Making positive changes in our lives is crucial to sustaining happiness – whether it’s cutting back on unhealthy habits or knowing when to resist the temptation to buy that expensive sweater the next time you’re at the mall. But one very important change is to take a closer look at the people in your lives.
The people we meet and interact with in our lives play a major role in our happiness. Whether it’s schoolmates, colleagues, friends, acquaintances, or strangers – every encounter, to varying degrees, helps shape who we are today.
It’s when the wrong people cloud our lives that spells trouble.
When we offer our genuine kindness to malicious people, we are inadvertently sucked into a web of manipulation and deceit that is often masked as true friendship. People like this take advantage of genuine sincerity for their own personal benefit. They add no real value to your life, play head games, and will convince you to make their needs a top priority when the feeling isn’t mutual.
These energy-drainers can usually be summed up in one word: toxic.
Some give off of that ‘bad vibe’ from the start, while others show their true colours over time.
Are people coming to mind as you’re reading this? If so, it might be time to start making some changes.
Toxic people come in various forms in our personal and professional lives: whether it’s a manipulative boss or a ‘friend’ who’s only ever around when they need something. I’ll go into more detail on workplace toxicity in a future post, so stay tuned.
In your personal life, are you consistently bothered by a so-called friend’s actions? Do you keep wondering whether they actually like being around you for you and not because of what you can do for them? Now is the time to put things in perspective and think about removing all the negative energy from your life.
Here are three things to consider when trying make a decision about keeping ties with someone:
1) Test the waters subtly
If you have doubts about a friend’s sincerity, perhaps hold back the next time they ask for a favour and see what happens. Are they genuinely understanding? Are they still making an effort to talk to you? Depending on how deep the friendship is, this tactic could help you gauge their sincerity without outwardly confronting them.
2) Speak up
If that strategy doesn’t give you clarity, then, by all means, talk to them. Don’t ever assume anything. After all, we are all human and at some point, we have probably come across the wrong way to people we care about. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of our fault in order to correct it. I’ve been in a situation myself where a good friend got the wrong idea about my actions and started assuming things that weren’t true. Luckily, she brought up her concerns with me and we were able to resolve everything and move on, but had she not, our friendship could have eroded without me ever realizing what went wrong.
Of course, communication will only work if it’s two-way. A person’s reaction (or lack of) will help you determine a lot. Are they ignoring you? Are they getting hostile and defensive instead of holding themselves accountable? All of these things will come into play to help you decide whether or not you want to continue having them in your life.
3) Move on
If you’ve given the benefit of the doubt too many times to no avail, then it’s probably time to distance yourself from this person. Remember, you are looking out for yourself and your own happiness, so make a clean break and don’t look back. Un-friend them on Facebook, un-follow them on Instagram – in this digital age, disconnecting ties online says a lot. Fight the urge to pick up the phone when they call, or answer a text. If you feel that you need to, go the extra step of blocking them from calling or texting you – it might take them some time to get the message – especially if they are so used to you always being there – but they eventually will. Not having you in their life anymore might actually make them realize what they did wrong and perhaps enlighten them to better themselves.
The Power of Good People
There are tons of genuinely good people in the world and probably many already in your life. You just need to shift your focus on them. Take a moment to reflect on the people who have taken the time to give you a call just to see how you were doing, the ones where, when you meet after a long time, it feels like no time has passed.
Genuine people have a positive energy about themselves that rubs off on you. You can tell by how they make eye contact with you, how they smile at you, how they interact with you – it’s all about making a healthy connection. When you’re in their presence, you feel normal, complete, and right.
From my own experience, I have met some great people by regularly attending an exercise class at my local gym. We just clicked. That’s how you know the connection is good – because you feel it. And what has strengthened the bond between us has been the class itself. Our camaraderie has become a source of motivation to come together each week and unleash our positive energy into an environment where everyone else has the same goal: self-improvement and empowerment.
Here’s a recent photo of us:
So if you’re at a point in your life where you could use a good dose of positive people, consider what has worked for me: start going to the gym (if you aren’t already) and enroll in a group class, as a starting point. Or get involved in a charitable cause, like a marathon run to raise funds for medical research. What better way to begin developing healthy connections than in an environment where everyone around you is happily working towards their own goals for self-improvement? Not only will it motivate you to fulfill your own health and fitness goals, but you will begin attracting the right people before you know it.
Here’s a profound piece of advice to take away:
“Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people – the ones who really belong in your life – will come to you. And stay.”
Happiness is contagious and when you are happy with yourself, the right people will gravitate towards you and stick around.