Spring is here!! As a new season begins to bloom, many of us are motivated to do spring cleaning. From our closets to our cupboards, we finally get rid of the shirt we’ve had since college and toss eye shadow shades we know we’ll never use. Clearing away both the clutter leaves us feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.
But after you clean, revamp your diet, give clothes to Goodwill, and toss old papers, feelings of stress or discontentment may still be lingering. If so, consider the other toxic influences in your life that invade your healthy environment.
Just as cleaning out your closet allows you to find more room and see the same old space through new eyes, cleaning out your emotional closet can feel just as liberating! @ChristinHassler (Click to Tweet!)
Positive input and support helps us feel more grounded and balanced; however, often we encounter people in our life who throw negative energy in our direction. We cannot control the families we are born into, classmates, colleagues, exposure to the media, or our overall environment. However, we can choose how we relate to our external environment and respond to the people in it.
Just sharing DNA or a long history with someone does not grant access to your inner circle. There are often toxic people in life that do more harm than the dust under your bed – the dust is just easier to clean up. There is no donation center that will take your negative friends, annoying colleagues, flakey people, controlling family members, or commitment phobic boyfriends away. But do you wish there was?
People who drain you, treat you poorly, reinforce insecurities, or encourage your bad habits (like the friend who tries to get you to smoke when you are trying to quit) clutter your life with their toxic energy. Think about if there is anyone in your life who would fit into one or more of the following categories:
• You always feel crummy after you talk to him/her and guilty if you don’t talk to them
• He/she is really hard on you or judges you harshly
• You walk on egg shells around him/her
• He/she is very negative, depressed, and/or does not take care of herself/himself
• You find there is not much room for YOU in the relationship – it’s all about her/him
• You are incredibly bored, uninspired, stressed out, or unhappy in the relationship
If there is one or several people in your life that fit into the categories above, on some level you probably already know your relationship with this person is toxic! Fears about shifting your relationship with the person – from having a conversation to perhaps stopping interaction with them – may keep you from doing it.
Concerns about a relationship are like the miscellaneous junk in the first drawer of your desk – the more you ignore it, the more it piles up.
Relational spring cleaning gets tricky when it comes to family members. Shutting someone out of your life may not be an option; however, reestablishing how you react to and interact with them is. Setting boundaries and lovingly sticking up for yourself are integral to creating a solid support system. For instance, say to a sister who always talks about your lack of a boyfriend, “I know you are trying to help, but I am happy with my love life and would rather talk about other things with you.”
Or if you have an extremely opinionated or critical parent, try to have more small-talk type conversations. Ask more questions about their life versus them interrogating you about yours. Consider everything they say is a “buffet.” You get to pick and choose what you decide to take in. Each of us is on our own journey and we cannot fault people for being who they are or expect them to change. Yet we can accept that some people may not be the right fit for us in terms of a close relationship. Ultimately your peace of mind is up to you to maintain and living a clean, conscious life with sane relationships supports that.
Remember that you have the tools within you to create change in your external environment. Ask for support from the people in your life whose love makes you feel safe. Create ways to amend the time you spend around those who drain you and reduce the mental energy you invest in thinking about toxic people. Replace the toxic thoughts and worry with thoughts of loving individuals and the love you have within yourself. Then draw from this emotional bank whenever you are in the presence of a toxic person. Spring cleaning your support system may be a little challenging at first, but I guarantee that it will ultimately be more fulfilling that 409-ing your kitchen or reorganizing your shoe rack!
P.S. I have a new podcast where I coach people LIVE on the air. Head over to Over it and On With It and listen in for inspiration and action steps.
Christine Hassler has broken down the complex and overwhelming experience of recovering from disappointment into a step-by-step treatment plan in her new book Expectation Hangover. This book reveals the formula for how to process disappointment on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels to immediately ease suffering. Instead of wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, or anger, we can see these experiences as catalysts for profound transformation and doorways that open to possibility. You can find more info on her website, and follow her on Twitter and FB.
Image courtesy of Jill111.