Your interpersonal relationships play such a huge role in your life, both in the short and long term. Handled wrong, this can be a recipe for disaster for the direction you want your life to head in. But as with all things, well-handled and well-tempered interpersonal relationships can ultimately help you. Join host, Kat Nieh, as she discusses how to handle all the ins and outs of interpersonal relationships—whether with family or friends—and how you can make it so that these relationships are healthy and beneficial to you.
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[EPISODE 18] – Your Environment Matters—The People Edition
Merry Christmas, and happy holidays! I recorded this episode with specifically today in mind. Whatever you believe in or don’t believe in, regardless today is simply a day you’re spending quality time with your loved ones, family, friends—you are with people.
A part of being human is being social and building relationships with others. Growing up, we learned from our family, role models, and friends as to how to interact with each other. You’ve picked up good habits and poor ones as well. You have consciously modeled them, or you purposely reject what they do and chose to do the opposite instead. Your personality, your temperament, your communication style, and your reactiveness are all a blend of what you have uniquely crafted from these various impactful interactions you had with people. That’s why the title of this episode is Your Environment Matters—The People Edition, because people in your environment matter.
Unless you are living alone on a desert island, you are interacting with people on a regular basis. I want to quote Jim Rohn, who is a motivational speaker. He has famously said, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” With that quote in mind, who are the people you spend most of your time with? Do you enjoy being with those people? Do they make you a better person or worse? Are there people you’d rather remove from your life?
If you read the last episode, Your Environment Matters—The Clutter Edition, this is part two of the three-part series of purge-to-better-your-life education series. This is a book reading with my additional commentary from my book, Dear Workaholics. You could get your own physical or digital copy on Amazon if I have intrigued you with my content. For those who have purchased my book, I want to say thank you so much for your support. I absolutely appreciate you all. Also, I would love to get your feedback or hear your story, too. Feel free to leave your comments below at the end of this post or reach out via Instagram.
This is Chapter 8.4—Release Negative External Influences.
I started off this chapter with this quote from Kristin Armstrong that says, “Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.”
It is time to evaluate the people in your life and other external influences that are subconsciously bringing you down. This is probably the hardest of the three areas to purge, but also pretty crucial as well.
Building connections with each other is a cornerstone of being human. We’re all social beings (yes, even you introverts out there). We’re highly susceptible to each other’s influence. And this is your choice.
It is your choice as to who you’re investing your valuable time with. It is your choice to give them permission to influence you. And it is your choice to keep them in your life or let them go. People come in and out of our lives. There’s no way we can keep every single person we meet in our lives. Even our Facebook friends list has limit.Building connections with each other is a cornerstone of being human. Click To Tweet
There’s a saying that there are 3 types of people that will always come into your life: (1) for a reason, (2) for a season, or (3) for a lifetime. There will be people who will always stick around, ones where you meet up and it’s like time never passed, and ones that fade away from your life. You only have a limited amount of attention and time for socializing anyway. Spend it on people who make you happy!
When someone leaves your life, remember that they have already left their mark on you. They shared great memories with you or taught you something about life. Be grateful for their presence no matter how long it’s been. With their departure, it makes space for someone even better to come into your life. Who knows, if it’s the right timing, your paths could cross again in the future.
[ Additional thoughts ] People will come in and out for life. You could not control what other people do. You don’t want to force someone to stay if they want to leave. Also, you have the choice to decide if you want someone in your life or not. Everyone has a choice and we should respect that.
When someone leaves your life, instead of holding on to any resentment or memories of the what-ifs, be grateful for what they brought to your life, whether it’s good memories or good lessons. What did that person teach you about yourself? What did he or she teach you about what you value or desire in your life? How will you bring those learnings into your next relationship or friendship or business relationship?
I know this takes practice. This was something that I took some time to learn, but it is worth it. It all starts from having the awareness, to having the willingness, and then the endurance to push through even when it feels painful to dig deep to discover these learnings. It is absolutely worth it. It definitely helps to have some support or guidance as well, especially the help of someone who’s gone through it themselves.
Grab a pen and make a fist over the pen with your palm facing down. Squeeze tightly as you hold onto it, and tune into the sensations in your hand. Doesn’t that take so much energy, tension and focus to keep that pen in your hand?
But by letting go—by merely opening your hand—was so effortless and much less stressful. You can’t make someone stay against their will. Give them the chance to stick around by choice. Those are the people you want in your life anyways. It’s never through force, guilt or sheer obligation. It’s okay to let go. Honestly examine your relationships. Which ones have you outgrown or have moved toward very different paths in life? Who are the toxic people in your life who drain and drag you down? Who are those special souls who light up your life and fill it with joy, fun and adventure?You are a blend of what you have uniquely crafted from your various impactful interactions with different people in your life. Click To Tweet
Sure, everyone’s tolerance for toxicity is different. You have to decide on your own standards—whether you should distance yourself or put that person out of life altogether. Without even needing to define it, you know what a toxic relationship is. It’s making the decision and sticking to it. It’s difficult. You don’t want to hurt anyone or make them feel bad, but you are the most important person you need to protect. Choose yourself first and repeatedly.
