“You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence…” Psalm 16:11

Do your relationships drain or inspire you?

people inspire or drainIt really is true.  Some people inspire us, while others completely drain us.  Have you ever noticed that?

Our happiness, success and failure in life are greatly influenced by the people whom we spend our time with.  We’re typically happier and more successful when we’re around other happy and successful people.

Do you have people in your life who really drain you?  Maybe every time you’re  around them you walk away and it just feels like a negative experience.  The relationship feels toxic.  I do.  I could name a few right now.  No matter what is said or done, it’s always a negative experience.  I don’t even like who I am after I’ve been around them.  I feel negative and critical and grumpy.  I know it’s going to go that way, yet sometimes it’s unavoidable. Can you relate?

Sometimes we have the option to choose not to spend a lot of time with people who drain us.  That’s not always the case though.  When we can’t always avoid them, we can choose how we will react and respond when we’re around them.

Healthy or Toxic?

Here’s a little exercise to help you think through the relationships you have with the people you spend the most time with.  Do they inspire you and lead  you onto better things or do they pull you down?   This exercise will help bring awareness to choices you can start making about whom to spend your time with.

  1. Make a list of 20 people you spend most of your time with.
  2. Put a + next to their name if you feel good about yourself after spending time with them.  Do you enjoy your time?  Are they happy?  Do you look forward to spending time together?
  3. Put a - next to their name if you somehow feel “less” around them.  Do you feel smaller or less happy?  Do you have less energy?  Maybe you feel stressed or worried before or after seeing them.
  4. Give each person a score ranging from -5 to +5 to identify how much effect they have on you.  Go with your gut-feeling on this one.
  5. Decide on an action to take for those with the highest and lowest scores.

Here are a few questions you can use to help you as you think through actions you could take.

  • How exactly does _______________cause you to feel______________?
  • Does spending time with this person contribute to your happiness?  If not, why is that?
  • What signals could you have given to this person that contributed to this situation?
  • If your relationship were ideal, what’s one thing that would be different?

 

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