Take a minute and think about the people with whom you spend time.
Why is this important?
The energy of the people around you has an impact — on your mood, your confidence, your outlook and your overall wellbeing.
And you get to choose with whom you engage.
Sure, there are some people in your life who may challenge you and with whom your connection is somewhat fixed. Family members, neighbors, and coworkers come to mind. Even in such relationships, making adjustments to the way you engage is possible.
I have had many clients, all accomplished women, tell me they have hung on to — and tolerated — relationships and “friendships” that drag them down. People who are needy, or judgmental, or envious (if not jealous), and who are takers more than givers. Some of those people demonstrate resentment for the positive changes they see my clients making, and are subtly critical, or try and seed doubts.
We’ve all had people like this come in and out of our lives.
If a relationship with such a person has been in place for a long time (a childhood friend, a pal from college, a colleague from the past) — or even with someone who recently came into your life — it’s easy to feel stuck with it. You may feel guilty just thinking about initiating a change.
But you owe it to yourself to change things that impede your ability to live your best life. And sometimes that means pruning relationships.
Pruning a shrub can mean cutting it back to make it healthier. And sometimes the shrub needs to be replaced, or needs to be removed for more light to fill your garden.
And so it can be with relationships.
Here’s what to do if you are thinking of someone who is not a positive force in your life.
Start with some mindset work to help you get clear
Set aside some time to get clear about the issues you have with that person. You need to be honest about problematic issues.
Self-love will help if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable embarking on this process. Check out some self-love information and advice I've shared before and see how focusing on some solid self-love can help you navigate this exploration.
Next, try this process
1. To take an honest look at the concerns you have about your interactions with this person, make a list or do some free writing to pour out your thoughts. Fill a page or two with everything on your mind.
2. If you determine that this relationship is sub-optimal, it’s time to get really clear about how making a change in the relationship will support your wellbeing.
A good way to do that is to make a new two-column list. On the left side, write the costs to you of staying in relationship with this person as you are now. On the right side, list the benefits you will experience if you initiate a change.
3. If you are clear that you would be better off without the negative impact of a trying relationship, and are willing to make a commitment to initiate a change, consider asking yourself these big questions:
Do I want to set a boundary, to stay in contact but with less frequency?
Do I want to disengage completely?
These questions may make you feel a bit shaky. Just sit with them for now. You do not need to rush into action, or fuss about what action to take.
I will guide you to moving forward on a pruning process — to set new boundaries, or to disengage — in my next post.
Until then, leave a comment me and share what insights you have about the people with whom you are choosing to surround yourself — in every part of your life.
Who are the people who truly support you, believe in you, and want only the best for you?
And who may need to be pruned to allow you to truly thrive?