I have heard it said that if you want to know what someone’s priorities are, look at how they spend their time and money. We all say certain things are our priority because it sounds good – but the proof is in the numbers.
There is no condemnation in this, of course. Most people spend at least 8 hours a day working, not necessarily because their job is a priority, but because eating is. And people often spend more money than they should when they are deeply unhappy. Nevertheless, to avoid sleepwalking through life, wandering about in an endless rut until death, we must learn to be mindful of how we spend our time and our money. We must also become mindful of who we spend time with and what we choose to talk about.
Have you ever seen someone who is doing quite well in life, happy and reasonably successful – then one day they meet someone, or some group, and the next thing you know they are struggling? It could be an ill-advised but convenient relationship, a toxic friendship, or a draining coworker. These people can seduce us into wasting enormous amounts of time or talking about negative things that drag us down and prevent us from becoming our best selves. We end up spending our time and money doing things that do not support our evolution and impact on the world. We cannot blame these individuals, however, the responsibility is ours.
So, what can we do when we realize we have to cut someone off whose contribution to our lives is consistently negative:
1) Prayerfully consider our motives to make sure we are limiting contact for the right reasons. For instance if you are just mad at them or jealous of them, don’t pretend it’s something else. Own up to it. When the need is legit, the normal emotion is regret. However, you cannot let pity or guilt trick you into keeping the wrong people in your life. You are doing a disservice to yourself and to them. You can still be kind and cordial, just from a safe distance…
2) If the relationship is significant, give them an opportunity to change. Only do this if it is a very significant relationship such as a spouse or close family member. Be honest with them – that you no longer feel you have anything in common. Let them know what you would like to see your relationship become. Listen to them to see if you have misunderstood something or can support them in some specific way. Perhaps there are ways you can both grow together without severing ties. This is a last-ditch effort – and it will become apparent pretty quickly if they are open to this or not.
3) If you have given them every opportunity and all you can see is consistent negativity such as backbiting, cruelty, gossip, sabotage, drama, disregard for your feelings or well-being, etc., prayerfully allow this person to continue along their path without you. To keep going along with something you know is wrong and that hinders your peace and progress is to be disloyal to yourself. You cannot be your best self in this world if you give away your power in foolish ways. You are also enabling the toxic person to continue on in their negative habits.
Many people mistake spirituality for being a doormat. This is not the example of any of the avatars in history. All of them were non-violent people but none of them were doormats. Let’s follow their example and stand in our truth with full integrity.
Have a wonderful week and follow your bliss…