I see so many posts and memes on “cutting all the toxic people out of your life.” While I am certainly a proponent of healthy boundaries and spending as much time as you can with people that champion you, lift you up and don’t suck every last bit of energy with their vampire ways, cutting every toxic person out of your life just isn’t that realistic.
For some people, it might be a passive aggressive parent, or an ex that you still have to navigate co-parenting with or a parent in your daughter’s girl scout troupe.
Should we set whatever boundaries we can with these folks? Absolutely. Can we simply cut off relationship with everyone we experience as being toxic? Probably not.
Maybe we set time boundaries and only spend a minimal amount of our precious time with them. Maybe we don’t engage or “take the bait” when they emotionally hook us. Maybe we set some energetic or emotional boundaries and imagine being like Neo from the Matrix and dodging their toxic daggers with our amazing ninja moves.
I teach my clients all the time about creating a bubble around them. Doing a meditation where you see yourself completely bathing in nourishing light and keeping toxic energy out of your system can be helpful or literally creating a boundary with your hands and feeling some protection as you imagine this boundary protecting you from toxicity.
Boundaries are awesome. GO WITH YOUR HOT BOUNDARIES!
And… boundaries are hard. They are often met with blame, shame and pain. They are often met with defensiveness and invalidation. They are often not understood so we might have to be creative with our boundaries and we might have to give ourselves some grace when our aunt’s snide comments still get in and hurt our hearts despite all that damn light meditation.
I would not recommend going to toxic people with your hurt feelings. Bullies don’t generally greet that kind of disclosure with nurturing understanding or accountability AND not getting angry with yourself or feeling shame about still letting them bother you is also healing. Giving some grace to yourself for still having a heart pumping and being human. Can we please understand that sometimes when people say shitty comments, it hurts?
Their bad behavior hurts and sometimes we can stick up for ourselves and call it out and sometimes, that just doesn’t feel like an option. Can you find a trusted friend to help you process it and offer support? Can you do this for yourself as well?
So when you can’t invoke your inner ninja and some of those toxic bullets get past your boundaries, can you have some grace for yourself around that?
There is a fine line between holding people accountable for their bad behavior and going to the poisoned well expecting nourishment.
So.. set boundaries, hold people accountable, cut as much toxicity out of your life as you can AND maybe embrace that people and relationships are messy and total cut off doesn’t feel like the healthiest thing. Then we gotta have a multifaceted approach that involves some emotional ninja training and some grace that we are human.
Do no harm. Take no shit.