I’m a pleaser. That’s my lot in life. I live to make other people happy. Or at least I used to. I still enjoy when I can bring happiness to other people, but now I don’t do it to the exclusion of my own.
I’m a giver. I don’t feel complete unless I’m contributing to something bigger than myself. Have you read The Giving Tree? Well, I’m the tree. I will give until I have nothing left. Or at least I used to. Now I still feel the need to contribute, but I do so in a way that adds to who I am and doesn’t take away from it.
I’m self-sacrificing. I put other’s needs before my own. My needs are irrelevant next to theirs. Or at least they used to be. Over time, I have learned that I need to take care of myself so that I am better able to take care of others.
I’m forgiving. I permit others to continuously treat me poorly, knowing we all have bad days and that deep down they’re good people. Or at least I used to be. These days I am still happy to forgive the mistakes of others, but those who repeatedly behave in ways that are inconsistent with my standards I choose to forgive but then let go.
I have learned that not everyone needs to stay in our lives forever. There are certain people who come into our lives for a period of time and then move on. There are toxic people who want to stay in our lives that we need to let go.
People who do not share our values, our core beliefs that define who we are, do not belong in our lives, even when we have known them since childhood.
People who do not treat us the way we deserve to be treated do not deserve our love, even if they’re family.
People who choose to drag us down to their level instead of encouraging us to reach for what we want should not be given a space in our hearts, even if they are our only friend.
People who criticize us for changing, for not staying the same person we have always been should be shut out, even if they are parroting our own self-doubts.
As we change, grow, explore, expand, and learn, as we become the people we decide we want to become, we feel guilty letting these people go. We are the ones who changed, not them. Why do we suddenly find fault in those we have known for so long? Who are we to decide they’re no longer worthy of our friendship or love?
As hard as it is, we need to let them go.
We tend to take on the qualities of those around us. If you surround yourself with negative people, you will become negative. If you surround yourself with unhappy people, you will be unhappy. If you surround yourself with toxic people, you will become toxic.
If however we learn that it is healthy to let go of relationships that don’t reflect who we want to be, we can grow more easily. If we remove people from our lives who are holding us back, we will have room to find new friends who will love and encourage us the way we deserve to be.
They don’t want to be saved. Stop trying. You can’t fix them. Focus on yourself instead. Start now.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Toxic