“Use great care in choosing your friends and relationships. Life is too precious to spend it with the wrong people.” ~ Melvin Rainey
Last Friday was my dad’s birthday and in his memory, I wanted to talk about one of the many lessons he always taught me. In many ways, January 1 is just another day on the calendar, but it is also a time when we ponder new beginnings and set new paths and goals for our lives. Our personal relationships are an often overlooked bad habit that never seems to get the attention that is needed.
The truth is, it’s very easy in life to find yourself surrounded by and immersed in toxic relationships with toxic negative people. They’re all around us and it’s easy to allow them stay embedded in our lives. Maybe it’s an old friend you knew in school that somewhere along the way, made some wrong turns and bad decisions in their life and sent them spiraling down the wrong road. Or maybe it’s an abusive spouse or significant other that we care about so we tell ourselves, “they’ll change”, but we know they won’t. Maybe it’s even a relative; a sibling that fell in with the wrong crowd or that sister-in-law that never heard of a subject she couldn’t complain about. The problem with these associations in our lives is, because we often care about them, we think we can help them change. The reality is, they are like an anchor on our own lives, dragging us into the abyss.
Everyone deserves happiness in their life. Everyone deserves at least a chance at success. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and not used for the convenience of others. Anchors in your life will only keep you from having these things.
I want to be clear about one thing; I’m not talking about people who are ready to make a change in their lives and are reaching out to you for support. By all means, these people need stability and positive influences. Be that person they can count on for support. No, I’m talking about people who have no desire to change their status in life. They’re happy with where they are and they want you to stay there with them. This can’t happen if you want to make positive changes in your own life.
Over the years, I’ve learned the value of what my dad was trying to teach me. Once a relationship is formed, it grows and becomes more and more difficult to see the damage it may be doing to us. Because we have a personal relationship with someone and deep feelings for that person, it can be very difficult to admit to ourselves that they are like a disease on our own lives and they only way to cure that disease is to remove it completely. By giving it support, you’re only serving to enable the disease to become even stronger and to drag us down even further. Making that self admission is hard enough, actually cutting those ties with someone you care about can be even more difficult, but is sometimes necessary for our own good.
As we look ahead to the New Year, identify the anchors in your life that are dragging you down. You’re not a bad person just because you take measures to protect yourself and take steps to gain the life you want. Isn’t it time you started enjoying the life you deserve? What steps will you take to free yourself from the anchors that might be dragging you down?
Monty Rainey is a District Manager working in the self storage industry since 1996 and currently overseeing 21 stores in the Austin & San Antonio, TX area. He is also a leadership coach and public speaker. For a free consultation, please contact Monty at 830-743-2139 or visit his website at http://www.montyrainey.com .
- How to Handle Toxic Relationships (everydayhealth.com)