Sometimes you don’t want to completely let go. That’s okay, too. It’s learning what your threshold is to continue maintaining positivity in your life. Limit the amount of time you spent with the negative people in your life. Experiment. Sharpen your awareness., and engage your mental state during and after spending time with them. Whether it’s stepping away temporarily to clear the air or making sure there’s enough time in between to hang out, create the ample space you need to ensure you aren’t taking on their negativity—for an extended period of time or permanently. Remember, you don’t have to carry anyone else’s baggage.
You are also empowered enough to change the topic of conversation. Train the people you want to keep around. Let them know where you stand. Tell them what’s acceptable and unacceptable when spending time with you. Choose to set clear boundaries.
Not all but some of you might have a trickier or more challenging group of people to manage: family. But even if it’s family, you still have a choice. This is a group that requires some serious open heart-to-heart conversations about the challenges you face in your relationship and to see what you can do to resolve it. Set clear boundaries. Unfortunately, you can’t easily just quit this group as it is the family you were born into.
[ Additional thoughts ] Our families could trigger us in such unique ways —whether you like it or not. Family knows how to trigger parts of yourself that sometimes you even forgot it was there. Sometimes you revert back to the young child you were with family. Sometimes your family knows exactly the right button to push to send you straight up the wall and over a cliff. Sometimes you have greater tolerance for your family or an even shorter fuse.
Choose how you interact with your family. Define your boundaries and communicate with them what your boundaries are. You need to tell them unless you have no idea what it is. If you need time to prepare yourself, limit your interaction with them for a period of time. Empower yourself and know that no matter what your past was like, you are no longer that little kid they knew. Be the mature adult you are now. Be the person who has decades of growth and experiences. There’s seriously so much I could share about this, but hopefully this is enough to at least get you started or to last through the holidays.
But it doesn’t mean you can’t craft or redefine the rest of your influences. Choose to be with people who are supportive of your dreams and goals. Keep the people who uplift you and make you laugh so hard that you cry. Appreciate the people who make you want to be a better person. Treasure the people who can let your guard down with and be your true self. You deserve it.
That is the end of Chapter 8.4 of my book, Dear Workaholics.
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging for the holidays filled with tons of opportunities for you to test your triggers, grow your learnings, and ignite your decision-making moments.Craft your influences. Choose to be with people who are supportive of your dreams and goals. Click To Tweet
I want to share some more thoughts with you. It’s by having this awareness, taking the time and having a willingness to take a hard look at your relationships, because even without my prompt, you most likely already have a sense of who those people in your life are that you need to handle or disconnect for your own well-being. It’s important for you to be surgical and intentional. Also, when you make a decision, stick to it at least for a period of time. You’ll get the proper feedback whether or not it’s the right decision after you make the decision, and stick to it for a period of time. What is the feedback you need to continue tweaking the relationship, so it can improve? There is seriously no right or wrong answer here. There is only what is right for you at this time of your life.
If you choose to let people go, it might hurt, it might be annoying, or it might be frustrating in the beginning, but know that this is a short-term pain. There will be a much larger gain in the long run. It’s so worth it to dedicate your precious time with the people who absolutely deserve it.
If you choose to keep them in your life, that means you’re going to have to work on repairing or redefining your relationship. A relationship does take two. The other person needs to be willing as well. If he or she isn’t willing to make the effort as well, that’s a feedback for you to determine whether or not you want to continue this relationship and how much effort you want to put into it. A one-sided relationship is not worth it at all. It’s exhausting and it’s forcing something that may not be worth all that heartache and effort. You’ll be hurting herself.
What you accept is how you’re training them to treat you. If you allow bad behavior, expect the bad behavior to continue. Even turning a blind eye and pretending it’s not there is also allowing the behavior. The question to you is, do you like to be treated that way? If not, what do you choose to do about it? I do hope that your answer was something along the lines of setting your boundaries. Setting your boundaries is the answer. You have to speak up. You have to give them the feedback that it’s not okay to treat you like that. Afterwards, share with them how you want to be treated instead. Give them an alternative. The alternative is best if it’s what you prefer so they know what they can do instead.
I have a bonus guide that you could download below with some additional ideas on how to curate your influences, such as personal, environmental, and digital. Don’t forget to check out the last part of the three-part series on purge-to-better-your-life education. Check out the new episode called “Your Environment Matters—The Mindset Edition”, which is perfect for the first day of the brand-new year.
Until next time, you got this.
- Dear Workaholics Episode 17 – Your Environment Matters—The Clutter Edition – Previous episode