Have you ever been in a situation where a “friend” is telling you something another “friend” said about you? Of course, you have… we all have, unfortunately. These types of conversations used to really bother me until I started asking the question: “Why does someone feel comfortable enough around you to talk about me?” If you were really my friend or someone that I can trust, then you should stop the conversation before it gets started. I should never be the topic of discussion because you wouldn’t let that happen. I have found that by asking this when someone approaches me with water-cooler gossip about myself, you learn quickly and quietly who has your back. And such events have inspired this blog post about how to deal with toxic people in your life.
In high school, I was mean. I felt like I was constantly in fight or flight mode. If you can imagine the scene in ‘Mean Girls’ where they are at the mall and all the high school students are sitting around the fountain and they compare it to animals at a watering hole, that is a great depiction of my high school. So, when graduation rolled around, I couldn’t wait to go to a college where I didn’t know a soul. It was a clean slate to be who I really wanted to be and get rid of a piece of my life that I didn’t even want to relive. I remember walking onto the brick patio on my first day at college and thinking, “I will do everything I can to be the nice girl. To be sweet to everyone and to give up on worrying about what everyone thinks of me.” Still to this day, I remember walking onto that patio and remind myself the promise I made to be a better person. And it helps me get a grip when I feel wronged or when someone I trusted disappoints me.
So how do you deal with a toxic person in your life as the nice girl? I’ll share with you my secrets in hopes that you pass it along next time you are feeling like you want revenge, or like you want to put that person on blast. Of course, that is our gut instinct. We are human, and Jesus already died for our sins. It is not our place to seek out revenge when we have been wronged, but to approach the situation with grace, love, and forgiveness. Much easier said than done. I hope these tips will help you keep your cool and bring you peace. Nothing stings like the hurt of a friendship turned sour or the heartbreak of hearing something untrue about you come out of the mouth of a friend. I have learned, it is all about how you handle it that makes you stronger, sis.
- Don’t act immediately. How hard is this, right? You find out something or hear something or whatever and you whip out your phone to call that person and tear into them. Trust me, it does no good for you. Your brain is in overdrive and your heart is wanting to do the talking, but don’t let your heated emotions win. Take a breather. Cry if you need to cry. Drink a glass of wine. Go for a run. Let your thoughts process. You WILL NOT feel better in the long run by tearing into someone. Its like eating fast food, it tastes awesome, but you feel like a dump truck afterwards- not worth it.
- Talk about it with a true, trusted source. For me, this is my mom and dad, my husband, and my best friend, Courtney. These people know the best and worst of me and they don’t judge me. Instead, they love me, support me, remind me that not everyone can handle a happy personality like mine and that sometimes hurt people hurt people. These people are MY people. When you are in a situation where you are hurt or battling through a toxic relationship, turn to your circle and lean on them. Remind yourself that you are worthy. You are smart. You are beautiful and that you do not need validation from people. Your heart belongs to the Lord and he will heal it. Period.
- Pray for them. Maybe it sounds cliché, but it’s the truest thing written in the whole blog post. I don’t mean pray for them in the mean girl way when you say to someone that is being mean to you and you flip your hair and say, “Oh don’t worry, Ima pray for you because you need it!” No, no, remember we aren’t in high school anymore. I truly mean pray for these people because if they are speaking ill of you or doing things behind your back that are hurtful, they need some guidance and some support. Pray that your heart will heal, that you will find better relationships with people who lift you up and want the best for you, and pray for peace for all involved. You can never say too many prayers!
Remember girlfriend, life is hard. It certainly is hard enough without the people around you trying to tear you down. What they say about you says much more about them than it ever will about you. Read that again. What THEY say about YOU says much more about THEM than it ever will about YOU. Women who tear other women down are not welcome here. Live your life with passion and persistence. You don’t have to explain to people why you make the choices you do or why you are choosing another path. Remember that when it all hits the fan and your heart is crushed that it is temporary. You are made for much bigger things. You are capable of BIG, AMAZING, God-led dreams and no one can stop you. God gave us these battles to prepare you for the war and last time I checked the mirror… I am a warrior.
p.s. If you just read this and your feel like you don’t have anyone in your circle, please reach out to me. I created this blog and co-created the podcast for this very reason. To lift each other up together. You have a friend in me.