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Forgive – but don’t forget.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting the behavior or approving of it – it means that you’re not going to be controlled by it any more.

The world is full of people whose behavior is breathtakingly damaging. That doesn’t mean that we have to open ourselves up to the damage. Don’t forget the way people treat you – for better or worse – and use that to help you live with clarity and resolve.

The secret to living well means living deliberately. Knowing the signs of toxic behavior and responding deliberately and in full clarity to toxic people will reduce their impact and allow you to keep yourself whole and empowered – and you’ll always deserve that.

The reason that toxic people are often in crisis is because they are masterful at creating them. It’s what they do – draw breath and create drama. You’ll be called on at any sign of a crisis for sympathy, attention and support, but you don’t have to run to their side. Teach them that you won’t be a part of the pity party by being unemotional, inattentive, and indifferent to the crisis. Don’t ask questions and don’t offer help. It might feel bad because it’s not your normal way, but remember that you’re not dealing with a normal person.

You don’t need to explain.

No is a complete sentence and one of the most powerful words in any language. You don’t need to explain, justify or make excuses. ‘No’ is the guardian at your front gate that makes sure the contamination from toxic people doesn’t get through to you.

You can’t reason with toxic people – you just can’t. That’s one of the things that makes them toxic. Decide where you stand, and then stand strong. You don’t need to do any more than that. They will try to make you bend, flex and break at the seams. Because you have an open heart, the thought that someone might misunderstand you, disapprove of you or dislike you might get to you, but remember that you’re not dealing with someone who is motivated by what’s good for you or your relationship. It’s always about them and it always will be. Decide that sometimes you’re going to make it about you. It’s what you deserve.

Toxic people will have you bending over backwards and tied with a barbed wire ribbon to keep you there. What will keep you stuck is playing over and over in your head the vastness of their screwed up behavior. It will keep you angry, sad and dis empowered. If you have to make a decision that you’d rather not make, focus on the mess that’s it’s cleaning up, not the person who is making your life hell.

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Don’t focus on their negative behavior – there’s just too much there to focus on and it will never make sense to you anyway

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