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Michelle Lara / April 22, 2015

Giving Up The ‘Just Ifs’ In Your Relationships


Earlier this week I saw a video clip on my Facebook feed from Jaime Primak Sullivan {you might remember her from Bravo’s Jersey Belle} and I had a “Yes GIRL, tell it!” moment.

She was talking about the “justs” that we deal with in our relationships and how letting that go is freeing. The “justs” are basically everything you think the other person could and should be doing differently – if my husband “just” helped me more with the laundry {guess what he’s the same person he was 12 years ago I need to JUST let that go}.

I can relate on so many levels with this, it was a long road for me to get to a point where I could let go of the expectations I held for the people I love the most. My late twenties were a real challenge, we had relocated to South Florida with our then three year old son – moving to another state is never easy, for one thing making new friends is tough add on a cranky preschooler and forget about it. Professionally, I had to take a step back and reinvent myself.

This was a time in my life where I was riddled with self doubt and worry. During this time my most cherished relationships were starting to feel like a one way street and I was becoming bitter. I was playing the “just if” game daily in my head and it was consuming me.

I was having the hardest time with my mom, she was moving around a lot and was in a bad relationship. Her life wasn’t as stable as I wanted it to be and I could see she wasn’t happy. Each time we spoke I grew more anxious and frustrated. I could easily see what the fix was {she should “just” end her miserable relationship and move closer to me}.

It got to a point that we had a falling out and didn’t speak for about two months. Not speaking to her made me feel even worse. My good friend Janet gave me what is quite possibly the best advice I’ve ever received – you can continue to chase this idea of what you want the relationship to be and never be happy or you can accept your mother for who she is and meet her there. It sounds so simple but for some reason at the age of thirty that advice resonated deeply.

I imagined picking up the phone calling my mom enjoying her sense of humor and leaving it at that – was that even possible? It absolutely was. As an adult I had the power to define what this relationship was going to be, sitting with the knowledge of this was liberating.

I’d call, we’d chat and there was no plan beyond that. I wasn’t going to get fixated on the details of her life {as a matter of fact I made it my business to not ask} so when things got touchy or stressful I’d quickly {but politely} end the conversation.

Once the expectations I had flew out the window I was able to enjoy my mom for who she is. Silencing all that noise I was creating allowed room to grow closer and to build up our relationship. It’s been close to five years since that rough patch and we are now closer than ever.  Is everything picture perfect absolutely not, but it’s not my job to run her life or assume what is best for her.

I’ve applied this to every relationship I have and I’m able to enjoy my friends, family and colleagues MUCH better. I meet them where they are and enjoy what they bring to the table just as they are.

Sometimes this means not talking as often and that’s OK because life really is about quality and not quantity.

Most of my relationships are still a work in progress – usually the most valuable relationships need to be tweaked as we go along, and accepting that is truly freeing!

Giving Up The Just Ifs In Your Relationships | Cupcakes, Cocktails & Kids





  • Teresa Gonzalez

    Wow Michelle this is amazing. Your whole blog and website are simply amazing! I love your transparency but even more listening to your journey as it is very inspiring to me. I too have learned that life is about quality and not quantity… I am very thankful and blessed that we are in class together. I pray many blessings for you and your family.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read my post and for your wonderful comments! I’m so happy we’re taking a class together, it really resets my week it’s been amazing! God bless! xoxo

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