Identifying Toxic Friendships

Identifying Toxic Friendships

“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ~ Albert Camus

What is a true friend? Everyone has a slightly different definition–but bottom line, a true friend is someone who is there for you when you need him or her, someone you trust, someone who makes you feel good. Probably you have great conversations, share interests and support one another in your every day lives.

But what happens when a friend turns out to be “not so good” for you, if the friendship becomes toxic? What is toxic friendship, anyway?

“The phrase ‘toxic friend’ is pop psychology,” says psychologist Dr. Jenn Berman. “I would say it’s someone who, after spending time with them, makes you feel bad about yourself instead of good; someone who tends to be critical of you — sometimes in a subtle way and sometimes not so subtle; a friend who drains you emotionally, financially, or mentally, and they’re not very good for you.”

How can one truly identify a toxic friendship? It can be difficult, especially if you have been close to the friend for a long time. If you suspect that a friend is (or has become) toxic, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do you feel after spending time with or speaking to this person? Do you feel good and positive (for the most part) or do you find yourself worrying, stressing or obsessing about some aspect of the visit or call?
  • Are you afraid to tell your friend about some aspect of your life for fear of how they’ll react or fear of being judged harshly?
  • Do you sometimes find yourself avoiding contact with the person or ignoring their calls? Does your friend consistently “forget” about your plans or cancel at the last minute?
  • Does your friend actively insult or offend you on a consistent basis?
  • Do you find yourself feeling uncomfortable or bothered by your friend’s life choices, behavior or moral conduct?
  • Do you feel comfortable bringing up concerns about your friendship with this friend?
  • Does this friendship benefit you?
  • Do you trust this friend, really trust him or her?

These are just a few questions to get you started. In general, your friends should be an asset to your life, not a detriment.

Does someone in your life seem to be more of a hindrance than a help on your journey to personal fulfillment? If so, it may be time to reevaluate your choices. My challenge today applies to those readers who are currently dealing with a suspected toxic friendship. Take a few minutes today to really consider the questions above in regard to the friend in question. Be brutally honest, and take a quick inventory of the situation. Next time, we’ll discuss how to effectively deal with toxic friendships.

Writing Your Own Story: Filling Your Vessel

Writing Your Own Story: Filling Your Vessel

In the first installment of the Writing Your Own Story series, we discussed identifying and releasing negative self perceptions. And now, after a brief detour, we’re going to take the next step.

Once you have released the negative perceptions about yourself, what will you have left? Hopefully, a lot of positive ones. Even so, by clearing all of the negative thoughts and perceptions about yourself, you may find that your slate feels a little blank. Your self-perception “vessel” may be in need of a refill, so to speak.

It might feel exciting and like a great opportunity–or maybe it feels a little scary to you.

After all, you now get to decide how you want to perceive yourself. As you believe, you become (especially with a little inspired action.)

How cool is that, right?

Ok, so by now, you’ve cleared out the old negativity and are ready to become the YOU of your dreams, right?

But wait…

Who is that YOU? Do you know who you want to be?

If so, then begin to become that YOU right now. Believe that you will be who you want to be and ACT AS IF you are already there. Believe that you are there–claim it as your own. You may have to work for it, but if you take inspired action, it doesn’t feel much like work.

What if you’re not sure who you want to be?

First, sit down and think about your relationships with others. Grab a sheet of paper or pull up a word document (or hey, a blog post, if you want.) What do you think when you look in the mirror, both literally and figuratively? Consider the following questions.

1. What kind of people am I drawn to?

2. What qualities do these people have that I enjoy? What qualities do they have that I don’t like?

3. Are these qualities that I have, or would like to have? Or are these qualities that compliment my own?

4. What messages have I accepted from others about who I am? Which have I rejected?

5. Are these messages accurate? If so, do I want them to be?

By understanding what you find attractive (and unattractive) in others, you can begin to understand what you like (and don’t like) about yourself. Inevitably, the qualities that you are most attracted to are those you possess (or want to possess.)

