Let It Go

“When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth, just like you did.” - Unknown

As the year is getting ready to close and we begin to think about goals for 2019, I believe it’s vital to think about the people who are with us on our journey. Why? Because no matter how hard you work or how strongly you believe in a dream, the people you associate with will either help you or hurt you. Have you ever met someone with so much potential, but you know the people they are around are distracting them from being all they can be? Well, the truth is, often times, that’s also us.

We’ve all had toxic people around us at one point or another. You may be dealing with a toxic person in this season of your life that is causing you more harm than good. From all the books and articles I’ve read to the podcasts and interviews I’ve listened to on toxic relationships, here’s my two part definition of a toxic individual. A toxic person is 1. one who causes harm and hurt to another; one with a pessimistic attitude. And 2. when they are in close proximity (in the social circle) of another individual, they will poison their thinking, which in turn results in toxic behavior.

Let’s use Poison Ivy as an example here. It looks gorgeous on the stem, has a wonderful oak-earthy scent, and harmlessly blends beautifully into nature. But just because it looks pretty, seems harmless, and smells good, doesn’t make it less poisonous. If you touch it, your body will begin to react soon after. So here’s the question I pose to you today: is there anyone currently in your circle that fits this definition? And if so, why are you holding on to them?

Anytime I’ve held on to toxic relationships, I’ve found myself falling into negative behavioral habits. I’ll tolerate gossip and murmur, I let my mind race to places it shouldn’t, I begin to question the loyalty of friendships around me, and I tend to have a negative and bitter attitude. Not only that, but I find myself under more mental stress and anxiety. The moment I’ve disconnected from those relationships - even if it’s just for a week! - it’s like a weight was lifted! It’s in those moments that I’ve had to have a “talk” with myself and tell myself, “It’s time to let it go.”

Now, that’s not to say that the aftermath is easy. The risk you run in letting go of toxic relationships is the truth of the quote above. Remember, hurt people, hurt people. In other words, if someone is bitter and resentful, the only thing they can produce is bitterness and hurt to others. Unforgiveness is a deadly poison to one’s soul which is why choosing to forgive, even when you aren’t in the wrong, is the most liberating gift you can give to yourself. Forgiveness is not for the other; it is for the benefit and freedom of your heart, mind, and soul.

As we approach 2019, I want to challenge you to evaluate the people in your current circle. If you plan to go farther next year, then you’ve got to get rid of the toxic waste. And if you sense that you may be (or are becoming) the toxic person in someone’s circle, check your heart. What are you holding on to that is weighing you down and won’t allow you to move forward? Who have you not forgiven that is disabling your mind and heart from experiencing relief?

Remember, no one will do for you what you have to do for yourself. You deserve the opportunity to live a life of peace with yourself and others. Let it go and breathe relief!