When the TOXIC PEOPLE are in your INNER CIRCLE

There are countless articles written about how to cut out the toxic friends, colleagues and acquaintances in your life (I have myself written many such articles). But the fact remains, it’s not always possible to banish certain negative folks because they’re part of the family or relatives or your inner circle. What can you do when you can’t cut ties with certain people and yet find them impossible to be with? Here are some strategies: 1) Recognise that you cannot change THEM. Neither can you change your relationship with them. But you can change how you react to their words/behaviour. 2) Figure out which topics lead to maximum drama and whenever possible, avoid bringing up that topic. Aha! But no matter how hard you try to stay away from certain issues, you can trust the nay-sayers to find their way back to the sensitive topic. At such times, recognise the trap and side-step it. Many people begin arguments for the sake of it and then sit back and watch the fun. But once you start recognising the trap, it’s easy to avoid being the scapegoat. 3) Know your emotional triggers….that is, know which things easily upset you, annoy you, depress you. Chances are, the troublemakers around you have already figured out (before you) what drives you mad. Does the topic of being a home maker when everyone around you is focused on their career upset you? Maybe mentioning weight problems triggers rage in you. Or perhaps, hearing those closest to you blame you for your choice of spouse sends you into depression. Whatever your unique and personal trigger, come to terms with it. Recognise what specific things make you lose your temper or make you weep. It’ll be much easier to tackle those who try to take advantage of that vulnerability in you. 4) Pick your personal cheerleaders’ squad – Always have at least 1 or 2 people (doesn’t matter which part of the world they live in) whom you can call at any time of day or night to make you believe again in yourself. 5) Discover that one skill you’re good at and then work at it until you become very very good at it. You may wonder why this is important. It’s much easier to be forgiving and tolerant of the toxic people in your life when you have rock-solid faith in your own ability to stand on your own two feet if you some day have to. If you don’t yet know your specific talents, become curious about trying out new skills and opportunities. Only by trial and error and the process of elimination will you find out. 6) Begin writing a gratitude journal each night without fail. Just before going to bed, write 3 things that happened that day for which you’re truly grateful. This is a clever trick to keep you searching throughout the day for things that’ll eventually become journal entries. It’s the easiest way to seek the positive. 7) And lastly, remember that your brain listens to instructions ONLY FROM YOU. Not from your spouse, your in- laws, friends, colleagues….ONLY FROM YOU. It will believe what you tell it to believe. So, no matter what the people around you say to you all day, make sure you write your own script before giving it to your sub-conscious. The Buddha once said: ‘We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows…Like a shadow that never leaves.’ PS: This is by no means a be-all and end-all guide on tackling the negative forces around you. Merely a humble attempt to provide helpful strategies that might make navigating this puzzle called Life a little easier.

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