In this life we are surrounded by an abundance of people, they are everywhere! Some people are a joy to be around, they are kind, supportive and engaging. They make you feel better about who you are to the very core. Then there are other types of people. These people are an effort to say the very least of it. When they text or call you immediately roll your eyes or your gut twists because you’d just rather not deal with them.
I have heard a thousand times the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people. It’s only natural, when you are in the company of positive people they have the ability to make you feel more positive about yourself and all that you can achieve. Positive people are generally more productive and creative and can inspire the same in you. Nobody ever really talks about what you do about the not so positive people in your life though. Perhaps it’s an Irish thing? We are a particularly polite nation of people, to a fault. The only thing worse than rudeness to an Irish person is meanness.
While reading Lena Dunham’s Book “Not That Kind of Girl” I came across a quote that jumped off the page and shook me.
“When someone shows you how little to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it you start to mean less to yourself”
The effectiveness of this quote was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that an object of my affection had been playing the age old hot and cold game for a week. Suddenly it hit me, by continually responding to texts and getting in contact with this person I was giving them full permission to carry on treating me this way. Why wouldn’t they? There was no repercussion for their bad behaviour, they received the reward of my company regardless of their behaviour. As a result I began to reduce my own value without even noticing. The expectation that I should be treated as well as I treat others went right out the window because I had a crush on this person.
So I gave myself a stern talking to, reminded myself that there are heaps of crush-worthy individuals out there who are worthy of my attention and affections and who would reciprocate without needing to resort to petty games or control tactics. Of course it didn’t stop there, I started to recall all of the relationships I’ve had romantic, personal and professional where I have allowed others to treat me badly and made excuses for them. Of course this sapped my energy and made me work harder at a dynamic that only sought to make me feel worse about myself, intentional or otherwise.
It needs to be said I am a nurturer by nature (there’s a psychology joke in there somewhere). It’s why I do what I do. I like to help people, I like to see people happy, motivated and being all they can be. Life is too friggin short to be any other way. This little light bulb moment of mine has made me realise not everyone deserves my help and encouragement, especially if it takes more from me than the gift I intend to give. So I challenged myself to look at all of my relationships everything from family to facebook friends, to not only pick out the wonderful people in my life but to weed out those who do not contribute as much as I do to our relationship.
Here is how I did it:
1. Examine your relationships!
Some questions I asked myself before cutting contact with people are:
– Has this person actually done something wrong or am I taking their words/actions to heart when I shouldn’t?
– Is there something going on behind the scenes that may be affecting our relationship (something real, not drama queen fodder)?
– Is this an issue we can work out together?
– Can I trust him/her to keep my best interests at heart?
– Does he/she respect me (and vice versa)?
– Do I really think he/she gets a kick out of making me feel bad?
– How do I feel about myself when connecting with him/her?
– What does he/she contribute to my life that I would be lost without?
Think about how long you’ve known this person, what they might be dealing with internally. If all else fails you can’t beat the old fashioned pros and cons list to help you decide. It might sound harsh but it is very telling if the cons list exceeds the pros or you struggle to find pros.
2.Go with your gut!!
Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Even on days when you’re not feeling your best, you know more than anyone what will make you feel better and what’s niggling you in the first place. If you feel like someone is toxic to your well-being, that’s enough. You will know, you won’t even need a list your gut will tell you. Whether you are exhausted when they leave or you feel sick to your stomach when you know they are going to be in your company. You don’t have to tell anyone your reasons for not wanting to be associated with someone. All the justification in the world will not change that, in the same way that someone who is seemingly perfect in every way still isn’t the one for you if there is no chemistry. You don’t owe anyone anything, and you deserve to have peace of mind and a positive environment devoid of people who bring you down, deliberately or otherwise.
3.Block, Unfriend and Unfollow.
Social media can be a serious friggin pain. It’s far too easy to passive aggressively say whatever you want and then say, “Oh no, that totally wasn’t about you! I’m sooo sorry you thought that!”
Back to number 2: Trust your gut. Do you feel like something was aimed at you? Regardless of whether it was, do you feel like the fact that it might be is personally affecting you? Guess what — real friends won’t make you feel that way. Ever!
The block and unfriend feature exists for a reason. Use it. Even if the issues you have with the person you’re cutting out aren’t social-media related, it’s not worth the annoyance of seeing something that person posts. Facebook, especially, is passive-aggression heaven. Blocking fixes that easily.
Also? When you’re done, you’re done. You made the decision to make your life better, and you turned that decision into an action. So don’t snoop around and ask how that person is doing, what they’re up to, etc. It doesn’t concern you anymore, you have your own life to be getting on with.
If this person is someone you really can’t unfriend because it would be more hassle than it’s worth then hide their posts from their news feed and hide the amount of information they are privvy to. You are limiting contact in a way that still keeps you safe.
4. Confide in the people closest to you…but be prepared to lose other friends in the process.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I mean, you’re allowed to talk about it. Letting go of a relationship, even a bad one, is painful. Talk to people you love and trust if the process is difficult for you. They will support you and your decision.
Also keep in mind that you might see some unfriending, unfollowing, etc. that you might not expect. That’s obviously a very surface-level depiction, but other people will drop off the face of the earth (or, as I like to think of it, move over and make room for better relationships). Don’t worry about this one too much, if a person cannot respect your right to happiness they have spared you the job of letting them go or cutting them out at a later stage.
It might be hard at first, but do your best to separate the character of the person you’re cutting out from why you’re cutting them out of your life. Honestly, even painful people have positive attributes , and bad-mouthing them or insulting their character is going to get you nowhere except back into a negative state of mind that cutting the person out was supposed to help free you from in the first place. Name-calling, eye-rolling, gossiping, etc. defeats that purpose. Just nod politely if the person is mentioned. Remember that you’re taking care of yourself first and foremost, and that is what matters.
So there you have it loves, it’s a new year, let’s make it a positive one!