The first step to building healthy relationships (<— click on the link to read Part 1) is identifying the unhealthy ones. So now that you’ve identified the toxic relationships in your life, you may be wondering what you should do next. Well, it’s time to detoxify! Here are five steps to removing toxic relationships.
- Pray. Everything that you do in your life should first be brought to God in prayer. The Bible says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5.) Seek God’s guidance so that when you speak and act, you’re allowing the love of God to flow through you, even if you’re ending a relationship. Also, be sure to pray for the other person. S(he) may be experiencing some problems that are affecting his/her relationships.
- Learn the art of loving from a distance. God tells us that we have to love everyone. Jesus says this to His disciples: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35.) The desire to develop healthier relationships doesn’t give you permission to be mean to other people. Be kind and look out for the welfare of others. Remember, though, this doesn’t mean you have to have a close relationship with someone who is toxic for you. Smile, say hello, and keep it moving.
- End the relationship with grace. Don’t just fall off the face of the Earth. Be sure to explain why you made the decision to end the relationship. This may help the other person learn from past mistakes and make better decisions in his/her next relationship. Be sure to be respectful during this conversation because the idea is to remove the toxic relationship from your life, NOT to hurt the other person.
- Be firm. This step may not be easy, especially if the other person means a lot to you. Ask God for strength to help you through the process. Don’t allow a person to pressure you into maintaining the relationship if it’s bad for you. After you’ve made the decision to end the relationship, stop communicating with this person. Let him/her know that you won’t be responding to phone calls or text messages and remove this person as your Facebook friend. If s(he) is toxic for you, then it’s best to avoid too much contact in way that feels right to you.
- Find healthier friendships. Spend time with people who share your values. Check out organizations that you’re interested in that draw like-minded peers. You’ll be surprised at the healthy friendships that you may find there.
Hope this helps! Check back soon for my article on how to sustain healthy relationships.