Why You Shouldn’t Burn Your Bridges… and The One Exception | Ep. #20

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Old friendships don't have to die. Its OK to be all in.

Intro: More than likely you have been in a position in your life where a relationship either needs to come to an end or has to. The way that you choose to end that relationship really shows the level of maturity that you have as a man and your willingness to be the bigger person a lot of times. And what I mean by that is you can’t control if someone else metaphorically burns that bridge. If they choose to end the relationship poorly in a way where their actions communicate that there is no opportunity for relationship in the future. But you can control how you end the relationship on your side of things. And you may say, “You know what, given the circumstances, Josh, you just don’t understand X, Y, and Z happened to me. They took advantage of me. They hurt me. They whatever me.” And I’m not saying that you need to violate your core principles or that you need to become a doormat that anyone can just walk over.

01:11 What I’m saying is you have no idea what the future has in store. And I’ve seen way too many men, out of an either a knee jerk reaction or being caught up in the moment, choose to end the relationship in a way that actually burns the bridge. It severs the ability for there to be any chance of relationship in the future. And when I say you don’t have any idea of what’s in store in the future, you may not see it now- and I’m not saying that in the future you may become best friends again if you were at one time- but you don’t know who you need in your future. And the last thing you want to do is live your life in a way where the time that you actually need someone, they’re no longer available because of the way that you chose to end a relationship.

01:59 And maybe they’re not going to be a best friend, like I said. But it might be that you have to interact with them in some degree. Or let’s say a business venture ends poorly. If you’re in the same industry, there’s a pretty good chance you may cross paths again with one another. And the question you have to ask yourself is, “Are you a big enough man to end a relationship where there’s clarity, there’s no question, there’s clear boundaries, there’s clear communication, but the heart posture is honorable and loving towards that person?” I know for me, I’ve had certain relationships, and the way that they ended left a lasting impression. It’s normally the first impression and the last impression that stands out the most. Even to the point where people that were as close as you could get to me, those relationships ended. But the way that I chose to honor them in the sense of the value that they gave to me, the good that they contributed to my life.

02:58 And literally just to say, “Thank you for the relationship we did have. And their response being, “Thank you for the kind words. Let me know if you need anything in the future. I wish you the best, goodbye.” That doesn’t mean that we are in relationship today. But what it does mean is that individual was man enough to at least keep the bridge intact. And I was man enough to do the same. And we don’t know. Someday in the future, we may need that bridge again. But if we don’t, it’s fine. It’s better to have a bridge in place that you never use again, relationally, than to burn your bridges and actually lose the ability to reconnect, if you need it. Now, you might be asking yourself, “What’s the one exception, Josh? The title said why you shouldn’t burn your bridges, but there’s one exception.” I guess I kind of fudged it just a little bit.

03:45 The one exception isn’t to burn your bridges. But using the same all or nothing mindset, I think it’s good sometimes to burn your ships. And if you know anything about history, there’s a few situations where that happened. But probably the most famous is when Cortez burned his ships all the way back in 1519. And he landed, he set the ships on fire and he did it to send a very clear message to his men that we’re not turning back. There’s no way that we can go back where we came from. And I’m all for honoring our history and working through past trauma. But sometimes that one exception is, you need to draw that hard line in the sand and not even a hard line in the sand, but you actually need to set the ship’s on fire. As in, I am not going back to that old pattern of doing X, Y, or Z.

04:39 I’m not going back to engaging in relationships that violate my identity, or take advantage of me. But you actually need to burn those ships. But you can burn your ships internally, in the sense of setting standards for yourself, and not burn the bridges of the people that may have caused you pain or disappointment. We all experience it. We all experience let down. We all experience disappointment. We all experience different times in our lives where people are closer than others. The question is, are you going to be man enough to end in a way where you are mature, loving, honoring, and willing to keep that bridge intact, not knowing what the future may have in store.

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