What do you do when your leg gets infected? Do you ignore the pain and blood and pus? Do you wait for the infection to get worse until finally there’s no option but to amputate the leg? Of course not! At the first instance of injury or infection, you rush to a doctor, and get yourself treated, right?

Like a popular saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine,” it would make sense then to stop and reverse further damage. Don’t you agree?

Just like these infection-causing bugs, we have toxic people in our lives – the negative people, the people who tread forbidden boundaries, the people who make us feel small or cause us harm. But do we make an attempt to flush out these people from our lives, or do we just keep tolerating them? If we are tolerating them, shouldn’t we stop doing that? What stops you from doing so? Does the guilt of cutting off someone making you hesitate?

Perhaps the thought by Daniell Koepke can rid of your guilt,

You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, a romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance- you don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behaviour and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.”

This does not mean you should let go of everyone who disagrees with you or says something nasty in a fit of rage! No, that’s not the idea at all! But there are some people who keep corroding at your self-respect, your dreams, your sense of worth or your happiness, day after day, repeatedly.

Who are these people?

There are people who love drama -the kinds who will play the victim, and keep expecting you to sympathise with them.Try telling them that they could be wrong and they will accuse you not understanding them. They can shed tears, scream, and even hurt themselves just to prove that they are the victim.

The negative nancies- the kinds who thrive on pessimism and negativity. They will drain you emotionally.  They will discourage you from doing what you want to do, put the fear of failure in you and make you doubt your capabilities. They will make you feel small and unworthy.Nothing is good enough for them and they prefer to see the world as black.

There are the kinds who will poison your mind and spirit. They cannot speak good about anyone, and have the nastiest things to say about others. They make you feel vengeful about things and people. Soon you will start to think like they do!

Then there are the kinds who are arrogant and mean, and say hurtful things. It will make you wonder how someone can be so blunt and insensitive to the feelings of others.

The kinds who are jealous because you are doing well and will go to any extent to put you down.

The control freaks- the kinds who expect you to live your life on their terms.

The kinds who are judgmental and manipulative.

The kinds who lie and gossip and back stab.

We all have these kinds of people in our lives, don’t we? Perhaps a friend, or family member or a neighbour, or an employer or employee. Slowly but surely, they sap  your energy and leave you feeling hurt and sad.

So how do you get rid of these people?

Refuse to play along. Set your limits.

Sometimes, that is all it takes – learning to draw borders. This does not mean that you should refuse to do anything out of your comfort zone. By all means, go ahead and lend a helping hand to someone who needs it. But you must also know how far you will let yourself be stretched. Let it not be at the cost of hurting yourself or at the risk of your own peace.

Talk it over.

If you think, the other person is acting without really being aware of the hurt they are causing to you, then talk it over with them. Sometimes communication can help save relationships. Find out if they are going through some kind of a crisis which is making them behave thus. Perhaps, you could help them resolve their issues if they allow you to. Getting to the root of the problem can help you see things in better light.

If all else fails, walk away.

Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, things don’t work out the way we expect them to. People don’t want to accept that they are causing hurt and grief, they do not want to change.  Sometimes giving a breather or space may help the both of you to have a re-look at the relationship and think about the direction you need to take. Give yourself space. Learn to let go. Walk away. You don’t have to explain, or argue or feel guilty. You don’t owe anyone an apology!

When someone dulls your shine, poisons your spirit or plays with your emotions, run for your life!

You cannot hope to change someone, but you can choose to let them go.

Decontaminate yourself, just like you’d treat yourself with antibiotic when you are ill.

Like Bryant McGill says,

Scrub down your brain with a wire brush and remove their insanity from the corridors of your brain!”

Don’t rent them free space in your head. Make space for better people to come in instead.

You’ll see how quickly your life changes when these toxic people go. Be amongst people who dream and achieve, who make you feel tall and believe in you, even when you yourself don’t.