Thursday, January 8, 2015

Loving unhealthy people without getting sick

Christmas morning, a time of joy or a time of frustration?

Living “The Life of Love” is all about loving people everywhere we go, it sounds so nice but as we soon discover is a lot easier said than done. My mother used to say: “human relationships is the hardest thing in life”, and the older I get the more I tend to agree with her. When it comes to loving people it is far from easy at times, even if we know that the ones who deserve our love the least often need it the most.

I love books and by now I have a few favorite books that I like to go back to every now and then for wisdom and advice. One of my favorite books is “Soul Detox” by Craig Groeschel. One of the chapters in Soul Detox is called “Radioactive Relationships: Loving unhealthy people without getting sick.” This time of year, after a big holiday season, I have a feeling many of us could need the advice in this chapter.

Some people make you smile, others suck the energy out of you.

Most of us have at least one person in our family or inner circle who isn’t that easy to love. Although we know that it is our duty to love each other we often find it really difficult. Craig Groeschel have a few tips on how we can manage to love the unhealthy people in our lives without getting sick. Groeschel explains that most “toxic people” are of three different types: the chronic critics, the controllers and the tempters. Whatever the type of unhealthy person you have in your inner circle the first thing you need to do is set some clear boundaries.

It is our mission to love everyone equally, but that doesn’t mean treat everyone exactly the same. The more difficult a person is, the stronger boundaries you will need in the relationship. Craig Groeschel writes: “First, you can tell people. “I won’t let you talk to me or treat me that way.”  Set the boundary, explain where you stand and then stick to it. Be loving but firm as you establish the boundaries.

Next, if the difficult person in your life refuses to respect your boundaries and continues to criticize, tempt or violate you it’s time to seek help. Get together with others in your family or inner circle and decide to show a united front. If this doesn’t help you might need to seek professional help, call a counselor or therapist. If you can’t all attend the visit to a counselor together then go alone and get some advice from a professional on how to deal with conflict.

The last resort will be to cut off this toxic relationship from your life. Cutting off people isn’t something you should use as a way of dealing with conflict on a regular basis, but it might be needed in some extreme cases. If the toxic person in your life continues to criticize, abuse, threaten or harm you there is a real need for you to cut this relationship off. You don’t cut off people in your life just because you are having a difficult time with the relationship. The decision to cut someone off needs to be based on more than difficulty getting along. Once the relationship is so toxic that it has made you mentally unhealthy or is putting you in physical danger there is a need to end the relationship. Don’t tolerate a toxic relationship, cut it off so that nobody gets sick.

The beginning of a new year is a good time to decide to make some changes in your relationships.

Don’t settle for anything less than a relationship where you get treated with respect and love. When you decide to cut off a bad relationship remember why you do it. You cut off a relationship to protect yourself and keep yourself mentally, spiritually and physically healthy. If you are mentally unwell or in physical danger you will spend all your energy on just surviving. You need to be mentally, spiritually and physically healthy to have the time and energy to go out into world and love and care for other people. Don’t let a toxic relationship steal that positive energy and the ability to love others from you.

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