Go to any motivational IG page and you're sure to find a quote or five about the power of cutting toxic people out of your life. And anyone who has successfully done so will get why--it's empowering, liberating, and gets easier over time. But while it's normal for some friendships and romances to fizzle out after a while, it's also unavoidable to connect with someone you end up having a life-changing falling out with. By the time you're in your 30s, everyone has baggage--what matters is how you deal with yours.
If you've recently reconnected with someone who's hurt you in the past, you shouldn't feel guilty about wanting them back in your life. It's okay to acknowledge that missed you them, but before you open your heart up again, here are ways to know they're worth being given a second shot:
They've owned up to their past mistakes
And addressed what led to them in the first place. "Basta, sorry na" is never a good enough apology in any situation--be it at work, in a marriage, or amongst friends. A person who has truly matured is someone who has carefully reflected on his past and is brave enough to acknowledge his mistakes. "Sorry on its own is like a balloon without a string," says Jane Greer, Ph.D. on Women's Health. "It needs to be tied to him explaining how he hurt you... The apology is just the beginning. The first thing it needs to be packaged with is an explanation of what exactly he's apologizing for."
When they've made amends with everyone else they've hurt
Sometimes, when a toxic person knows they need you, they'll say anything you want to hear in order to get you back--an apology, compliments, and false promises. On the other hand, someone who has learned from his mistakes will have tried to redeem himself not just to you but to his friends and family. Don't hesitate to do a "background check" and reach out to common friends. Remember, consistency is key.
If you've moved on from the trauma they caused
Don't forgive someone who hurt you just because you feel bad for them. Take the time to heal and forgive only when you're ready. "Forgiveness puts the final seal on what happened that hurt you," says Andrea Brandt, Ph.D, on Psychology Today. "You will still remember what happened, but you will no longer be bound by it. Having worked through the feelings and learned what you need to do to strengthen your boundaries or get your needs met, you are better able to take care of yourself in the future."
When you trust yourself not to spiral down with them if they do
Letting someone back in your life will always be a risk. That said, your loyalty shouldn't be based on how someone else makes you behave--you're responsible for your own actions. Know your limits, so that when someone you love goes overboard, you can be a strong support and pull them back in.
If you see them growing in other aspects of their life
Do you ever notice how the good things that happen in your life often come in waves? That's because, as a feature on Medium notes, "Habits run our lives. Who you are and what you can accomplish depends largely on routines and behaviors. You are either getting better and becoming the best version of yourself or getting [worse] every day."