Have you ever felt like someone “got over on you?” Is there a person who mistakes your kindness for you being a doormat? Do you have someone in your life that “uses” you, takes advantage of you or plants seeds of doubt in your mind? That’s a toxic person.
Some of the biggest stressors we have in life come from toxic people. If you want to reduce stress in your life, if you want to actually obtain those dreams of yours – then rid of the toxic people.
If you have all of these fabulous goals for 2016, but you have negative people surrounding you, don’t kid yourself about success. The truth is, negative people take you down. They are contagious and infectious and they will do all they can to suck your energy dry and instill self-doubt. As your confidence drops, they gain more of an upper hand and slowly take control from you.
But you can take control back and set yourself up for success. It might not be easy or fun at first. In fact, ridding of toxic people sometimes might be one of the most painful experiences for you, but it is necessary if you want to achieve your goals and live a more positive, fulfilling life.
Here are 3 ways to rid of the toxic people in your life:
1. First, you have to reflect on who actually is sucking your energy dry or making you feel defeated.
Pull out the old journal and write down all the people that you deem as toxic in your life. For a jump start as to what these people may look like – they are typically the people who take you up and down (I love you, I hate you, I really love you, I really hate you), the whiners, the takers, the down-right mean people, the users, the bull-shitters, the gossipers and certainly anyone who is passive aggressive.
Once you have created this list, circle the ones you know you can get rid of completely and erase them as if you hit the delete button on your computer. Cut them off. No more answering calls, no more social media, just get rid of the crap they put you through.
2. Okay, so now you have this list with a few names left of people you can’t just simply cut out of your life altogether.
Maybe it’s not realistic, not practical, or you really just don’t want to cut them off. I get it. Often, we can’t or don’t want to rid of the most toxic people in our lives. But that’s alright. Instead, we take back control by setting stronger boundaries.
Warning: As you set boundaries, people are going to react to you differently and sometimes negatively; especially if they expect a certain behavior or action from you and you no longer solicit that. I always tell clients, the best way to change another person is to change yourself. You can’t change other people, but your change in reaction will alter them and their actions.
Here is what setting boundaries might look like:
Say “no” more frequently to requests from toxic people that hinder your day or hurt your progress. You don’t always have to say “yes”. You may be the official go-to person, but that stops today as you make a commitment to yourself that you are taking control over your life. When you say “no”, the payoff is in the end when you don’t have so much responsibility. Saying “no” shows confidence and self-control. However, if you want to engage in the request someone asked you to take on, but right now is not the time you can do it, speak up and say that. If that’s not good enough for them, then walk away. Clearly they are toxic.
Don’t be the initiator of conversation. If you don’t have to communicate with the person, don’t. But, this goes both ways. You can’t be dependent all the time either. You can’t just reach out to the toxic person when you need something. This will really blur a boundary that you put into place. Example: If you are working to rid of an ex and now you need their help because your car broke down, think twice before asking them for a ride. Find an alternative. And there are alternatives. Begin taking control back by acknowledging that you have options and alternatives.
Along the same lines, you don’t have to answer their call or email right away. You don’t have to jump for this person anymore. If you get a call, a text or an email, I encourage you to RRR – Retreat (walk away from the situation), Rethink (analyze what the deal is) and then React (now you act). Give yourself time to process the request and how this will wrap you up in toxicity if you respond, react impulsively or give in. Often, toxic people suck us in because they back us into a corner and force an impulsive response out of us. This is how they gain control. No longer will that happen when you give yourself time to retreat and rethink BEFORE you react.
3. Don’t internalize their hate, negativity or meanness.
If you have identified this person as toxic and have even set boundaries with them, but you allow them to take up your mind, they are still in your life.
Ruminating and dwelling on negative people for any reason still brews up the poison in you and toxifies you. So many times we replay events and take their negativity to heart. But before you let them invade you and bring your confidence down, look at the source. Is this person credible, worthy of hurting you and do you really think that they have your best interest in mind? If not, let their meanness go.
Work to be aware of how much “mind time” you are giving this toxic person. The more awareness you have of the time they are using in your mind, the more likely you are to catch yourself in the act of ruminating and then be able to cut it. There is no quick fix to cutting negative thoughts – expect to retrain your brain. You didn’t always think about this toxic person, you trained your mind and created a habit of this. It took time. Now, today, we begin to retrain your mind. Try redirecting these negative thoughts back to goodness. How are you better off without this person or toxicity in your life? Begin thinking about your weekend, good times with good friends or your desire to reach your 2016 goals. Just get your mind away from negativity.
You may have to really work at this tip. The mind is powerful and can easily fall back into a habitual way of thinking as you go about your day on auto-pilot. But the mind is powerful both ways. If you want it to think or behave differently, with effort and repetition your mind will create a new habit.
Some people say you are what you eat. I say, you are who you associate with. People are typically a combination of the top three to five people they associate with most. Take a moment to reflect on the people you spend most of your time with and reflect on whether or not these people are in line with your goals and direction.
The New Year is moments away and you have the power and control to take your life back. Toxic people will waste your energy in 2016 and many of them will steer you away from your goals at some point soon. And if they don’t steer you off track, they will make your journey toward your goals tougher and more draining.
Today, I challenge you to select the most toxic person on your list and begin taking back control.