And, of course, once you figure out which qualities you like and want to possess, you’re on your way to filling your “empty vessel.” Embrace the qualities you lovea

My challenge to you today is to continue actively releasing negative self perceptions, and to begin to believe that you can become what you want to be.

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Writing Your Own Story: Taking Action

Writing Your Own Story: Taking Action

A certain spiritual leader (one I happen to respect very much) called me yesterday with some concerns over the first post in the Writing Your Own Story series. It seems that she felt it was important to note that one cannot make real life changes without taking action–and she’s right.

She was concerned that I was giving the wrong message–that one only needed to imagine that change was occurring and then it would magically happen.

I stand by my statement that change begins in your head–you must believe that it is possible (and that you can and will achieve your goals) in order to create the changes you desire in your life.

However, she is absolutely on target in that we need to recognize that the change in perspective which begins to move you toward your goals must be followed by inspired action.

For example, in the Creating Personal Change series, we discussed making positive changes in your environment. And, while the success of this endeavor certainly depends on your perception of your ability to complete this task–the fact is, one cannot effect environmental change without a little elbow grease (or, at the very least, the ability to call for help, and enough money to pay someone else to do it for you.)

Still, inspired action, while it may be hard work, shouldn’t make you feel bad. I addressed this issue in the post entitled What have you accomplished today? last year.

Dr. Joe Vitale, one of the experts who worked with Rhonda Byrne in writing The Secret, said it best when he addressed this very issue in his own blog. Following is an enlightening excerpt from Dr. Vitale’s post.

Many fans of the law of attraction think you don’t take any action. You simply sit like a good magnet and wait for your vibes to slide the thing you want over to your chair.

I believe that you usually if not always have to take action of some sort, but that your action isn’t effort if it comes from your heart.

That’s the key difference.

People run marathons, lift weights, climb mountains, write books, travel on horseback, jump out of planes, make hundreds of sales calls a day, and much more.

It’s all action.

But if they do it because they want to do it, because it bubbles out of their passion to do it, then it’s not effort.

Again, the law of attraction doesn’t mean you don’t do anything; it means what you do is effort-free.

For example, I write an astonishing amount of books, articles and blog posts. If you didn’t like writing, you’d think what I’m doing is gruelling. But I love what I do. So my action isn’t effort. It’s simply right action for me.

If you think running up a mountain is insane, you won’t take that action because if you did, it would require enormous effort.

When you practice what you learn from the movie The Secret, things do begin to come to you without much effort or action on your part. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have anything to do.

I was able to attract a new car — namely Francine — by knowing what I wanted and then taking action when prompted from the inside to drive over to San Antonio one day.

To me, the law of attraction works to make life easier, but not because you don’t take action, but because the action you take is natural for you.

My challenge to you today is to take one small step toward becoming the YOU of your dreams. Knit a scarf, write a poem, open a savings account–whatever you do, do it with your goal in mind.

Feel it, be it, do it, have it. Believe that your desires are yours, and then take inspired action toward attaining them.

Coming Soon: Part Three of this series, Writing Your Own Story: Filling Your Vessel

Don’t Worry, Be Happy, Live Longer

Don’t Worry, Be Happy, Live Longer

What do you see when you look at this glass? Answer carefully–your life may depend on it.

I don’t normally post links to my other work within the posts of In Pursuit of Fulfillment–mostly because I consider this a labor of love more than the “work” I do in other places.

Even so, I reported a story on today that actually fits here–and that my readers here need to see.

It seems that a new study has once again confirmed it–having a positive perception of yourself and the world around you can literally improve your health and extend your life. I’ve always believed this, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to hear it from the medical community too.

Here’s a link to the article, if you’re interested in checking it out! 🙂

This post was originally published on If found anywhere else, this content is illegally copied and should be reported.

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