of reciprocating energy, or for how things went left when I desired for them to go right without making an effort to make it clear to them why.

I am learning more so that there has to be a balance between Time and her second cousin Boundaries. What I mean by that is when it comes to relating to others and forming relationships of any kind, I first need to accept people for exactly who they present themselves to me as. Because one thing I have known to be true is people's true colors will always surface whether they are upfront with it at the beginning, middle, or end of a relationship, but they indeed will come to light. I have to be open to seeing it and accepting it, seeing it and creating boundaries, or seeing it and knowing that I rightfully need to burn this bridge and any ties altogether.

If you have yet to catch on, that's where the title of this post comes from, Build, Don't Burn. It's all about learning and having the understanding and awareness of WHEN to build boundaries and WHEN OR WHEN NOT to burn bridges with individuals, and what warrants said decision. One thing to be aware of regarding the people that come and go on your journey through life is that they each serve a special purpose for different stages in your life. Some individuals are there to teach you lessons and some individuals are there to give you blessings. Either way, those individuals and the experiences that you had or did not have helped shape and mold you into who you are today. There's a verbal or nonverbal thank you that goes out to those individuals and experiences because, in some way, shape, or form, you are who you are, and you do the things that you do because of said individuals and experiences.

Now when I say build, don't burn, some of you are probably thinking I am loco en la Cabeza and encouraging you to keep toxic individuals in your lives, but that's not what I am saying at all. What I am actually saying is we all have the power to define our relationships. So if there is/are individual(s) in your life who have hurt you (mentally, physically, emotionally), deceived you, not followed through on an agreement or commitment, lied to you, stole from you (in any way), cheated on you (in any way), the list goes on and on, but you get the idea, this may be means for boundaries to be created rather than bridges & ties to be burned.

Boundaries can look different to everyone, but here are some possible boundaries that can be set for individuals that have committed any of the offenses mentioned prior or then some.

  • Removing the individual(s) from your contact list and social media altogether.

  • Be mindful of how much or how little you share with the said individual(s).

  • Not spending time with the said individual(s) alone, only in group settings, or not at all, period.

  • Not engaging with the said individual(s) unnecessarily but only if/when you absolutely need to, and if you do, have a cordial and calm mannerism and overall demeanor and air about you.

  • Being assertive with the said individual(s) about your wants and needs in a manner that is respectful to you both. --If the said individual(s) aren't receptive or understanding of your needs and wants then UNDERSTAND THAT THEY WERE NOT MEANT TO UNDERSTAND YOU & DO NOT RESPECT YOU OR THE RELATIONSHIP. IT'S TIME TO LEAVE THEM WHERE THEY ARE AT.

  • Creating distance between you & said individual(s) and however that looks for you whether that be related to the living situation, work situation (whether you work with them or have to see them, etc.

  • Forgiving said individual(s) in silence and never speaking to them again.

  • Knowing the difference between being understanding and letting said individual(s) slide with toxic or disrespectful actions or behaviors.

  • Accepting people as they are and placing them where they belong in or out of your life respectfully.

  • Letting people go when they show you the signs that they do not want to be there in any way, shape, or form. Actions aligning or not aligning with words stated shows how someone truly feels about you.

  • What else is a boundary that you believe needs to be set with the individual(s) in your life?

As far as burning goes, I am not here to encourage you not to burn bridges that rightfully need to be burned to the ground, but more so to encourage you to be aware and mindful of the individuals you have in your life. You know the saying, show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are, right along with that comes you taking the time to be mindful of your circle and reevaluating some of the relationships and whether boundaries need to be put in place or the bridge needs to be burned respectfully. Lastly, be mindful of burning people out of your lives and the reason you are doing it (why), therefore you never know when you may need that person in some way again or when they will revisit you in your life, if at all. Mindfulness, awareness, and the essence of time spent are the keys to deciding whether to build or burn.

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