When we’re growing up, so much of our upbringing revolves around the feelings of other people. Use proper manners, apologize when you make someone feel bad, and be kind to other people. The adult version of this would be to own your actions and don’t be a jerk. You may even throw a profanity in there for dramatic effect. Regardless of how you think about it, the reality is we all allow negativity to seep into our lives in various forms. I did too until I cut it out and removed negative people from my life.
I’m going to come right out and say it – last year was awful. Not awful every second of every day but 2018 is not a year that I’ll look back on with any amount of fondness. Among the heaping piles of strife, I took an inventory. A people inventory. I paid attention to who I interacted with and, this is the real piece of magic, how I felt when I interacted with that person. We aren’t talking scientific terms here either, simple stuff like does this person make me stressed or at ease? Does this person bring me joy or anxiety? You get the idea. As I moved through the list, I had people who I realized I had been giving passes to for years at my own expense. It was no surprise that I wasn’t feeling better each day.
I had a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing. People who create the impression that they are the nicest person you would ever meet but just when you’re not looking they cut you with their words and their actions. Why do any of us allow this to happen within our daily lives? We make excuses and allow the behavior to perpetuate – ‘they’ve always been like this’, ‘they don’t know any better’, ‘they don’t mean it.’ Sorry but that is all bullshit.
My most significant ah-ha moment came when I could see that these people, these wolves in sheep’s clothing, were a weight I was carrying with me. Somehow their actions followed me into every new friendship because I had become accustomed to accepting their dysfunction as “normal” which made it ok at the moment. My standards were at an all-time low.
Getting rid of this negativity isn’t as taxing as you may think. You merely move away from this person or people. No grand departure, no heated exchange of words – you just go. And guess what? You feel instantly lighter once you’ve removed the negative people from your life. Worried about potential backlash? Thinking to yourself ‘I could never do that?’ I sat in that space, but on the back end, I can tell you two things: none of the people I have moved away from ever asked me why AND this is your one physical life!
I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I will encourage you to take an inventory of the people in your life, including family. Ask yourself if this person is bringing you joy or pain? Are they helping you to be the person you want to be or are they like a cement block tied to your leg in the water? Live your best life; put you first and make no apologies for protecting yourself – mind, body, and soul.