Sometimes we find ourselves in damaging relationships that we find it difficult to get ourselves out of. These kinds of relationships can have a tremendously negative effect on our mental, spiritual and even physical health and the longer we stay in them, the more dire the consequences can be.
Our involvement in such relationships isn’t always down to choice. For instance, a toxic relationship with a family member or work colleague who refuses to reconcile leaves us few options without taking drastic steps. But that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to distance ourselves from damaging friendships or intimate relationships. These can be just as hard to move on from.
Taking steps to distance ourselves from those who don’t have our best interests at heart can take time and a lot of effort. But our journey to moving past the pain can be made more manageable if we do (or avoid doing) certain things.
Here are four do’s and don’ts of distancing yourself from the damaging effects of bad relationships.
DON’T underestimate your value
One of the biggest mistakes that we can make when it comes to how we see ourselves is to underestimate our worth. Realizing that we deserve better and that better exists out there for us is an important step in distancing ourselves from those who only make negative contributions to our lives.
Sometimes people who hurt us use our past failures to define us but God is able to look past them and see us for who we really are. Viewing ourselves as God sees us will help us redefine our value in better terms.
DO extend forgiveness
The pain and hurt that we experience as a result of a damaging relationship can linger for a lot longer once we’re no longer in the relationship but are yet to forgive. Unforgiveness effectively tethers us to that toxic relationship way beyond its expiry date.
We shouldn’t think of forgiving someone as a sign of weakness, it’s the exact opposite. It takes great strength to forgive, especially in circumstances such as these.
We’re made stronger when we forgive because we’re no longer weighed down by the burden of anger and animosity towards the person that made us unhappy.
DON’T hold out for an apology
Waiting for someone to apologiZe stagnates us. It also shows that we’re not ready to forgive unless certain conditions are met.
We know that we can forgive without receiving an apology but sometimes we still put forgiveness on hold because we expect or feel that we deserve one.
Forgiveness is an act which frees us so it makes sense that we don’t have to wait for someone else to do something in order for us to take matters into our own hands and move on.
You can exercise your freedom and forgive in the absence of an apology.
DO build up your existing healthy relationships
Whether it’s because of a failure to spend time nurturing them due to the distraction of the damaging relationship or an inability to realize how necessary they are, good networks often suffer when someone is consumed by an unhealthy relationship.
It’s vital to have a positive support network on hand to help us rediscover our joy and what it means to be part of loving and uplifting relationships.
Why not seek out any good friends which you’ve lost contact with and work to rebuild bridges with those who you neglected.