Your ethical will: Have you ever cut someone out of your life?

Welcome to tell your life story by answering 12 questions!

This series of blog posts is inspired by the book For you when I am gone by Steve Leder.

Together we will answer one question at the time, giving us a story to share with our loved ones. We will also give ourselves a chance to reflect. Are we living according to our values?

You are more than welcome to share your answer in a comment.

As Steve Leder puts it:

Telling our stories is a way to share whatever meaning and joy we have found along the way, the depth of our love for others and for life itself.

To share our story with someone is to say, you matter to me.

Question 8: Have you ever cut someone out of your life?

The wording of the question sounds American to me. "Cut someone out of your life". I don't think we have an expression for that in Swedish. We might say that we avoid or dislike someone, but I can't really think of a similar expression to cut someone out.

So why is this question included when we write something we want to share with our loved ones?
Steve explains it this way:

“...there are times when we courageously and sometimes painfully have to stand up for ourselves.”

Here are some answers from the book:

“Are we staying because of people-pleasing or thinking that we are someone’s last hope? That’s just ego-centred and not truly benefiting anyone. No, some of my most dramatic growth has come from those times that I have spoken, clearly and boldly, ‘You shall not pass’.”

“Seeing each person for who they are, not who you need them to be, is the key to avoiding people who are not good for you. They may be good people, they just aren’t good for you.”

I haven't cut anyone out of my life, but I have stood up for myself when I felt I needed to and avoided people who didn't feel right for me.

The closest I ever came to cutting someone out was after a guy slapped me in the face. I was a teenager at the time and it shocked me. I had never been hit before (or since).

Years later I saw a scene in a film where a man was hitting a woman. When she hit back, he grabbed her wrists and said:

"Stop it. No matter how much you hurt me, I can hurt you more".

It reminded me of the powerlessness I felt when I was hit by someone stronger than me.

I didn't physically "cut him out of my life", but mentally I did. I stopped talking to him, I stopped caring about him. Years later, I found a way to forgive. I understood that he was full of pain. The slap had nothing to do with me, he just couldn't contain his anger and I got caught in the crossfire.

This experience, along with living in a far from safe neighbourhood when I moved to Den Haag, made me learn jiu-jitsu. Of course I would rather stay away from any kind of violence, but I guess I was no longer sure that I could. Learning jiu-jitsu helped me to overcome the feeling of powerlessness I felt when I was hit.

How about you?

Have you cut someone out of your life?

Have you stood up for yourself in a way that ended a relationship?

What did you learn from it?

Reflect and write down these important answers in your “ethical will”.


  1. The Swedish equivalent is "klippa bandet till någon".

  2. Yes, I did, my sister, as the the bond between us from the beginning was toxic. I feel and do better since I excluded her from my life and I'm pretty sure, she is having a great life without me.

    1. That is a really tough one, cutting people from your family out. I had a friend who said: "I have finally learned I don't have to love my parents just because they are my parents." Of course we all want to find ways to love but I am happy you feel and do better after your decision and that you are pretty sure your sister is having a great life without you.