The people around you, your friends, your coworkers, your family, your neighbours, and even your kids impact many parts of your life. Their hardships and their joys affect you. Their attitude, their disposition, their communication style, and so much more all play into how you relate not only to them but to the world. We cannot help but be changed by what we are surrounded with.
It will likely come as no surprise to you that if you are constantly around criticism and negativity, you will begin to feel more negative yourself. I find that even if I am watching a TV series where there is bad language or a lot of negativity, I feel myself becoming more cynical or catch myself thinking words that aren’t usually even in my vocabulary.
There are times and seasons for all kinds of relationships in our lives. I am not suggesting that you get rid of every friend who is negative or pulls you down. There are those who have supported you in the past who now find themselves in a tough spot and are in need of your support. That is the natural give and take of relationships and should not be confused with a toxic relationship. A toxic relationship is one that sucks the joy out of you, that is unhealthy in its balance (more take than give) and brings out the worst in you.
I am, however, suggesting that you examine who you are spending the most time with and how that may be impacting you. If you are being sucked in to negativity, gossip, hopelessness, or greed, it may be time to examine if the perks of that particular relationship outweigh the drawbacks. Take into account the entire length of the friendship though so that you can decide whether this person is just currently going through a hard time and will likely bounce back or if that is who they truly are.
Take time to consider who the cheerleaders are in your life. Who is there to support you, to encourage you, to bring out your best self? Who has always believed in you? Who makes you feel like you can conquer the world? Make more time in your life for those people. Ensure that you thank them for the impact they have made in your life and appreciate what they add to your world. Be there for them.
I know who my cheerleaders are and I couldn’t do what I do without them.
What about the relationships that are unhealthy, perhaps even toxic and you can’t escape them because they are your family? Though we do not get to choose our family, we can choose the amount of time we spend with them, what influence they will have over us (to some extent), the weight that we allow their words or actions to have in our life, and the boundaries that we put in place surrounding those relationships. There are situations when you may even have to sever ties with family members or put restrictions in place to protect yourself. That is a painful position to be put in and not something to be taken lightly. Sometimes friends can become chosen family when family is not healthy enough to be there.
If you are reading this today and realizing that you need to make some hard choices, I am so sorry for what has brought you to this place. I know that connections with people are complicated and layered and that it isn’t as easy as just moving on with your life and forgetting about those connections. I pray that whatever relationships you may have that are toxic and causing stress for you, you are either able to heal through forgiveness or that you are able to be confident enough in who you are and what you can be that you can make a new beginning without someone that because of their own hurts or insecurities feels the need to tear you down. You are strong and can do this.
Join me this month as I share ways to help you move towards the life you want to live. Join me in the challenge. Ready to jump off the cliff?