“Some people are going to love you no matter what you do and some people will never love you no matter what you do so go where the love is.” Eleanor Brown, novelist
There are always going to be people in our lives who love and support us no matter whether they are in our life for a long or short period of time, if we look hard enough, we will find them. Sadly, there are also going to be people we come across that will be filled with so much anger and toxicity that no matter how good a person we are, they will criticize, demean, berate and judge every little thing we do.
The secret to being able to survive those relationships lies in our belief in, and appreciation of ourselves and in being in control of how we react to their words or their behavior. Becoming a person that has learnt through experience that the way in which another person speaks to me or messages me, what they say, the intention behind their words has little if anything to do with me has allowed me to walk away from those types of relationships guilt free. None of it was about me, it has all been about them and what is going on inside of them. It’s true, I have made mistakes and I am not perfect but there has never been any ill intention in anything I have done, and I am more than happy to admit when I have made those mistakes, and I try to learn from each and every one of them.
We often go out of our way to help others, sometimes dropping everything to be there, putting our own lives on hold, or in some cases disadvantaging ourselves financially. We can all be guilty of allowing people to take advantage of our kindness and good nature or our love for them by always being there when they need help. However, at some point in our lives we need to ask ourselves are we truly helping them or are we enabling their toxic behavior. Do we continue to put them first or do we decide to put our own needs first?
Expecting others to respect us is opening ourselves up to be disappointed if we do not respect ourselves. We cannot respect ourselves if we are continually allowing others to take advantage of us. The hardest thing to do is to say NO to a person we love and care about, often the guilt will take over and we will put ourselves back into a bad situation. Learning that until people are ready to acknowledge and accept their part in any situation, they find themselves in, they are always going to be overly critical of those people closest to them, or those people that have chosen to walk away from their toxic behavior. So, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
This is when you have to find the courage to step away, even if it is a family member that you love deeply. This is not about abandonment, although they may throw that suggestion in your face, it is about self-preservation and doing what is right for you. Like on an airplane in an emergency you are told to put the oxygen mask on you before you help others, the same theory applies here. You must look after yourself first. Your own mental health, self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect will only suffer if you continue to allow yourself to be the brunt of another person’s anger, disrespect or toxicity. How can you truly help another if you are not looking after yourself?
Do not feel guilty for expecting others to be accountable for their behavior or holding them to their word. Do not feel guilty if you have to say NO when someone asks for help. Do not allow another to emotionally blackmail you into doing something you do not want to do, or that you know is not in your best interest. When you know you have done your best to help someone, do not allow them to make you feel bad because they had other expectations or believe you did not do enough.
Learn to be strong for yourself, learn to love yourself, learn to put yourself first, just like in an airplane. Ask yourself, would they do the same for you? I sincerely doubt it. So when you have to walk away or even just say NO, remember your super-power is in your ability to realize that any anger they may show is about them and not you and your ability to not react shows them that you are now deciding not to choose them but to Choose YOU and that will bring you peace.
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