A life uncluttered with toxic relationships is a tall order. Providence seems to toss all sorts of challenges our way. But life is too precious to squander even a minute of it in the company of spirit-vampires. From Unclutter Your Life by Katherine Gibson
Healthy relationships resonate with harmony. They're dynamic, fun, and unwavering. They are loyal, gentle, and balanced. They're full of hearty hugs, surprise celebrations, and unconditional support. They're layered with love and laughter and they give and they take. And while they aren't all things at all times, they sweeten life like nothing else can. Caring friends are "earthly angels."
The rest -- the folks who taint our souls and steal our joy -- are simply clutter.
- Know yourself. Define what qualities matter in your life and in your friends.
- Do your homework. Understand what makes a healthy relationship and why you might attract or be attracted to people who do not honor you.
- Choose consciously. Select friends with whom you can feel relaxed and natural.
- Nurture relationships through open, assertive, honest communication.
- Dismiss difficult people who suck up time and energy. Let go of people and activities that clutter life with negativity, stress, and feelings of obligations. Choose friends who inspire, nurture, or support your life's view.
- Stand up for yourself. Use direct, non-confrontational language if someone is unkind, disrespectful, or abusive.
- Bolster your self-esteem by taking an assertiveness course.
- Demand respect. Dump the downers and pick positive, affirming relationships.
- Avoid gossip. If a tattler corrals you, let him or her know clearly and directly that you won't participate. Something as simple as "I don't want to talk about John" is often enough to thwart a gossiper.
- If you cannot improve an unhealthy relationship, you may need to limit contact. Get tough and vote with your feet if a situation remains toxic.
- Expect to go through withdrawal if you end a relationship. You have an empty place to fill. Look for someone who makes your day shine.
- While we don't have to embrace those who do us harm, we can understand that they might be acting out their own issues. We can forgive, but we don't have to forget.
- A positive attitude is contagious and a great negative-person deflector.
- Consider the support and assistance of a trained counselor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katherine Gibson, M.Ed., the author of Unclutter Your Life: Transforming Your Physical, Mental, And Emotional Space (Copyright © 2004 by Katherine Gibson), is in demand as a speaker and workshop presenter, inspiring her audiences to choose clarity and purpose in their personal and professional lives. She has shared her wisdom with thousands on national radio and television shows, and has been featured in magazines and newspapers throughout North America. She currently lives in Victoria, B.C.