As time passes, I am increasingly selective with how and with whom I spend it. A few years ago, though, guilt directed my behavior and led me into situations that were not only unwanted, but did not even feel right. Now I am guided by the pursuit of peace. My choices are not always understood or even appreciated, but it is more important to be honest than to gain approval. It is better to be healthy than pleasing. It is more beneficial to be at peace rather than nurse confusion. Has it been easy? Not always, but the alternative, taking time and attention away from those who have proven that they have my best interests at heart and support all of me, is not fair nor desired. My life is much more full, free, and pleasant since I've intentionally nurtured sustaining relationships instead of trying to force life into draining ones.
Your relationships are vital. They can usher in life's best. They can provide support, encouragement, belonging, consistency, affection, joy, laughter, safety, security, companionship, and love. Alternatively, unhealthy relationships can reduce life's best by bringing in anxiety, distress, uncertainty, stress, heartache, disappointment, jealousy, conflict, and hatred. History is not enough. A bloodline is not enough. The presumed absence of guilt is not enough. Good intentions are not enough. The fear of being alone is not enough. None of those are enough to prevent you from ushering in life's best by way of the people that you allow into your space.
Whether with relatives, friends, or friends who choose to be family, it is both your responsibility and privilege to distinguish which relationships bring you life and which ones diminish it. Once you make that determination, you owe it to yourself to feed healthy relationships and not permit the unhealthy ones to consume you.