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There can often be this unrealistic expectation placed on relationships to provide the love and nurture lacked in childhood, previous relationships, etc. Relationships used to fill a void are often handled carelessly and viewed as disposable — especially in the era of “cancel culture.” So why choose someone who can’t give you the relationship, love and attention you feel you deserve?

Often there is a misconstrued ideology of self-worth — as if it stops with you. And at times it’s hard to realize when you are placing value in self and actually removing value from those who don’t live up to your unrealistic expectations. It’s detrimental because it can be awhile before you even notice the damage that is done to your relationships.

Relationships are a tough balancing act and they certainly aren’t one-sided. In addition, relationships go through many seasons. There will be seasons when you are together 24/7, and there will be seasons where you barely see each other but know those short text conversations are the most heartfelt and genuine. The reality is maintaining positive relationships are important, as they often lead to success in many areas. People can connect you to other people, ideas and opportunities — but if your relationship is not on the right path, all that goes out the window. Truthfully, all people matter in the relationship — and they all are valuable and deserving.

Let’s just face it: relationships aren’t for us to control — just as much as people aren’t ours to control. We determined that officially on Juneteenth 1865. I also love and live by Lauren London’s quote about Nipsey Hussle, “You can’t possess people, you experience them.” This is the greater understanding that all relationships are an experience we are just within — we can’t control it. It is merely impossible to control what the other person/people in the relationship are going through, how they respond and how it affects us — we just simply experience it.

What we do with those experiences is what makes or breaks the relationship. Are we being mindful and understanding of the experience? Or are we weighing the experience to our misconstrued ideology of our individual value? Are we extending grace and understanding in our relationships? Or are we being detrimental to relationships due to not meeting unrealistic expectations?

We know that all relationships aren’t worth salvaging. Sometimes, we outgrow people, places and things. We’ve all been there. It certainly can be traumatic to end relationships, which can in turn cause us to develop these certain ideologies or expectations. However, do we truly want to operate in hypervigilance, preventing beautiful relationships due to past experiences? Operating out of fear is a mindset, and with work it can be shifted.

Below are some ways I began shifting my mindset, to become more mindful in my relationships. It helps me release the unnecessary expectations that I not only put on others, but myself. It has not only been beneficial to my relationships, but has aided in my personal journey of healing and understanding as well.