In a perfect world, we could all live in peace and harmony without feeling stressed or hurt but, as you know, that’s not always realistic. There will be people in our lives who have hurt us and who, despite attempts to repair the relationship, will continue to create chaos and pain. In those situations, we may have to make decisions based solely on our own needs and protecting ourselves.

If you’ve ever had to cut someone out of your life, you know that it can be a difficult process. You may even feel guilty for needing space but you shouldn’t. Making yourself a priority and committing to growing as a person is one of the most important things you can do.

This does not mean you don’t care about the person you’ve had conflict with. You can still commit to loving them unconditionally—even from a distance.  

Set Up Boundaries

We’ve all heard the saying, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If you’ve been stuck in a dysfunctional pattern with someone and nothing has improved, you can expect that it will continue to be unhealthy until one or both of you makes a change.

Unless the situation is too volatile, you can let the other party know that you need a break. Explain the level of contact that is and is not acceptable and then do what you have to do. This may involve blocking them from your devices and accounts, changing locks, or more. Beyond that, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking the necessary steps to ensure your mental, emotional and physical safety.

Find Acceptance

As things settle down, you may find yourself feeling disbelief at all that has transpired. This can be especially jarring if your relationship with this person was once a happy one. Any sudden change can be hard but it’s crucial that you not hide from it.

Instead of burying your head in the sand, look at the situation with open eyes and courage. Be honest about the hurtful things that transpired on all sides. Allow the realization that a negative pattern serves no one and accept that this relationship, in its current state, needs to end. Then, you can begin to rebuild.

Meditate on Loving Kindness

If you want to reach a place of love and forgiveness, you will probably have to start small. A good strategy is to try loving kindness meditation. There are apps such as Insight Timer that have guided sessions you can follow to work on this.

Basically, you work towards sending the other person positivity. The goal is to be able to say something like “may you be happy, may you be well and may you live in peace” and actually mean it. Hating and wishing bad things upon them will not make you feel better—you’ll just be hanging onto anger and resentment.

In the end, the goal of distancing yourself from someone is to break away from the negativity associated with that relationship. Sending someone who hurt you love and forgiveness will set you free.

You might believe that holding a grudge is necessary but staying stuck in that holding pattern will only hurt you. By forgiving someone, you’re not condoning their behavior, you’re simply saying that you will no longer carry around the pain associated with it. Imagine having that weight off your shoulders!

Instead of letting this relationship rob you of your happiness, turn your focus to more positive things. Find the silver linings, practice gratitude and surround yourself with loving, supportive people. No matter what has happened in the past, you deserve happiness. The choice is yours.