I think life is a lot of losing parts or purposely shedding parts of oneself and then finding new pieces to replace, hopefully for the better, but not always. Sometimes we pick up toxic pieces. In that case, hopefully we notice or someone we trust gently points out to us that that might not be such a good piece....... and then we remove it, take the time we need to examine it from every angle before we can let it go. Then we walk around with an empty space for a while until we find the next appealing piece.
A problem comes in when someone else in your life wants to be the one to choose the pieces for you. I have found that this does not happen unless it's a parent or until I've known someone for quite a while and have gone way beyond the point of confiding secrets, sometimes fun, sometimes serious with one another. Out of misplaced loyalty to them, I accepted those pieces and really tried to make triangles fit into smaller circles. That was painful! I thought I was being a loyal friend. I didn't realize until it was too late that when a person expects you to put up with the discomfort of forcing things to fit on his/her behalf and it ends up hurting you, that it is flat out manipulation. We all think we can identify manipulation when we see it and most of us probably can. However, when we find ourselves in a deeply emotional relationship, it can often be much harder to recognize, accept, let alone break away from.
There have been exactly two times where I have been absolutely heartbroken over the closest friendships both online and in person that I have ever had. Yes, had. I found the strength within myself to finally walk away from one and just let the other one fizzle out which took emotional strength because I was the glue holding both of those friendships together all along. Windy will call, Windy will show up, Windy will adjust, Windy will understand when I break a promise, Windy will forgive when I am too harsh, Windy will write, I'll see Windy at work and we'll have a blast ......... yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Until Windy stops because she is tired of holding all those pieces together. None of that was easy -- in fact, it was hell, and it broke my friendship spirit for many years. I loved both of those women deeply, but I couldn't self-sacrifice with them any longer. I am not invincible, rejection hurts, but I'd be lying if I said that my pulling completely away didn't feel just a little bit good after it was all said and done. Not out of revenge -- out of self respect and realizing my worth.
Choose good friends. Choose them wisely. Choose the ones who hand you a piece of themselves and ask, "Does this fit into your life? Do I fit? " You'll know it's a good friendship when those pieces mostly fit..... both ways......... and when they don't, each of you is willing to put in the work to trim the pieces together and make them comfortably fit the great puzzle of your lives. When you find yourself able to truly be yourself, then you have succeeded in "being true to yourself" while being a really good friend at the same time.
**Adding this because of the comments of concern: I am fine..... these hurts were past tense.... many years ago, but I have not forgotten the lessons I learned. I figured many of us could relate in some way.*