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In recent months, I have had countless conversations with school nurse colleagues who are struggling with continuing in our profession. It has led me to seek resources to share because I am also on “the struggle bus,” and seeking relief through actionable tools. My recent blog post, Cultivating “Active Hope,” is part of a series of articles that focus on our well-being. 

Have you ever heard of  Mel Robbins and her “Let Them” theory? It’s a powerful concept that can transform how you handle challenging relationships. It is geared towards personal and family relationships, but I am applying the concepts to a school setting. As school nurses, we often find ourselves dealing with staff or administrators who may mistreat or disrespect us. The more I grow in this profession, the more I find peace in embracing this approach in my interactions with colleagues.

The Pain of Realization

For a long time, I tolerated unprofessional behavior and disrespect from colleagues and administrators because I didn’t want to create conflict or lose my job. I believed that being understanding and forgiving would maintain harmony in the workplace. However, I learned the hard way that true professionals and colleagues who value you will always respect your role and contributions.

The Power of Letting Go

Here’s the essence of the “Let Them” theory applied to our work environment:

Let them be upset.

Let them judge you.

Let them misunderstand you.

Let them gossip about you.

Let them ignore you.

Let them be “right.”

Let them doubt you.

Let them not like you.

Let them not speak to you.

Let them undermine your work.

Let them make you out to be difficult.

Whatever it is that people want to say or think about you, let them! Kindly step aside and let them. This doesn’t mean you’re passive or indifferent to unfair treatment; it means you’re choosing to prioritize your peace and well-being over their negativity.

Understanding Their Actions

The harsh reality is that those who mistreat you often know exactly what they’re doing—they just don’t care. They act this way despite knowing it could lead to workplace conflict or a toxic environment, and they do it anyway. Colleagues who respect you genuinely care about how their actions affect you. If they don’t, it’s a clear sign they don’t deserve your emotional energy.

Finding Closure

Closure doesn’t always come from an apology or an explanation. Sometimes, the lack of respect, apology, care, accountability, and honesty is the closure. It’s the realization that they would rather maintain their ego or authority than acknowledge their mistakes. When you understand this, it becomes easier to let them go and move forward.

Setting Boundaries

You can still be kind and professional, but from a distance that their words and actions have created. Access to your collaboration and goodwill is a privilege, one that they have proven they cannot be trusted with. You don’t need to defend yourself or tell your side of the story. Let your integrity and dedication speak for you. Let them go.

The Journey to Acceptance

It took me a long time to reach this point. Countless sleepless nights, tears, and a rollercoaster of emotions—anger, disappointment, confusion, and deep hurt—accompanied my journey. Through self-reflection, self-preservation, and seeking wisdom from mentors and peers, I am finding my way.

If you’re struggling with this, know that you are not alone. We may never fully understand why some colleagues behave the way they do, but we can commit to our growth and professionalism. Healed people do indeed heal people, and as nurses, we are naturally inclined towards healing.

Guarding Your Joy and Peace

Don’t let anyone steal your joy, light, or peace. These are within your control. Hold tight to what you can control and release your grip on what you can’t. Embrace the “Let Them” theory, and let go of those who do not respect you.

The “Let Them” theory is not about giving up or being passive. It’s about recognizing your worth, setting healthy boundaries, and protecting your inner peace. It’s about understanding that some people are not meant to be supportive colleagues, and that’s okay. Let them go, and make room for those who truly appreciate and respect your vital role in the school community.

This theory is a testament to personal growth and resilience. By embracing it, you allow yourself the freedom to thrive without the weight of others’ negativity. Letting them go is not a loss, but a gain for your mental and emotional health.

Resources:

To learn more about “Let Them,” you can listen to this Mel Robbins podcast:

 

 

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