Not all relationships are healthy for you. This applies to anyone around you whether they be family members, friends you grew up with, coworkers, religious leaders and so on.

This was a hard lesson for me to accept because I was so invested in pleasing people and making everyone around me happy. Not only did I take responsibility for their comfort, I also became the chief apologist for those who wronged me. Now I know better. Toxic relationships keep you from becoming all you can be. Let go of them and surround yourself with those who have your best interest in mind.

Three ways to help you release the wrong people.

1)  Stop associating with toxic people.

Although this may seem obvious, it is not always easy to detect, especially if they have been around you for a long time. To help me in this effort, I rely on Maya Angelou’s advice;

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Here are ways people show you they are toxic;

–      always critical of you and others

–      manipulative and deceitful

–      never apologize for their actions no matter what they have done

–      always justify themselves or blame others

–      uncaring and supportive of you and what you care for

–      selfish and inconsistent in their behavior. They are kind to you sometimes and other times they treat you like crap.

Angelou was specific in her advice. This means that when you see toxic behavior, even though it may not be directed towards you, it is who they truly are.

2)  Stop thinking of relationships as transactional

Although American business practices have taught us the advantages of selling ourselves to others so they may use our services, there is no upside in this strategy when it comes to our closest relationships.

Viewing relationships for what you can get out of them in return is faulty thinking. The Universe will send you people who will do the same in return.

Be the friend, lover, parent, brother/sister, you want others to be towards you. You will attract the same behavior from others in return. If you don’t, then rely on #1 above.

3)  Stop giving value to people based on their wealth, status or power.

I spent years trying to please those whom I viewed important, a boss, a parent, a societal icon. Surely, I thought, their luster would rub off on me.

I was willing to trade the love coming from wonderful people of many backgrounds, gender, race, sexual preference, etc. for the attention of those whom I viewed as more important. BIG MISTAKE!

What I have learned is that, for those who love and want the best for you, your accomplishments, wealth, status, strength or beauty don’t matter. They genuinely want you to become the best you can be. Your joyful experiences lift them while your painful experiences enlist their encouragement and support. They require nothing in return other than your effort to continue to evolve.

 These are the people you want around. They will help you reach for your highest self.

Going through a difficult life transition?

You might enjoy reading my latest memoir, Catch and Release: One Man’s Improbable Search for True Love and the Meaning of Life. It is my story of starting life over again. Download a PDF of the first 5 chapters of Catch and Release for free.  To order your inscribed copy in either hardcover or paperback, click here ( Catch and Release is also available on Kindle here ( You can also subscribe to my free weekly newsletter on my website and receive motivation and encouragement to help you on your way to recovery.

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