This may seem like an odd question. “I don’t have people”, you might say. “I have friends, family, co-workers but I don’t think of them as my people”.
“My people” is just a phrase that refers to those you spend the most time with—at home, work, and having fun. The people you confide in, love, live and interact with. From time to time it’s good to take a look at these people, individually, to evaluate how they impact your life. It might be easy (and safe) to say that everyone in your life is awesome…supportive….helpful. If so, I’d like to have your people as my people.
Because when you think about it honestly, can you really put everyone in your life in the “awesome, supportive, and helpful” category? Not likely.
When surrounded by people that fall into the “awesome” category, your self-esteem is higher, your confidence soars, and your negative self-talk is kept quiet. These are people that love and like you…despite youy mistakes and weaknesses. These are people that love and like themselves as well. They don’t play games, aren’t jealous or spiteful. They see your best qualities and remind you what they are. They minimize your weaknesses and failures and remind you that you’re wonderful no matter what.
People that struggle with their own worth and live in fear of their own weaknesses and failures can be toxic to you well-being. Identifying these people is necessary so you can make intentional decisions about how and when to interact with them. It’s not always possible or advisable to simply cut others out of your life. However, you can arm yourselves appropriately to deal with them when necessary.
Seven Ways to Deal with Negative or Toxic People
- Understand that their criticism and negativity is NOT about you (even though you may be the current target).
- Understand that there is history behind their behavior and feelings (their lack of self-worth, their childhood, previous negative relationships…)
- Avoid confrontations and defensiveness. You may have logic on your side but when dealing with someone who is fighting inner turmoil, the effort will be frustrating and futile
- Remove yourself from the situation. Comments such as “lets agree to disagree”, “I hear you and appreciate your thoughts, now let’s move on”, let’s not discuss this right now, let’s enjoy our time together”, could help diffuse whatever is coming your way.
- Remind yourself that you DO NOT need to act, solve a problem or own what is happening.
- Minimize your time with people that are toxic or avoid situations that bring out the worst in them.
- Rarely, depending on the situation, it might be necessary to simply remove someone from your life.
Go forth…find your AWESOME people, your tribe, your peeps and know that’s where you belong.