Maybe your friend asks you out for lunch and never shows up. Maybe your partner cheats. Maybe your boss doesn’t give you the attention and consideration you need. Whatever it is, it’s essential to know that toxic relationships can be damaging to your mental health and emotional well-being. So, if you feel like you’re around people who don’t value you for who you truly are, there is no point in making them change. You won’t be able to and might become frustrated in the process. The best thing to do is re-evaluate your relationships with those around you. Do you feel taken for granted? Do you feel angry, depressed, anxious? Do you feel like you’re not seen for who you truly are?
If the answer to one of these questions is yes, then you should start a relationship detox. Here’s a guideline on how to do it and succeed without hurting others.
Step 1: Accept reality
“Start paying more attention to your needs. You are, in the end, the sum of your best five friends, including your partner. If they’re not fit for you, you’ll soon change for the worse and stop evolving. Don’t fear change, embrace it. Accepting reality is the first step towards happiness,” writes twiftnews blogger and relationship therapist, Dr. Katie.
The first thing you must do is accept that someone has a toxic impact on your life. This is tricky because it is never easy to do; we want to make excuses for the people around us and give them countless chances. Unfortunately, this can become damaging and harmful, regardless of our good intentions. So, analyze the people in your life that you don’t feel comfortable around. Then ask yourself, why do you feel uncomfortable? And do you really need them around you? If yes, why do you need them?
Step 2: Know yourself
As Aristotle once said, “Know thyself.” Becoming friends with yourself is the next step that you must take. If you are not confident enough in your abilities, you won’t be firm enough to say stop to those who hurt you. Understanding where your emotions come from and how they manifest in reality through behavior is essential.
Analyze yourself and talk to yourself as much as you can. Journaling can help with that. Take a month to just observe how your relationships unfold. When a weird situation pops up, don’t react to it. Just write it down. Write down how you feel in that moment. Re-read your notes one week later, after you’ve calmed down. You’ll be surprised at how much this can help you figure things out.
Step 3: Set your boundaries
You cannot allow people to step on you. Making sure that you have boundaries is important. When we allow toxic people to get too involved in our lives, we become weak and even depressed. Once you set boundaries, respect them. Don’t allow anyone to cross them; the more you allow them to, the less respect you’ll have for yourself. If you don’t want your partner to text you anymore and need a break, let them know sincerely. If they do text you, do not respond. Respect your rules to respect yourself. In the end, you are the only one responsible for making decisions for yourself, so ensure that you’re making the right ones.
Step 4: Avoid people-pleasing
People pleasing means you’re changing your attitude based on other people’s reactions. Do not do that. Stand up for yourself before anything else. Do not be too nice if you don’t need to. Some people literally get their energy from upsetting others, so don’t allow them to be energetical vampires in relation to you. Being too nice makes them take you for granted, which should never happen. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should be mean or cruel, but do not change yourself because other people might be judging you. If they don’t like you, they can walk away. Simple as that.
Step 5: You don’t have a duty to save others
I know this might be hard to hear, but it’s the ugly truth: many people build their lives on saving others. This is neither fair nor smart. It is not your job to save anyone else from their misery, even when they feel like they need to be saved. You can help others once you help yourself. If you are not in harmony with your own self, how can you expect to be of any help to other people? Focus on your needs first and later, you can focus on others. If your friends or family need help, refer them to a counselor or other useful resources. A relationship can only become more toxic when one person gets everything and the other one nothing. Don’t fall in that trap.
Step 6: If it’s done, let go
Now that you’ve reconsidered all of your relationships, it’s time to let go of those that hurt you. Say goodbye to those that bring no benefit to you, it’s really useless to keep those relationships going. They will only consume you. You should always ask yourself, am I getting in return what I am putting in? If the answer is no, then those people are toxic to you. As harsh as it sounds, get rid of them. They should not be in your life if they cannot contribute to it. You deserve more – way more. Move on for good and don’t allow them back in, no matter how much they’re knocking on that door. Let go.
Step 7: Love yourself
The last step is starting to love yourself. Once you got rid of all the damaging relationships, you’ll be free to make new connections based on love and understanding. You’ll have time for yourself and your needs. Some things that could help you live more happily are meditation, yoga, working out, and having deep conversations with positive people in your life. Drink some tea every day and relax – you deserve it.
Following these seven steps will get you going, even if it might take you some time. Make sure that you are determined and stay positive. Do not stop half-way, go all the way if you want to see change. And remember – change is always good. Good luck!