We all have people in our lives that create challenges for us. I’d even go further to say that people will be one of our biggest struggles in our lives. Many times we allow people into our lives and just assume we are to move forward with the collection of people and relationships that we’ve collected from our past and present. WRONG.
Some people are part of our history and should stay that way. Solomon once said, “You become the company you keep”. It is true. Successful people (as defined as thriving in all areas of life) don’t just accept who is around them. They intentionally prune unhealthy people and foster healthy relationships. Here are the people you need to prune out of your life:
That Negative Person
I’m not talking just the person who says the glass is “half empty”. Having a bit of pessimism is not necessarily a bad thing. I’m talking about the person who just brings everyone down with them. The world is always against them, they are always the victim, “can’t and never” are a big part of their vocabulary. The world is a dark place with little hope and little opportunity. It always feels like they are benefactor of some negative force and it influences everything they do. They just breed negativity whether they realize it or not. It’s poisoned their well.
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
The truth to this quote by Zig Ziglar is profound. Negative thinking doesn’t provide any solutions to the problem. It just wallows in them. Positive thinking invites motivation, encouragement, and determination. It seeds action.
That Demanding Person
Do you have someone in your life right now that has set conditions on your relationship? Expectations (explicitly or inexplicitly) you have to meet to be a part of their inner circle. For some reason you always feel some uncomfortable emotion like guilt when you don’t do something they expect or feel the need to make excuses when you don’t meet their expectations, standards, etc. TOO MUCH WORK.
It’s almost like you have to earn their relationship in some way. It’s not worth it. Each of us comes to the table in a relationship with who we are- the healthiest exchanges are very equal in nature – you give and get. Sometimes you fill them up and sometimes they fill you up. Not with this person. The reason for their unhealthy approach many times has to do with past relationships in their life. You can’t fix this for them.
They need to go or their relationship impact be minimized in our life. They create a lot of emotional wear and tear and impact our entire life – emotionally, relationally, etc. They drain resources from other relationships. Be careful – these are often the most challenging to downshift. These kind of people tend have the hardest time being managed into a healthy relationship.
THAT Person who makes chronic bad choices
I bet by reading that headline a name or two pops in your head. We all have people we know that can’t get it together. And yes we can always help (but not enable) those in need. But how does this person effect my life? There are a lot of ways. Here is a list:
- They rob you of mental energy and you away from what and who really matters in your life.
- They always need resources beyond what they have which have to come from their friends (you).
- They put you in positions you don’t need to be in.
- They develop enabled behaviors with those around them that support their bad behavior (even if you don’t realize what they are).
- They cause interfamily conflict (especially when a sibling).
- They cause emotional, mental and physical stress and worry about their condition. They will literally “age” you.
Until this person really, truly accepts responsibility for themselves and their actions there is little you can do. Don’t let them rob anything from healthy relationships in your life.
The big question is, what any of these kind of people are family? (many times they are). The answer I’ve found that works for me is “controlled space or tactical separation”. In this you create a buffer between you and the unhealthy people in your family but allow times of interaction (as long as they are on your terms) to love on them. It could be scheduling time to meet them for dinner over the course of 2-3 hours,etc. The goals is to have a plan in and a plan out on your terms. If it goes sideways, you have simple way to exit. I’ve found that many times this strategy actually makes the time feel more valuable and brings joy to relationships that didn’t have any before. Planned visits tend to have a kind of fun anticipation.
3 final things to chew on:
- You have full control of the relationships you allow ongoing in your life.
- You become the sum of those closest to you.
- If you want to be better in an area of your life, adding a healthy relationship with someone who is strong in that area pays huge dividends.