Is there someone in your life who makes you feel worse each time you are around them?
Do you find that you are less confident, more anxious, and exhausted at the very thought of having to interact with this person?
Toxic people can wreak havoc on your life if you are not careful. The problem is that we are conditioned to let such behaviour slide, especially if it comes from close friends, family members, or partners.
It is time to think about toxic people the same way we would approach a harmful substance. Cigarettes have a health warning on the box – the same caution is necessary when dealing with corrosive individuals!
Below are ten ways to finally ditch toxic people and relationships in your life:
1. Learn how to let go
A lot of people misunderstand the meaning of letting someone go. They believe that if you break up with a person or tell them you are no longer friends, you have let go of that individual. It is not true.
Letting go means releasing the past and surrendering those painful memories you associate with the toxic person. It does not mean continually thinking about how that person wronged you, how they should have behaved differently, or how you could give them a second chance.
When you let a person go, it means you are eliminating their presence and influence over your life.
2. Become comfortable being alone
A significant part of why we allow toxic people to remain in our lives is because we are deathly afraid of being alone. I would panic at the thought of spending the entire day without seeing another person.
When I learned to become comfortable being alone, letting go of those people was a lot easier. Now I cherish the days when I do not have to go out of my apartment, as I can spend the whole day organizing my living space, finishing work and reconnecting with myself!
You can read more about that here:
3. Let out all your emotions – but only to yourself
It is tempting to call up or meet the toxic person in your life one last time to tell them how you feel. Trust me when I say that nothing good comes from such encounters. I tried it one or two times, and I left the encounter feeling much worse.
But it is still important to let out your emotions. If you feel angry, betrayed, or disappointed, do not let those feelings stay bottled inside. Write or type out a letter detailing your feelings about the person in question. Then read it and throw it in the trash!
4. Channel your energy constructively
Having to put up with a toxic person for months or years can take a toll on the mind and body. There is so much negative energy pent up, and you may not know how to channel it positively.
What always works for me is exercising. Heading to the gym for an intense workout, taking a high energy yoga or pilates class, using a punching bag for a few minutes or running outside help me release all that energy. I also manage to take care of my health at the same time!
5. Set limits and stand by them
Human beings are complex and unpredictable creatures. We are not always polite to each other. If you get into an argument with someone or they are rude to you one or two times, it does not mean you should cut them out of your life.
What I find helpful is to set limits for how much negative behaviour I am willing to accept from someone.
Think about your limits and then stand by them. If someone you know exceeds those limits then it’s OK to take a break from them or cut them out of your life completely if you wish.
6. Spend your newly found free time wisely
An unintended consequence of cutting toxic people out of your life is having more free time on your hands! I used to view it as a negative, but now I am delighted each time I have free time in my calendar.
Spend the newly found free time on useful pursuits. Do you have a hobby you want to explore? Are you thinking about taking classes to boost your education for your profession? Putting hours into such activities is not only more enjoyable than being around toxic people, but it will also aid the pursuit of your long-term life goals!
You could also spend time making new friends. Check out meetup groups online, visit local coffee shops or bars, go on hikes, or try online matchmaking. There are so many fun ways you can meet fun, exciting, and friendly people to replace the toxicity you cut out of your life!
7. Understand that it was never about you
Whether it is a facet of our personalities or the result of societal manipulation, we have a tendency to blame ourselves when a relationship or friendship turns sour. I would spend hours wracking my brain to understand what I did wrong.
I would beat myself up (figuratively) every time I had a negative encounter.
“I must have said something to set them off.” “I should have been more considerate about their feelings.”
These are the thoughts that would pop into my brain. Do not let the same happen to you! It is vital to know that it was never about you. Toxic people behave the same way with everyone else – it is their personality. There is nothing you could say or do to transform that relationship into a positive one.
8. Eliminate the desire to be correct
Our ego becomes extremely problematic anytime we are around a toxic person. Even though your brain is telling you that each time you are around this individual, something goes wrong, your ego does not want to let it go.
The ego insists that you are in the right. It makes you want to further engage with that person in a bid to prove that you are the superior one, and they are at fault.
But who is such behaviour helping? Are you going to receive a trophy for being “right?”
Part of cutting out a toxic individual from your life is accepting how you left things with them. Move on and stop obsessing about who is right!
9. Stop romanticizing sadness or rage
Popular culture is part of the reason why we are not better at letting go of toxic people and relationships. Watch any relationship comedy or family movie from the past few decades, and you will notice some romanticising of toxicity.
I always have to remind myself that sadness or rage directed at another person is NOT romantic. If your relationship revolves around arguments, shouting matches, and putting each other down, it is unhealthy. The same is true for friendships.
Spending your time crying or stressing due to another person is not romantic – it is entirely unnecessary. Keep the relationships and friendships that are fun, healthy, and pleasant.
10. Take a trip
“Out of sight, out of mind.” It may be a cliche, but it is an accurate one. Depending on the significance of the friendship or relationship you wish to end, taking a vacation may be very helpful!
Cut out the toxic person from your life and head out for the adventure of your dreams! A week of solitude and a break from your routine will help you realize that you only need one person to have a beautiful life – yourself!
Here are some perfect trips you can do alone:
- Thailand Yoga Retreat – Perfect For The Lone Traveller
- Camino De Santiago Guided Tours – The Perfect Female Solo Trip
Say goodbye to toxic people
It’s taken me years to understand how I was allowing toxic people to control my life. I’ve had to examine how I’ve been behaving in those relationships too. I’ve learned some situations you can’t fix and it’s better to look after yourself and walk away.
Only after speaking to a coach and practising self-care did I realize that a significant portion of my anxiety, fear, and stress came from having to be around toxic people.
When I cut them out of my life, it felt like I was a new person!
If there are people in your life who cause you more problems than benefits, it could be time to say goodbye!