When it gets Toxic~

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Toxic people defy logic.

According to Travis Bradbury, Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, ” Toxic people are blissfully unaware  of the negative impact they have on those around them and often times they thrive on creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way they create unnecessary strife and worst of all stress!”

Most people have known or worked with (or are related to) someone who just seems to spread negativity everywhere. Examples include a work associate who constantly complains about how poorly the company is run or a friend who can never seem to see the good in anything (and who never hesitates to tell you all about it). These are the toxic people in your life.

After a conversation with a toxic person, your mood probably will be lower.  Does this bring anyone or any situation to mind?

So how do you spot a toxic person?

Do you know someone who always make brings you down? Think about this person. Is he or she a complainer? Someone who always expects things to go wrong? Someone who constantly finds fault with you and others? Does he or she always seem more cheerful once they’ve gotten their frustrations off their chest and into your ear?

If any one or more of these is true, you likely interacting with a toxic person.

Truly, if that toxic person (people) are family members and friends, it’s likely to be more difficult to avoid challenging interactions altogether. We all rub shoulders with toxic people.  So, we have some choices to make!  Do we allow ourselves to be silent sufferers under the weight of their regular negativity? OR do we learn to navigate them wisely as to protect and preserve our own emotional health and well-being?  If you choose the latter, here are a few tips:

Set limits on time and proximity with a toxic person, have boundaries. – A toxic person wants you to listen to them and often we do because we don’t want to be rude, but there is a fine line between being sympathetic and getting sucked into their emotional vortex.  Travis Bradbury uses the example that “IF the toxic person were smoking would you stay there and breathe in their 2nd hand smoke?  Of course not, we would all find away to excuse ourselves as quickly as possible!! ”  We should use that same urgency with toxic people.

Keep your EQ (ability to rise above) high when interacting with toxic people. – Toxic people tend to be reactive and emotionally irrational. They may have a need to win every verbal battle and find it pleasurable when they can see they’ve brought you down to their level. Rise above!!  Is this really a battleground you want to die on? Is this an argument worth winning? Walk away from the chaos before getting sucked into their negative dialogue.

Don’t let toxic people limit your Joy! – When toxic people see “boats rise”, when they see ongoing success and joy in others they often become opinionated, sarcastic, or just simply negative. Don’t let them steal your joy from you!  That age-old term “consider the source” would apply here!  In times of celebration surround yourself with life-giving people who are for you!! Call in the troops!! But never allow a toxic person to have the power in your life to squelch your joy!

Lastly, be kind. – we all have a story and I have learned one thing to be true about toxic people,  many of them have a mountain of baggage, disappointment, and rejection hooked to their souls like a ball and chain.  YES, we need boundaries, YES, we need to stay out of toxic conversations, and YES we need to not allow them to steal our joy…..but showing grace and kindness may give a toxic person something to ponder.  It’s possible!

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For Women Only!

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If you have followed my blog for any length of time then you know that there are certain themes that I will write on time and time again; hopefully expressing thoughts in fresh ways. The “rule of seven” tells us that a person generally needs to hear a concept at least 7 times before really grabbing ahold of the concept and applying it to their lives.  So please indulge me as I take another stab at a truth that I know to be very, very important!

LADIES!  I give you permission today to take as good care of yourself as you do for all the others in your lives!

As a young woman, I was a pastor’s wife, friend, sister, daughter, church volunteer, school volunteer, house-keeper, cook, and mama to two active boys; how I wish I had been told how impacting it would have been if I had figured out some way to establish self care  in those days! So often I was exhausted, unhealthy, and even a bit isolated in my closest relationships….I was just so busy.

Let me explain Self-Care a little better:

“Self care includes any intentional action an individual takes to care for their physical, mental, relational, and emotional health.”
Good food, water, exercise, and good sleep patterns are  key to maintaining vibrant energy and outlook.
Life giving friends, healthy boundaries, quality support,  and cup-filling activities help to keep our emotional health strong.
Having proven ways to relax, taking time to journal thoughts and concerns, growing in the area of faith, listening to positive information rather than focusing on the negative, and learning to nap are all elements that support sustainable mental wellness.
Building good friendships, gathering with other women in your season of life, enjoying “girl time” where you can laugh deeply, and having a “posse” of women who you know have your back, strengthens our sense of connectedness and relational health.
Here’s an action step:
If you look at your calendar, personal and professional, and you don’t see yourself represented there on any given day–it’s time!
* a spa day
* a girl’s night out
* a nap
*time at the gym
* time with God
*time with a good book
*hiking in the great outdoors
*crafting
* and saying no to some good things to use your greatest energy for the BEST things.
10WaysToSayNo         ( just for you)
Permission Granted Again. ( you are worth it )
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Empty Tank?

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 Your tank is empty because you drained it.

While driving my car I tend to forget all about my gas tank UNTIL the red light goes on and alerts me to the fact that I am running low on gasoline. I respond according to my personality by waiting a day or two “certain” that I’m not that low and the car can run a little longer.

Unfortunately, so many of us run ourselves that same way with the exception that the  warning that we are “getting low” on fuel may look like exhaustion, challenged relationships, a health crisis,  or even depression.

Just like in my car I am the one responsible to fill up my own gas tank.

Emails, phone calls, to-do lists, and texts force us to continually engage in on-going information 24-7.  When are we done with work?  When will we walk away from all the “screens” in our lives and take a walk or engage in a hobby that re-fuels us? Perhaps today we need to declare out-loud ” I give myself permission to rest.”

As a Coach I often use the example given on the airplane by the stewardess: ” in a crisis place the oxygen mask on yourself before attempting to help anyone else!”  Have you made yourself a priority on your calendar? Do you have weekly practices that keep your “tank” above the EMPTY line? What are the activities that drain your “tank”?  Is there anything you need to stop or start in order to maintain a healthier balance?

Take a moment today consider your energy level.  Is there a RED LIGHT on that you are ignoring?   Remember, you are responsible to manage your own “gas tank” so “Fill’er up!”  🙂

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I Can’t Breath!

When the door to the plane closes you will always hear the words ” …and when the oxygen mask falls make sure you put the mask on yourself before attempting to help someone else with theirs.” We get so used to hearing the steward/stewardess say these words that we may not truly understand what a profound life principal this is!

As a former Pastor’s wife and presently a Life Coach I have often found myself attempting to serve and help others when I am depleted myself. This kind of service to others is not sustainable.  I become weary, overwhelmed, and even resentful of the very people I have been caring for.

I have learned a great deal about self care over the bast 10 years and have been practicing giving myself needed permission to take time to re-fuel and re-charge my energy with rest, recreation, reciprocal relationships, and spiritual renewal.

Serving others is such a worthy focus for all our lives; there is great joy in making a difference in our families, communities, and even the world. However, we cannot consistently give out of an “empty cup”.

Assess your life today.  Are you depleted of “oxygen”? Do you need permission to take time for your own self-care? Permission granted!! What can you change today that would help you re-charge and refuel? Exercise? Earlier bedtime? Quality food? Time alone? Time with God?

Just like it is expressed on the plane~If there isn’t air in YOUR lungs you cannot give good oxygen to anyone else.

Mark 12:31 says;  Love your neighbor AS yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than this.”     (not INSTEAD of yourself – 🙂   )

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