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To all the toxic friendships I've let go: I thank you

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To all the toxic friendships that I’ve let go, please know that I needed to let you go. For me. For my mental health. You weren’t good for me.

Things weren’t always toxic, and those times were always wonderful. I will always cherish and value those moments.

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It’s been many years since I’ve thought of you, and I need you to know that I’m not sorry for saying goodbye.

However, I wanted to thank you.

Thank you for helping to mold me into the person I am today; I am stronger because of you.

Thank you for kicking me when I was down. You taught me resilience and strength. You taught me that no matter how many times I would get knocked down, I would always get back up. You taught me that when things looked grim and at their worst, they would always get better.

Thank you for bullying me. You taught me how to have thick skin. You taught me to love myself. You taught me that words, no matter how hurtful they are, are just words. You taught me that at the end of the day, when I look in the mirror, the girl staring back at me is beautiful. You taught me confidence, and how to believe in myself. You taught me how to overcome and rise above.

Thank you for telling me that I’ll never amount to anything. You taught me to fight for what I believe in. You taught me that I am capable of anything, and can be anything I wanted to be. You taught me hard work and dedication. You taught me to never give up on my dreams. You taught me perseverance and that great things come to those that put in the effort.

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Thank you for never being there for me, when I needed you. You taught me what it means to be a great friend. You taught me that while I needed you, I was so strong on my own. You taught me the importance of friendship. You taught me what to not look for in a friend. You taught me that while it is vital to depend on our closest friends, it is most important to depend on ourselves first.

Thank you for wishing misery on me. You taught me how to be happy. You taught me to cherish every moment of every day. You taught me to never take anything for granted, even the smallest things. You taught me to slow down and absorb the world around me.

Thank you for showing me your true colors. You taught me that it’s okay to have your guard up, and to put that guard down when I’m ready. You taught me to be cautious, without shutting down completely. You taught me that it’s okay to not dive in headfirst.

Even though I’m not sorry that I let you go, I am sorry for you.

You hurt me, because you are hurting.

I wanted to be there for you; to help you, to be a friend that you needed.

No matter how many times you hurt me, I never wanted to hurt you.

Ever.

I only wanted to be a friend to you. To be a shoulder for you to cry on. To not speak, but to listen.

People said I was silly for wasting my time with you. Apparently, they could see the handwriting on the wall long before I could. Maybe I didn’t want to admit that you were toxic. Maybe I found some small figment of joy in being with you.

Something must have brought us together in the first place, but I don’t know what happened to bring us to this point.

I wish I knew.

I also want you to know that although it’s been so many years, I hope that you are happy today.

I hope that you have found peace and solace with your pain. I hope that you are no longer hurting. I hope that you have also overcome and rose above, just like you taught me to do.

I hope that you are happy with all aspects of your life.

I want you to know that I do not hold any anger towards you. If anything, I always felt sympathy for you. It took me becoming an adult, to truly understand why things turned out the way that they did.

However, I want you to know that I went on to achieve great successes. I graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree. I’ve worked damn hard in every job I have ever had. I am happily married today with a beautiful son.

I want you to know that I plan on teaching him all of the things you taught me.

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He will understand that it is normal to let go of toxic friendships and toxic people. He will understand that people hurt other people, because they, themselves, are hurting.

He will understand empathy.

He will understand what it means to be a true friend. He will understand the power of words and their impact.

He will be strong and resilient, in every facet of his life.

Above all else, though, he will overcome and rise above.

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