I was talking with some friends the other day and we were talking about new year’s resolutions for 2017. The usual ones came up, get fitter, lose weight, drink less, don’t spend as much time in front of a screen etc. As we went around one of the actions on a friend’s checklist was ‘to reduce the amount of toxic relationships I have’.
This sparked me to think that this would be a perfect time of year to talk around relationships, what they get us and how they change over time. I’ve been meaning to write about this area and I’m sure I will write much more on it as I find myself discussing with people more and more. It seems that it is a pivotal point in how their thinking shifts from reacting to the effects of a situation to taking charge and being at cause for their actions. This is all relationships that we have, business, social, family, personal and intimate ones.
“the amount of toxic relationships I have”
When I started my journey into NLP I had the view of learning some skills to be able to help facilitate people to overcome issues and obstacles that were holding them back in their life. As I went along my NLP journey it became apparent that this would be more than just a course. It was to be the start of a massive personal development journey. By the end of my practitioner course a lot of stuff had changed around for me from my career to the relationships I was having. For the next few months afterwards I found that relationships that ultimately didn’t matter to me were getting dropped and the ones that did matter to me I was investing more time in. I know for some people this might seem like common sense but for me this was a mind-blowing change to my previous thinking. As a result of that process I found I was happier, felt relieved and wasn’t on edge all the time.
I completely got where my friend was coming from with their new year’s resolution. How when some people might think that cutting people out of your life might seem heartless, it can be a positive experience. We’ve all had a ‘toxic’ relationship at some point in our life, or rather a relationship that wasn’t serving our needs and giving us what we wanted out of it. A lot of us will also stay in those relationships because the known is better than the unknown, we don’t want to make that decision that we’ll regret. For some it might be that they feel they can’t leave, maybe that they feel obliged to stick around. It’s a topic that everyone is going to have their own views on, what makes a relationship ‘toxic/ unequal’ and what doesn’t. I think the best way to surmise an unequal relationship is as ‘a relationship that is not mutually beneficial for the parties involved’. In business this is easier to see as the cards are put on the table and intentions are stated as to what the parties want in the transaction. Intimate, personal and social relationships are typically more complex as it is rarer to get people stating what they want out of these types of relationships up front.
I was happier, felt relieved and wasn’t on edge all the time.
By far the most important of all of these relationships and the relationship that you need to sort out if you feel you aren’t getting what you want out of it is the relationship that you have with yourself. Do you have a healthy relationship with yourself that builds you or do you have a destructive relationship? If you have a box of doughnuts in front of you are you thinking ‘don’t eat all of them, you’re fat’, ‘no one will ever love how I look so I’m not losing anything by eating them.’ Are you in a place where you’re beating yourself down for things, sabotaging and pursuing self-destructive behaviour? I use health as an example here but this can translate across to other areas of our lives and it does cause a ripple effect. The ‘toxic’ beliefs that we think about ourselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and they echo in our actions and the way we speak. We project out into the world what we think about ourselves which is why our mindset is such an integral part of our success and our demise.
When people have a balanced and positive perspective of themselves then they make consistently better choices for themselves and the goals that they want to achieve. This is reflected in how they manage their relationships, whether it is the internal beliefs of themselves or the external social, business and intimate relationships that they engage in. The positive ones that reinforce their internal beliefs are engaged with more and the old relationships that were regarded as ‘toxic’ or unequal fade away as they no longer resonate with their beliefs. The positive perception of themselves is projected out and attracts relationships that want the same or are in the same place.
The relationships that you have with yourself and with others reflect characteristics you connect with, either because you have the same or you want them. Make sure that at the start of this year you look at the relationships that are serving you and propagate the ones that are bringing you value and serving you.
Check out some similar blogs that we’ve written on the subject of professional relationships.