“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
Firstly: my definition of a toxic person- Someone who complains and dumps their problems on you but doesn’t do anything to change their situation. Someone who is not supportive. Someone who makes you feel bad. Someone who shoots down your bright ideas, big goals, or bold (and risky) decisions that you need to make in order to be successful.
Secondly, this article isn’t intended to reprimand or paint toxic people in a negative light. Toxic people are usually in a place in their life where they are not open to constructive feedback or changing, so they are stuck in their current situation and don’t have the insight to see beyond their own struggles. And that’s okay. This article is meant to advocate for you so you don’t allow their negativity to impact your life.
First, why it’s important to detox your life of negative people:
- Negative people slow you down towards achieving your goals. Whether they know it or not, they end up discouraging you from being ambitious or following your dreams by questioning what you’re doing and planting doubts in your head.
- Negative energy from toxic people affect your energy level, not to mention your stress and anxiety. Ultimately, it’s your health and well-being, so you are responsible for taking care of it!
- You need to create space for positive change to happen. Being in toxic relationships with people and allowing their negative energy into your life will hold you back from manifesting opportunities for your success. Also, releasing negative people will create space for the positive folks to enter, who will encourage, support, and help you grow as a person.
How to detox negative people from your life:
Step 1: Decide that you’re worth it
- You need to feel as if you’re worthy of achieving your goals and changing into the person you want to be. Letting go of any negativity in your life will help you get there faster. You’ve got to be committed to doing this for yourself otherwise your guilt for letting go of certain relationships will keep you in the same place (more in Step 3).
- How to realize you’re worth it: Decide. Simply. Make the choice and decide that it’s time you committed to yourself, your goals, and your dreams and you won’t let anything stop or slow you down from getting there.
- Think about the negative side effects of holding onto these relationships. Ask yourself:
- What effect are these relationships having on my life?
- What are my goals and how badly do I want to achieve them? Are these people supporting my goals or slowing me down?
Step 2: Identify the toxic folks
- Toxic people make you feel worse than when you started talking to them. They bring your energy level down. They leave you feeling bummed out.
- There is a difference between someone sharing with you their struggles and challenges vs someone who constantly complains. The difference is someone who is genuinely struggling is willing to listen to constructive feedback and is open to change (and does change). Conversely, whiners and complainers don’t want to change and just want you to feel sorry for them.
- They shoot down your ideas. e.g., They question what you’re doing. They may say something like, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t change careers because you have so much job security here. What about your benefits? Or your retirement?” This is pretty common and sometimes subtle and harder to notice. Even though it may sound like they’re giving you advice, in the end they’re just putting more doubts into your head because your actions may bring up their own fears and insecurity.
- Toxic people can fall within the spectrum of being subtly draining to all around toxic and hostile (read: openly critical of you). But even if they fall on the less severe end of the “toxic people spectrum”, they will still bring you down. People don’t need to be outright poisonous to affect you negatively.
Step 3: Let them go
- Just start. Use whatever method you think is appropriate. Avoid them. Don’t pick up their calls. Apologize for being distant but you don’t need to explain why or defend your actions.
- You don’t have to explain anything to them unless you feel need to because they’re being persistent and pushy. This is because they are probably not in a state of mind to listen to what you have to say anyway and will probably get on the defensive if you try to explain yourself.
- Do it gracefully and with love. Send them off with love and a prayer. Be open to the possibility that if and when they are ready to change and be more positive/supportive, then you would be open to rekindling the relationship.
Step 4: Don’t feel guilty
- Again, you are worth it. You must be your own BEST FRIEND. If you don’t take charge of your life, nobody will do it for you!
- You are not abandoning them even though you may feel like that. There is a distinction between abandoning someone vs letting them go so they can find their own way. If you’ve already tried giving them advice, encouragement, or even a wake-up call and nothing happened, then no amount of wise words from you will change their thinking or behavior.
- It’s not your obligation. You may keep these people in your life because you feel like you have to or you’re obligated to. Maybe they’ve been your closest friend since grade school. Or maybe they’re your cousin and you feel obliged through your blood ties. Whatever the reason, people grow and change and it’s okay for relationships to evolve.
Step 5: Bring in the positivity baby!
Surround yourself with positive people. These are people who:
- Support your ambitions
- Encourage your ideas no matter how scary, risky, or seemingly unknown the outcome could be because they know how important it is for you.
- Are up to big things. They are people you admire because you think they kick ass in life!
Hey, got toxic FAMILY members? Read part II of this article here!
This week’s tush-kickin’ challenge: Start identifying the negative relationships that you want to let go of and share with me below! What do you think are some other challenges besides guilt that will prevent you from walking away from these people?
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn Click to Tweet
Lovin’ what you see? Sign up for FREE updates below!
Know someone who could use some relationship detoxing? Share with them below!