Define relationships in your own terms and in your own words. This way, you will be able to tell who your friend is and who is not, who needs the front seat of your life and who needs to be at arm’s length.
Review your current relationships and declutter. Choose people who share the same values as you, people whose actions and words resonate with what you believe about yourself and the season of your life. Remove people who are not happy to hear about your successes, who highlight your faults and crush your self-esteem, people who are competitive, malicious, condescending, disrespectful and arrogant. Find people who are respectful, kind, and supportive, people who will mentor, uplift, inspire, motivate, complement, and encourage you, people who view you as an equal.
Communicate how you feel. Do not put things off or keep them inside. This results in pent up frustrations and pain converting into bitterness, toxic behavior, or nasty cutting words. It infects all your other relationships and causes you to magnify things and make them seem bigger than they really are. Say what you feel as soon as you know it and release it from your spirit. Let people know how they affect you and release yourself from the bondage of bitterness and unforgiveness. Say how you truly feel without consideration of how it will be received. Confidently own your truth, do not doubt or second guess yourself.
Use the written word as opposed to the spoken word. Let people know you will respond to them via email or messaging options. Give yourself time to sit with something before you say or do something you will regret. Letter writing has an advantage there’s no interruptions, you aren’t afraid to express yourself, you have control of your emotions and can be honest and kind, there’s a surprise effect, you are not misunderstood and you can keep it for future records.
When trust is broken, do not feel bad about ending relationships. This is the normal human reaction. It takes years or months to build trust but only a split second to destroy it. If someone makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, you reserve a right to end the relationship. There is a difference between forgiving someone and continuing with the relationship, sometimes you forgive and forget, sometimes you want to move on. Both decisions are up to you and are valid. Do not force yourself to live a lie for the purposes of continuing with a relationship.
People can only meet you at the level you have met yourself. In other words, how people treat us reflects on how we treat ourselves. Do not be afraid of setting boundaries for how people speak to you and what they speak about. Politely decline invitations to gossip and drama. Use diplomatic exits like “sorry am in a family meeting can we discuss this later?”, or “I get your point of view and I think that it is sad that it happened, do you mind if we talk tomorrow when Barbara is also around, so we could get both your sides of the story”, or “I’d love to come with you for drinks but I have to study tonight, enjoy!”. Do not be afraid to say no, and whenever you say yes to something, make sure you are not saying no to yourself.
Do not feel guilty for demanding that which you are giving. For example, do not feel guilty for expecting and demanding respect if you are being respectful, for expecting and demanding trust, if you are trustworthy. The same goes for everything else. Commitment, love, peace, hard work, transparency, honesty, reliability etc. Relationships are reciprocal. Hold people accountable for their behavior and give ultimatums where necessary (If this does not happen, this will happen) and insist on corrective action. Have a no regrets policy when doing what makes you happy and always put yourself first.
Avoid forming intimate relationships with people from work. This compromises your professional positions and ultimately leads to the misuse of power, work resources and time. If you have to, have intimate relationships with people you can trust and who portray the same morale ethics as you do, people who can effortlessly keep work and personal life separate. Be discerning when meeting new people, do not assume everyone is like you.
Have compassion. Understand that people have different backgrounds and may be ignorant to what you know. Speak to people kindly and politely and let them know your viewpoint and give them a chance to understand, learn, respond, prove themselves or meet you halfway, before writing them off completely.
Remember you are not responsible for other people’s issues. You can only look after yourself. Embrace reality, magnify your strengths, focus on the positives, and pump up on self-care.