Some gal pals and I met up at a Mexican restaurant recently to catch up and hang out. We all showed up individually, coming in at various times within the span of two hours and stayed for a good chunk of time to chum it up with one another. The restaurant was buzzing with energy, but honestly, I think our group was shining the brightest with how much love was beaming from our side of this giant table we shared. There was even a point in time where three of us were gushing over how beautiful one another was, inside and out, and went into stories about cheering each other on, having each other’s back and how we make one another laugh. There were laughs, giggles, cocktails and planning for the future aplenty. When we had all gone our separate ways, everyone walked away with hugs and “I love you” from each other. Honestly, it was a grand ol’ time. I left feeling rejuvenated, excited for our future meetups and felt like I got lucky with connecting with these lovely individuals in my life.
Seriously though… how did I ever get so lucky? My heart is absolutely warmed by these individuals and the others I call friends (family, really). It’s one of those things that you know, intuitively, that these kinds of people are lifelong friends.
People that lift you up, support you, cheer you on, and you feel rejuvenated by them–these are signs of a healthy, good relationship. These are definitely the kind of people you want to surround yourself as you go through this journey we call “life.” I’m someone who always want to continually better myself–to keep growing and work to be the best version of myself. The key to that is to surround yourself by people that want to do the same and want that success for not only themselves, but for you too!
Life is hard enough as it is… we’ve gotta stick together and lift each other up!
It’s part of growing up to have encountered people that don’t provide us this kind of energy though. I think we can all agree we’ve all had that friend or acquaintance (maybe even a family member) who made us not feel great about ourselves, made us truly feel shame for who we are or what we like, and didn’t support us in a positive way when we really needed it. Or it can be not so obvious–you feel run down, drained and negative after spending time with them. Or maybe you’re scared of them. Or maybe you’re feeling like your relationship is a one way street. These kinds of people are toxic.
Oh yes. Assuming positive intent of people is my norm–but if there’s a consistent pattern of these symptoms, I know all too well that that person is someone I certainly don’t want to invest a lot of energy into. And you don’t want to either.
I didn’t just wake up with this knowledge on toxic people or psychic vampires, or whatever you want to call them. Sometimes toxic people are hard to spot because it just feels so normal… when it actually isn’t. There was a time where I had a friend I knew very well–we had gone to school together. And let me tell you, reader, she was a “Negative Nellie.” Everything that happened to her was everyone else’s fault–never hers. She thought everyone and everything was stupid. She would constantly complain about the things in her life that she would change, but would never take action or progress in the direction of change, and would continue to complain about it. She was at a stand-still. Her self-growth was stunted because of her negativity, and the people around her were feeling down all the time. After I’ve spent time with her on numerous occasions, I’ve always felt drained and just not feeling good about life. I began to take on her perspective on life–that everything is stupid.
Look, I get that life sucks sometimes. But if you’re just going to sit there and do nothing with yourself, and complain about the stupid shit that happens in life, then you’ll just remain where you are. Misery loves company, I guess.
Not really. Who wants to be living in a metaphorical pile of shit?
Positive change and thought requires action. It requires an effort on your part. And with continuous effort, it’ll come naturally, with ease. I consider myself a optimistic person and it’s taken me work to trudge through some of the curve balls life has thrown at me and get to where I am today. But you know what? I have achieved it–not only through my own action and self-affirmations, but also through the people that I choose to surround myself with. I’ve dumped those toxic folks over the years and it’s only gotten easier. Honestly, when you shed yourself of toxicity in your life, you are SO MUCH HAPPIER. Your quality of life, your self-image… everything feels lighter and brighter.
Let me highlight here that there is such a thing as “good stress” and “bad stress.” Negative stress in any capacity isn’t healthy for us. And what better way to impose more negative stress on yourself than by introducing negative people into your life and keeping them there. In fact, there was a study performed by De Vogli, PhD, et al., where they found that those who were involved in long-term relationships (whether they’re friends, family, lovers, whatever) with individuals that contributed negatively to one’s life were at greater risk of developing heart problems, adrenal fatigue and/or chronic inflammation.
For those of you who are reading this and thinking that you have some toxic people you want to disconnect from, you’re probably wondering… how the hell do you do it?
It’s definitely not easy. When you have someone who you consider to be your friend, but they make you feel awful about yourself or unsafe, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, because you’ve got this idea in your head that they really are your friend and would never do any harm to you. Well, I’ve got news for you: if this person is making you feel bad about yourself, physically/mentally drained of energy, like you’re giving everything and they’re giving nothing, unaccepted, isolated, unsafe or like you can’t trust or confide in them with the truth of their behavior… they are doing harm. They’re a negative influence in your life that is halting you from your own growth and happiness. And that’s unacceptable.
I remember a time when I was going through some serious reevaluating of my own life. I was reevaluating my own behavior, my own negative thoughts towards myself, and the people I surrounded myself with, and realized that some of those people were directly contributing to the negativity in my life. It was time for some serious detoxing… But I was severely conflicted. These were people that supposedly adored me and frequently wanted to hang out, but constantly made me feel like garbage. They picked on me, they made me feel insignificant, and they refused to hear me when I told them I was feeling unsafe or disrespected in certain situations. I was scared to let them go, even though I suddenly realized they were the negative stress in my life. When I approached someone I trusted with my thoughts and hardship, they gave me this golden piece of advice:
You don’t owe anyone anything. Just simply let them go–block them on your phone, don’t spend time with them, don’t talk to them. You don’t owe them an explanation. At all.
Now picture me just sitting there, wide eyed, mouth agape and there’s an explosion in my mind. I literally sat there just staring at this person, whose stare back at me was hardened, like they were trying to communicate the same message to me again through telepathy.
It was that simple. Just cut them out. No explanation, no nothing. They didn’t have to know why I was cutting them out–I knew it for myself. And that was all that mattered.
And so I did. I ceased communication with them, blocked them on my phone and social media, and just went about my life. My heart had hurt sometimes, really missing them when I was feeling lonely or reflecting on some of the times I had considered to be fun with them. There were times where I felt like maybe I had made a mistake…
Puppy: “Nah, girl. This is for the better. Life’s gonna be so much better–just you wait and see.”
Did these toxic people reach out to me? I honestly have no idea or I simply didn’t pay attention anymore. But it’s been a good more-than-a-couple years since I’ve detoxed them out of my life and honestly, I feel so much better about myself, my life, my goals, my dreams, my interests… I really flourished when I removed them from my life and befriended people who genuinely were kind, helped me when I needed it, made me feel good about myself or what I was doing, cheered me on, went on fun adventures with me, supported me through good times and bad… these people are my friends. In fact, I can say a lot of them are my best friends. They’re my family. My tribe.
The lessons I learned through all of this and where I currently am in my life is that you don’t need negative people in your life. We don’t have time for that mess. We’re busy people with lives to live, dreams and goals to achieve, things to see and do. Spending time with people who just add more negative stress to your life is more detrimental than you think. And when you act and remove those negativities from your life, your quality of life increases tremendously. You’re free to be who you are and pursue what makes you happy–just as you should. And with that positive energy you’re emitting, you’ll attract the same kinds of people. Positivity is a magnet for even more positivity.
So hop to it! Get on with your best life and bring your best people with you–you’ll achieve success, support and happiness together.
Reader, I also want you to know that I’m here for you. If you’re ever feeling like you need some emotional support, some advice, something… please don’t hesitate to reach out. ❤