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Being the carrier of relationships is too heavy, so I’m lovingly setting it down.

I’m the caller, the planner, the let’s get together-er. I remember birthdays, anniversaries, even old landline numbers. It’s a gift, and sometimes it’s a curse.

Relationships are and always have been very important to me, but carrying a good majority of them just gets so tiring. I love my people. Fiercely. I think of them, both big and little things that would make them happy—a gift for no reason, a compliment out of nowhere. I’m protectivethe first to stick up for a friend (especially if they aren’t around to stick up for themselves). I’m the same friend to your face as behind your back. I see the best in my people no matter what.

RELATED: Stop Wasting Energy On Toxic Friendship

This level of love and loyalty is something I’m proud of, but it’s also a major investment of my energy and time, and most importantly, my heart. I’m realizing I’m too old and life is too short for relationships where there are “too many withdrawals and not enough deposits” as they say. I can’t continue to give to those who don’t give to me, and I can’t continue to be blindly loyal to those who aren’t giving that back.

So, something I’m tryingmatching the effort and energy of those I love with love. No hard feelings, but if someone reaches out to me, I can also continue reaching out. If I’m in a situation in which I’m going to stick up for a friend, I need to assess: will they do the same thing for me? If not, I will lovingly match that energy and save my heart and time. It isn’t tit-for-tat, it’s a feeling, a vibe, simply assessing where my love is reciprocated and matched and focusing my energy there.

In focusing so much past energy on building relationships and building others up, I have neglected a very important person . . . myself. Never sitting in solitude deprived me of discovering what else I like besides helping others. What lifts me up, other than my relationships? My horse. Photography. My dogs. Writing. All these things were taking a backseat to relationships because maintaining one-sided relationships, quite frankly, is a ton of time and work.

RELATED: A Good Friend Doesn’t Make You Question Where You Stand With Her

In loving myself, I can offer a better me to others. In making room for that, I must set down the burden of relationships that don’t mirror back that same effort. Sometimes doing this is uncomfortable, sometimes I slip back into “If I don’t reach out and plan something with this family member, will it be years before I see them again?” In these moments I remind myself that may be the case, but it’s not my sole responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen. With love, by giving up the weight of carrying everything, I’m gaining energy for myself, my happiness, and even deeper relationships with those who reciprocate the love I give.

For those nodding along, I encourage you to try it. Growth is uncomfortable, but happiness, and peace, and honestly, a greater sense of self-respect is so worth it. I’m rooting for you.

Woman smiling next to horse, black and white photo
Krystal Sieben
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Krystal Sieben

Hi, I'm Krystal. Minnesota wife and mom of three great kids, three rescue dogs, and a Fjord horse named Syver. Former middle school teacher turned nonprofit director. A chance meeting with a special horse changed my path, and I now run Three Little Burdes Nonprofit. Our goal is to provide adults and children of all abilities with an introduction to ponies and horses. Check us out! http://www.instagram.com/three_little_burdes

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