We’re all responsible for our own happiness and the attitudes we bring toward life, but the people we surround ourselves with on a day-to-day basis also influence our state of wellbeing. They can either lift us up, or drag us down.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for people these days to find themselves surrounded by people who exhibit toxic behavior–dramatic friends, manipulative coworkers, relatives who always need rescuing and all sorts of other types of people who radiate negative energy. There are ways to improve these relationships, but ideally, we shouldn’t be pouring so much of our own energy into them if the offending individuals are not willing to do their part.
Here are a few things anyone can do to manage existing toxic relationships while building and nurturing healthy ones.
Identify Your Values
We all want to surround ourselves with people who share similar values. If you’re not clear on what you value in life and in other people, how are you going to determine what type of people you want in your life? Take some time to journal about it. You may even find that you’re living some parts of your life according to other people’s expectations, which will give you the opportunity to explore your authenticity and get clear about it. Once you have your values clearly written down, you can start thinking about the types of people currently in your life who share these same values. These are the relationships you want to focus your energy on.
Address Current Toxic Relationships
Ignoring current relationships that are toxic won’t resolve them. More often than not, the floodgates of communication need to be opened up in order to address the other person’s toxic behavior. A relationship is a two-way street, and the other person has to be willing to cooperate as part of the “detoxification” process. If they simply refuse, and the level of toxicity is significant, then the relationship may need to come to an end. If it can’t be ended, such as if it’s a work relationship or a family relationship, you’ll need to work on setting boundaries and increasing your awareness when interacting with this person to avoid sucking up their negative energy.
Go Where Good People Hang Out
Ask yourself, where do the types of people who share similar values to you spend their time? Maybe it’s at the gym, in the woods, on a basketball court, online in a particular forum or at a local club meetup. Wherever it is, you need to identify those places and start spending time there as well if you want to build more relationships with the types of people you actually want to be around. Likewise, remember to nurture those good, existing relationships you identified in the first step through journaling. Aim to spend more time with those people by suggesting things to do based around the values you both share.
Personal growth may be a very individualistic journey, but without people around to support you along the way, you’ll probably have a harder time getting there. Putting in the effort to detoxify bad relationships and create or strengthen healthy ones is really worth it.