You know it’s time. You’ve been needing to divorce the toxic people in your life for months now, but you can’t quite bring yourself to do it. There’s so much history between you, and besides…if you get new friends you’ll have to break them in and catch them up on your story. And who has the time – or the energy – to do all that? And what if no one else shows up to fill the friend void and you’re left all alone…again? But you know these are people you no longer need in your life, and at this point alone is better than five more minutes of misery in their presence. Change can be terrifying, but here are a few ways to take the sting out of the transition from draining to fulfilling in no time flat:
1. Honor YOU!
Society will have you believe it’s everyone else first and you get the leftovers – if there are any. Wouldn’t it be so much more rewarding for everyone if you were whole enough and fulfilled enough to give love and kindness from your overflow, rather than having to dredge up some from an empty reservoir? When you hone in on the pleasures of life you enjoy most – both personally and professionally – you’ll become more refreshed and eager to surround yourself with supportive, uplifting and like-minded people.
2. Spend time alone.
Time alone with yourself just sounds scary. Nobody really ever wants to stop long enough to look in the mirror, so you just keep going with the status quo. You’re so busy being busy that you lose who you truly are, as well as the dreams that make you unique. You try to fit into a mold that was cast for someone else, and it rarely ever works out well for you. Taking some time to just sit and be with yourself refreshes the soul and mind and helps you figure out who you are and what kind of people you’ll allow in your circle from that point on. If like attracts like, become your own best friend, and soon enough people who truly honor and support you will show up for you.
While it’s necessary at times to see things for what they are, continuing to be around people who cause you pain and stress – or who can’t help you through yours because they have so much of their own – can literally be detrimental to your health. Begin to focus on the qualities you desire your friends to have, and before long you’ll be surrounded by people who want to support you as opposed to keeping you stuck in their quicksand of doom.
4. Determine the floor.
As you begin to honor yourself, many people on the elevator of life will have to get off on a floor far below your penthouse. Be okay with setting your boundaries and allowing the unhealthy friends to live where they’re choosing to live, even if it’s 32 floors beneath you.
5. Discover healthy void-fillers.
Now that you’re a little more in tune with your true self, you’ll have an idea of ways to fill the voids your toxic friends were once filling. Do you like to dance? Take a hip hop class. Is pottery your thing? Connect with a meet-up group for potters. Spending time fostering your passions leaves little room for unhealthy relationships with people who no longer serve you.
6. Hire a life coach.
Each day you’re doing your absolute best just to survive, and every now and then you get stuck on how to make tomorrow better than today. A life coach is someone who can give you the tools to dig you out of your past habits and thoughts and begin to plant healthy, more fertile seeds of thinking. Whether you use a life coach to help guide you through the tilling phase of gardening, or stick with them through all seasons, it’s imperative to have a qualified support system coaching you through each phase of the process.
7. Read Brené Brown books.
Or watch her Tedx videos on YouTube. Dr. Brown has been researching shame for over 12 years, and she is spot on with the way she’ll gently encourage you to honor yourself enough to let go of everything that is not for your highest purpose – including people.
8. Spend time with family.
Many times toxic friends start out as escapes from having to deal with your family. In all honesty, dysfunction is the norm when it comes to family dynamics, so embracing the love of your family rather than running from it will also help you release the people who aren’t healthy for you.
During your alone time, journal. Write about everything. There are very few things more powerful at sorting through your wants and want-nots than putting pen to paper. It clears cluttered spaces in your head for more positive thoughts and “a-ha moments” than any other action on the market. You’ll be able to quickly process each relationship and the lesson it taught you through journaling, making it easier to speak your truth with love and respect to the person whose time it is to move on from your world.
10.Take a break.
Maybe the people you need to let go of are just folks who have been too close for too long. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, and it also helps you see their good qualities you were attracted to in the first place. Being too close to someone for too long can lead to resentment and nitpicking, so honor both yourself and the other person by giving each of you time to breathe, reassess and reconnect once you’re both in a better space mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even physically.