One of the questions that I am often asked by email, via Facebook, or during my lectures, is how to permanently end a relationship with someone that is a negative force in a person’s life. I have heard many terms to describe these types of people, but one of my favorites is energy vampire, because the person zaps the life out of you.
A relationship doesn’t have to be romantic to fall into the toxic category.
Ending a relationship can be one of life’s greatest challenges. We all have a few people in our lives that we allow to treat us in a manner less than we deserve. Cognitively we know that if we don’t change something, the result will be the same, but once that music starts, we jump right into the same old dance.
Communication is an important part, if not the most important part, of any relationship. The way you communicate has a major impact on your ability to get along with the various people in your life – spouses, children, coworkers, friends, and neighbors. When communication breaks down, relationships suffer. According to recent research, poor communication is the number one reason why couples (and friendships) break up.
Any relationship worth having experiences conflict at some point. The conflict isn’t the problem (conflict is a natural part of intimacy), how the situation is handled is the determining factor in whether the relationship will deepen or be torn apart.
I was watching television recently when it happened … I saw the first commercial for the Valentine’s Day diamond collection – you know, the gift that every woman will treasure. As I listened to the music and watched as the camera panned the romantic setting, waves of emotion overcame me like a tsunami. At that moment, in my mind, everyone in the world was in a loving, committed relationship and I was going to be the only person sitting home alone on February 14 (most likely eating ice cream).
Realistic assumption? Of course not. But for a few minutes the drama queen in me took over and my emotions ran wild. Fortunately, I was able to reign them in, but the feelings I experienced are very common.
Eight years ago this month, I published the first issue of 24 Seven magazine. I had never untaken anything on my own of such magnitude.
What was once a seemingly crazy idea, has blossomed into more than I could ever have imagined. The magazine’s pages have been graced with the wisdom of so many inspiring and influential thought-leaders; people who are making a real difference in the world. And, each has entrusted me with his or her words.
I spend most days on autopilot, never really grasping the scope of where my brand is going. On some level I understand it, but on another, I am totally amazed.
This morning when I visited our digital hosting site, I learned that the October issue, from this site alone, was viewed more than 739,000 times. Nearly one million people opened my publication. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am humbled to know that this “little” digital magazine is touching so many lives!
I recently learned that my ex husband got engaged. After living for more than three decades with this man in my life, I must admit, hearing this news was a punch in the gut. I spent the next two days with a horrible feeling surrounding me, you know that uneasiness you get in your stomach after someone close passes away? My body was on edge, I shook inside, and could not shed the anxiousness of impending doom. Even with all of the horrific things that transpired between us, I had an emotional reaction to his engagement.
I’m not really sure why I felt the way I did. I knew he was dating someone exclusively and we haven’t been part of each other’s lives for six years (as he severed all ties when he met her), and yet, I felt a tremendous sense of loss. Loss of the life we were supposed to live, loss of the family I so desperately wanted, loss of many dreams.
I thought I had grieved the divorce and moved on, my life is on a wonderful trajectory and I’m happy, but, there I was again, right in the middle of the pain. Divorce truly is the gift that just keeps giving!
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mel Robbins, the creator of the Five Second Rule and author of The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage. According to Mel, we live our lives inside a gap between what’s happening to us and our reaction to it and that gap is about five seconds long. She believes that by implementing her five second rule, which is simply counting back from five to one and then taking action, we can transform every aspect of our life. The premise is that by counting through the five seconds, in which we usually begin to think and allow excuses to come in, we can close the gap, be in control, and override bad patterns in our mind. She says this enables us to take action and to create positive new habits.
How we feel about ourselves dictates the way we live life. It impacts the way we approach just about everything we do. Yet, sadly, many people struggle to believe in their worth and abilities.
Throughout my life, my levels of self-confidence have ebbed and flowed. Growing up I was an overweight adolescent, which had a significant effect on how I viewed myself. When you’re young, external validation is so important and when that is compromised, it can stay with you forever. When I became a teenager, I lost weight, but, to be honest, my self-image didn’t change. The programming was written, and, as I later learned, only I could modify it.
February is the month of the heart, the time when we celebrate love. We buy chocolate, flowers, jewelry, and greeting cards to profess our undying love to that special someone. But, in all the hoopla of the season, perhaps we forget to honor the affection provided by the people that sustain us and enable us to thrive – our friends.
We hear so much about marriages, committed relationships, and romantic breakups, but I believe we neglect to truly understand the dynamics of what may be the most important relationships in our life – friendships.
This time of year, from Thanksgiving through the New Year celebration, is a season that provides for us the opportunity to stop our busy lives for a moment and give thanks for our many gifts and blessings; it’s a time of birth and renewal. No matter what your religion or belief structure, it’s a time when we can come together and celebrate new beginnings.
Often, however, we get so caught up in the festivities that we forget the true meaning of the season; we are so involved in getting everything done, that we miss the message. We may be more cognizant of this fact during the holiday season, but in reality many of us miss the message every day, all year long. We spend so much time worrying about ourselves, fulfilling expectations, and striving to get ahead, that we forget that we are here to love others unselfishly and to help those less fortunate.
Recently, I was in a round table discussion in which we talked about interpersonal relationships. A repeating theme of the conversation was that people felt like they were replaceable, that there was no value given to them and/or a relationship by a friend, partner, family member, or employer.
Hearing so many people express the same feeling made me start to wonder if we have become a society of disposables. It reminded me of an expression my mother used to say: “Out with the old and in with the new.”
It seems like just about every aspect of our life today is disposable. We throw away televisions, computers, clothing, phones, food, furniture, and so much more.
By contrast, when I was growing up, we fixed everything. There was a neighborhood television repairman. We ate leftovers for dinner. We took our shoes to the local shoemaker for new heels. Baby diapers were cloth and appliances were kept until they could no longer be repaired. We drove the same car until it died on the road. And most marriages lasted “until death do us part.”