Toxic – the new buzz word.
Some of the popular phrases going around are:
· Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out!
· Remove the toxic people from your life and surround yourself with people that lift you up & challenge you to be better.
· You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life.
To be honest, I have struggled with this….
How do you just get rid of people? Regardless if they are family, friends or co-workers, we are encouraged to let them go or get them out of our lives. And the clincher? Don’t feel guilty.
Yeah. Sure, that’s easy. Easier said than done!
Reminds me when I went on a walk with a dog trainer a few years ago. I wanted to learn how to “walk” my two Labrador Retrievers without looking like a dog sled being drug behind them. Thus, I called an expert. With just a few guidelines and a new collar, we were out the door. Within two house lengths my obnoxious dogs had disappeared and walking before me were well-trained dogs. It was unbelievable!
The trainer told me that I could teach my dogs to walk without a leash. My instant response was, “Oh no! I don’t want to do that. What about other dogs running up to them?” His answer was remarkable. “Dana, if your dog has nothing to prove, it will not fight. It takes two to fight. If your dog knows his rightful place and is secure in himself, he won’t fight.”
Just then we passed a house that had two large dogs furiously barking and jumping at the fence. The owner of the dogs walked out into her front yard and started pointing her finger at us, yelling that it was unjust to put a choke chain collar on a dog.
Hmmm. I thought to myself…
· My dogs are on a pleasant walk.
· They are enjoying themselves and minding me quite well.
· But your dogs are viciously barking and wanting out of their yard…
· But I am being unfair because of their collars?
The trainer then explained to me that IF those dogs got out, they would come charging over here to fight. Because they have something to prove! But if a dog is trained, he will simply sit down and not be aggressive.
Today, I find myself trying to sit down and not want to rip someone’s head off. Because I am insecure – I want to fight. I want to prove that I am right and they are wrong. Like that woman in my neighborhood, someone is pointing an accusing finger at me. They don’t know the facts, they don’t know me, but feel free to spew hurtful words. And the sad thing is – others listen and believe it.
Every time this happens to me, my heart feels punctured.
Today, I thought while I learn to differentiate in my mind the truth from lies that:
A toxic life is fueled by toxic thoughts. Stop feeding your mind poison.
Sometimes that poison is listening to the lies.
While, I can’t change anyone else, I can change me. Instead of permitting toxic venom to take its toll in my mind, I must learn to not let it ruin me. Too often I allow other’s toxic thoughts to spill and do damage.
What do I do?
1. Seek help.
Proverbs 8:14 – Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power.
2. Apply what I learn.
Psalm 2:2 – Turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding.
3. Make changes.
Romans 16:17 – watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
Sadly, if that means removing someone or something, let it be.
Personally, I pray that after I have detoxed from my own negative emotions by learning who I am… and no longer affected or damaged by another’s poison, I can be friends again. Until then, I can accept it takes time to heal, and be confident it’s okay to separate myself.