I HAVE what is known as a three strike rule when it comes to people and keeping them in my life.
It's not a rule that is set in stone, but it goes a little bit like this...
Hurt me once, and I'll forgive you.
Hurt me twice, and I'll forgive you. But I'll consider your behaviour more carefully.
Hurt me three times, and I'll forgive you. But I will then remove myself from your life.
Sometimes the three times rule increases to four or five times, depending on how much I love or care for someone. Other times, it decreases too.
But this is mostly how I roll when it comes to life, love and people making mistakes.
Do you think it's harsh? Some of you may do I guess.
Or do you think it's too forgiving? I know some may move on much quicker than I do.
Either way, I have to tell you, this little ol' rule of mine works pretty well for me.
Years ago, I found it very difficult to say goodbye to anyone. I'm a hoper, a believer, a carer, you see.
I look for the good in people, even in the worst kind of people. Even in the ones who don't probably deserve it.
Which is lovely in many ways, but as I've learned over the years, it can also be a very painful place to willingly put and keep yourself in.
Because when you forgive people too many times, for too many awful things, life becomes chaotic, drama-filled, cruel and upsetting.
It does you no good. And it does you a hell of a lot of harm.
It takes over your thoughts. It crushes your spirit. It damages your heart.
Sometimes, as I have painfully learned, there is often no other choice than to walk away.
No matter how much you love people.
No matter how much you like them.
It's about self preservation you see. If people are hurting you, you have to protect yourself.
It's your right to protect yourself. And it's a must. Because if you can't protect yourself and set the bar for others on how to treat you, who else will?
So yes, it's taken me a very long time to realise that it is OK for me to say goodbye to people. That it's OK to walk away from the drama, the bitching, the negativity or nastiness.
That whilst many mistakes can - and should be- forgiven, many others shouldn't and can't.
Over the past few years, in my enlightened 'I'm not taking anymore of this s**t' state', I've walked away from friends who have treated me in less than friendly ways.
I've left jobs where I felt unappreciated and undervalued.
I've called time on working with clients who didn't respect my expertise or pay me on time.
And I've limited contact with people, many of whom I have loved dearly.
It hasn't been easy.
Often I've struggled and agonised for weeks over the decision, losing sleep in the process.
Sometimes I've walked away effortlessly, without even a backwards glance.
Other times I've hung around and stayed a little longer than I should have, hoping for a minor miracle. Hoping that someone may prove me wrong.
But eventually, the light has dawned on me and when necessary and when ready, I have removed myself from someone's life. With no fuss and no drama.
I wish them well, up sticks and disappear.
And even though it's often been painful, walking away from people and situations, has helped to be the making of me.
Because let me tell you, when you walk away from friends who don't deserve that title, you make room for new friends to enter your life.
When you walk away from work places that don't value you, you place a higher value on yourself and your self belief flourishes.
When you walk away from loved ones who treat you badly, you're telling them and the world that you deserve better. That you've got standards. That you deserve more.
And it's incredibly freeing.
It makes you feel powerful and strong. And, it makes you so much happier.
We all mistakes. I know this, more than most.
And I'm a firm believer that people definitely deserve second chances - sometimes even third or fourth chances - if they're sorry or hurting or in a hell of a pickle.
To forgive and forget is a kind, loving and wonderful thing to do.
But when that fails?
When you find yourself in agony because of the way someone is treating you or you find yourself under attack?
Well, the only thing you can do, indeed the very best thing you can do, for YOU, is to pack up your loving bags and walk away with your head held high.
It's necessary, it's needed, it's self loving and let me tell you, it's more than a little OK.