A Delicate Matter

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A Delicate Matter

“You share with people who earn the right to hear your story.” Dr. Brene Brown

It’s a delicate matter. It really is.

I really don’t know how to proceed. As I consider my options, a lot is coming up for me and  I keep hearing the words “earned the right” in my head over and over again.

I agree with those who say we have people in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. As a person who heavily vests myself in those who cross my path, I don’t always like this. As someone who doesn’t want to let go, who wants to stay in the thick of it and work things out, I’m beginning to accept this truth. I’m slowly becoming more at peace with the idea that some people are just reason/season folks and that it’s o.k. It’s really o.k.

Because the bottom line is that not everyone has “earned the right” to hear my truth. Not everyone gets to call me on my bullshit. I don’t always have to work through it or hash it out.

It’s a delicate matter. It really is.

I really don’t know how to proceed. I’m really not sure how one sets the criteria to determine who has earned the right. I’m really not sure how one decides when enough is enough.

I know that for me it’s been a complicated and convoluted journey. I do have a few breaking points, but mostly I’ve had too many spongy boundaries; too many second and third and one thousand and ninety-eighth chances. I’m getting better. I know that at the end of the day the only person who I can save/change is me. I believe that being honest and standing firm in my truth is the best I can do on any day. It’s the best any of us can do.

Because the bottom line is that not everyone wants or needs to be saved (especially by me). People really need to be given the time and the space and the freedom to own their journey, to walk their path, and work out their own issues at their own pace.

It’s a delicate matter. It really is.

I really don’t know how to proceed. My heart is filled with love and respect. I am here and I will stay. I will continue to show up, to be loving, and to be present. I hope that I have earned the right to hear the truth, to call bullshit, and to be part of the conversation as it’s worked through and hashed out.

Because the bottom line is that we need to make sure that the people we allow in our lives have the highest and best intentions for us. We each deserve to be surrounded by people who love and accept us. People who support us. People willing to hold space for us.

It’s a delicate matter. It really is.

I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I say the wrong things. I do the wrong things. All. The. Time. I ask myself…When I mess up do I make up? Do I apologize? Do I try to fix it? I mean really try to fix it. Or do I arrogantly cleave to my right to be right?

Because the bottom line is that we need realize that while love is unconditional relationships aren’t. Ever. Relationships have conditions and boundaries. Relationships require mutual trust and respect. Always. Relationships require compassion and empathy and time and space.

We earn the right to be in relationships one word, one gesture, one kindness, and one apology at a time.

It’s a delicate matter. It really is.


  1. It really *IS* a delicate matter. As a person who hates confrontation and has a hard time setting boundaries, I have allowed detrimental to downright abusive people to stay in my life far too long. My learning curve is not quite as steep as it used to be; I believe I am getting better at listening to that little voice in my head when it tells me it is time to let go. Like everything else in this life, it’s a process. As always, my love and and best wises are with you as you make your own decisions.

    • It is a process and I’m glad you believe your getting better at listening to your inner voice. That is good, good stuff. For me the focus is on being sure that I’m earning the right to be in the relationship and allowing others to do the same. I want those I interact with to feel my deep love and know that I honor and respect them and that I will accept no less in return. As long as we’re moving forward (regardless of the speed), it’s all good…very, very good.

  2. Beautiful piece of writing, Denise. It IS a delicate matter, it REALLY is. Recently I have been grappling with who exactly gets to read my “untold” stories. You know, the vulnerable ones with a capital V. The ones you don’t want your husband or your mother or your sister, or ANY family member for that matter, to read. I have been longing for a container for that writing and as the universe would have it, the container appeared. In the company of strangers I write. And write, And write. Thank YOU, for writing so boldly here and for so consistently witnessing “my” words. We have earned that right, yes?

  3. Denise,
    Well said! I grappled with the same issue last year, and I had to learn to let go. Looking back, as hard as it was to do, and as hard as it was to lose the friendship I thought I had, I survived md came out a better self on the other side. That person was a reason/season for me, and I am a better person for it because now I know my limits and boundaries. Keep forging forward. It’s all we can do, isn’t it?

  4. I love your blog and what you do Denise! As part of B School, I’m starting back up with my writing workshops too 🙂 Did you just jump right in or did you do much research planning first? So nice to meet you!

  5. It truly is a delicate matter. Thank you for the reminder that love is unconditional but relationships aren’t. Well said!

  6. Oh, Denise, I love the reminder—to the reader and to yourself—that it is a delicate matter. Yes, very much so. I’ve been grappling with a difficult relationship for a while and yes indeed, it’s a delicate matter. But I listen to my inner voice more and more it shows me the way.I am not perfect and no relationship is, but some we feel better in, while others wear us down. A delicate balance. A delicate matter.

  7. Denise, I suffer from spongy boundaries, too, and your post gave me courage to be selective. You’re 110% right — relationships are conditional (hadn’t thought of that before) — many of the “conditions” I’ve been operating under (or tolerating) were set by others. Time to be kind to myself. Thank you.

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