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Trying to Separate Yourself from Negative People? Read This

I’m sure you’ve heard a version of this familiar mantra or strategy:

“To soar with the eagles, don’t hang out with the turkeys.”

Well, for your benefit and the benefit of others, in this post, I’m going to ask you to seriously reconsider following it.

Here’s why: Deliberately separating yourself from another person because he or she is a “turkey,” or because of something the other person has said or done, will always produce diminishing returns. You work inside to out, and that means that another person’s behavior has no power to cause a feeling or change of heart within you (much less cause you to separate yourself from that person). Plus, if you’re judging someone else, it’s you who isn’t seeing clearly. And acting from that feeling state, as I said, is sure to produce diminishing returns.

Have you ever actually tried this commonly suggested success strategy? I mean, have you ever sought to remove “toxic” people from your life? When I was in my late twenties, I did. I had one particular friend who, in my mind, constantly disappointed me. My family would say, “You need to move on from this dude; his negativity is weighing you down.” So, I’d try not to see or talk to him for a while, which usually lasted about two days—tops. But then one day out of the blue, and based on nothing my friend had recently done, it no longer made sense to hang out with him. I had experienced a change of heart (inside), which organically led to a change in our relationship (outside). What’s also interesting is that several years later, I heard through the grapevine that my old friend was struggling. I reached out to him, we met for a round of golf, and we’ve been close ever since. Thankfully, I knew that our separation wasn’t about him at all (no one is toxic); it sprung from a realization within me. Thus, it never made sense to strategically cut the cord.

The bottom line is that while it’s fine to disagree with the behavior of someone else, or even your own behavior in hindsight, it’s impossible to separate what can’t be separated. Sometimes, you get negative and you can’t separate you from you. Sometimes, your friends and family get negative and you can’t separate you from them. Sometimes, the leaders of your country get negative—same deal. Everyone, including you, is doing the best they can to the degree they understand where their feelings are coming from (the inside, not the outside) at that moment in time. We’re all “turkeys” on occasion because we’re all one and the same. And, I guarantee, physically isolating yourself from others won’t change this spiritual truth of oneness—even a little bit.

We’re all in this game of life together, as one, no matter what.

Garret