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  • Writer's pictureDawn Neufeld

Let Them

I'm back... or at least I'm going to make it a point to be.

I used to write/blog frequently back in the day. I started a blog years ago during the early 2000s when my ex was playing for the Buffalo Bills and I documented much of our lives. Unfortunately, when I was super thyroid sick in 2017/2018 I neglected the blog and it got hacked. It was removed and I lost most of the content with no way to restore it - absolutely broke my heart. Luckily I had printed a couple of years of posts in book form and was able to recover some of the other posts. But my blog was such an incredible outlet and it was gone.

I USED to journal all of the time too. When I was in middle school, my 8th grade English teacher would have us journal in class and the habit stuck. I still have a journal I wrote that year - it's from 1990... just 5 short years after my dad died. Having a record of intimate thoughts contemporaneously recorded is such an incredible gift... or maybe a curse?

I stopped journaling during my divorce. I'll save the whole story for another post, but one of my journals was taken. I was leaving town for work and I knew my ex was planning on "moving his stuff" out of the house. Instead, he admittedly broke into a locked cabinet the journal was in to "get his medical records" but denies taking the journal. I still have the busted cabinet in my garage and it hurts my heart to not have that journal in particular. I always wrote in detail and it was during an extremely pivotal time in my life - 2013 to 2015. Lots of changes happened during that time. It's when I suspect his infidelity started and I likely wrote about it. I was working my dream job and surely wrote about it. But I poured out my heart and soul onto those pages - and I'll never get them back, just like some of my earlier blog posts. And it's devastating.

Funny thing - maybe it was intuition, foresight, who knows... but knowing my ex was going to be in my home and knowing he'd read one of my journals years earlier and it almost cost us our relationship - I hid the rest of my journals before I left town. There are probably 30 of them. I'm sure he looked for them but had no idea I'd hidden them under the media room seats because why would he ever look there? The thought that I had to hide my belongings in my own home, my safe space, is one of the reasons I eventually installed a high-tech security system in my house. Journals are supposed to be a safe space too. Nothing felt safe during that time... so I stopped writing.

Anyway, that's just some backstory on why I'm writing this post. Journaling was too triggering. Physically putting ink to paper about the absolutely traumatic things that were happening on a day-to-day basis was too much to bear. I'd sit and look at the page and my hand would tremble as I tried to write. So I stopped. I am FINALLY at the point in my healing journey where I feel comfortable partaking in this extremely therapeutic practice again. I'm not writing this for anyone else but me - but if what I have to say speaks to someone else, then any emotions or difficulties I have to overcome to start this practice again will certainly be worth it.

I'm in Chicago this weekend for a conference put on by an organization called the Women of the NFL and SET Media. Goodness, I thought I'd be out of place. I'm not an NFL wife anymore. How could this possibly help me? But this conference has been a good friend's vision for years - it's her 7th conference and I've always wanted to attend. I don't think I realized how much I needed it, especially after these last couple of days.

I arrived in Chicago yesterday morning - I decided to come in a day early to enjoy the city. Thank goodness I did. It was in the 70s and beautiful and I walked the city for hours exploring with joy in my heart and a smile on my face. Unfortunately, my depression got triggered and I didn't get out of bed until almost 2 today. But with raindrops falling outside, I got up and went out and enjoyed the city before heading back to the hotel for tonight's opening session. And it was so powerful AND empowering.

Prior to tonight, I've wanted to repost something that has been integral in my healing journey lately. My self-esteem has been DEVASTATED over the last several years and as I continue to struggle to find my purpose and reestablish a thriving, happy, fulfilling life at almost 48, I worry at times about what people may think of me. But then I came across the "Let Them" movement and I felt the spirit of the movement tonight during the conference. The words "Let Them" will literally be my next tattoo that will be on the inside of my right wrist, complimenting the daily reminder of "have courage and be kind" on my left one.

So... what does "Let Them" mean?

I'm going to share something I read that I would've normally written in a journal - but I type faster than I write so here it goes. I hope this helps someone who may be struggling like me. I do not know who wrote this so I can't give credit where immense credit is due - but certainly will do so once I find out. I have heard Mel Robbins speak about it - not sure if these are her words. But after listening to the courageous women speak their truths at this conference tonight, I feel like I won't be able to sleep tonight if I don't "write" this down.

Let Them

Are you familiar with the "Let Them" theory?

I'll tell you the more I grow the more I am okay with accepting the "Let Them" theory in my own life and relationships. Even family can mistreat and disrespect you.

This is something that took me a very long time to learn. I used to tolerate a lot because I didn't want to lose people. I learned the hard way if they were really my people they would never treat me like that. Don't make the mistake of being so understanding and forgiving that you overlook the fact that you're being repeatedly disrespected.

Let them be upset.

Let them judge you.

Let them misunderstand you.

Let them gossip about you.

Let them ignore you.

Let them be "right."

Let them doubt you.

Let them not like you.

Let them not speak to you.

Let them run your name in the ground.

Let them make you out to be the villain.

Whatever it is that people want to say about you, let them!

Kindly step aside and LET THEM.

The hard truth is they know how much they are hurting you. They just simply don't care. They did it knowing it would cause them to lose you. They did it anyway. People that love you care about how they make you feel.

The end.

Let them go.

There will be people that would rather lose you than be honest about what they've done to you. Let them go.

The lack of respect was the closure. The lack of apology was the closure. The lack of care was the closure. The lack of accountability was the closure. The lack of honesty was the closure. Let them go.

Make a decision to no longer sit at tables where you might the topic when you get up. Let them go.

You can still be kind. You can even still love them deeply. But do it from the distance they created in their words and actions. Access to you is a privilege they have proven they can't be trusted with. Let them go.

You don't need to tell your side of the story. God already knows. Let God fight the battle for you. Let them go.

It's taken me a long time to get here. Sleepless nights, countless tears, managing a range of emotions filled with anger, disappointment, confusion and deep hurt. Lots of self-reflection, self-preservation, deep prayer and seeking wisdom from those much wiser than me.

If you are struggling with this please know you are not alone. We will never understand why hurt people hurt people. But we can do the hard work to grow ourselves. Because healed people do, in fact, heal people.

Don't you dare let them steal your joy.

Don't you dare let them steal your light.

Don't you dare let them steal your peace.

You are in control of that.

Hold tight to what you can control and release your grip on what you can't control.

Let. Them. Go.

Thank you God for this extraordinary life.

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Thank you for your blog. This will indeed help many and how amazing you are to share your personal journey. You are a star whom I admire. Look forward to your blogs.

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