Since having meaningful connections in our lives requires an investment of our time and energy, we want to choose the people we spend our time with wisely.
To determine whether a relationship is draining or fueling us, we need to ask ourselves the following questions which are taken from Cheryl Richardson’s book,Take Time for Your Life, where she also offers ways to communicate with grace.
- Write down the name of a person in your life.
- Am I able to be myself with this person? Do I feel accepted by him/her?
- Is this person critical or judgmental of me?
- Does the relationship provide an even give-and-take exchange of energy?
- Do I feel upbeat and energized when I’m around this person, or depleted and drained?
- Does this person share my values? My level of integrity?
- Is this person committed to our relationship?
- Can this person celebrate my success?
- Do I feel good about myself when I’m with this person?
Confronting Conflict with Grace
Wondering how to confront people who drain you mentally, physically and spiritually?
Once you have identified that you have a toxic relationship in your life, there are specific words that you can use to confront this family member or friend in a graceful, loving way.
Your goal is not necessary to sever all relationships; it’s to set boundaries with this person. If you feel the relationship can be healed, follow these steps.
- Step One: Set the stage.
“In an effort to honor our relationship, I need to tell you the truth…”
- Step Two: Follow up with how you feel.
“When you _______ it makes me feel ______…”
- Step Three: Then ask your family member or friend.
“Are you willing to stop doing that?”
“In an effort to honor our relationship I need to tell you the truth. When you complain about your boss every week, it leaves me feeling drained of energy. If you’re willing to do something about the situation, I’ll support you 100%, but I can no longer listen to your complaints. Are you willing?”
“If you forget this conversation in the future, I promise to support you and our relationship by asking you to tell me how I can support you in taking action to fix the problem.”
“In an effort to honor our relationship I need to tell you the truth. When you put me down I feel angry and hurt. In order for us to continue seeing each other, I need to ask you to stop. Are you willing?”
“In an effort to honor our relationship I need to tell you the truth. When you criticize me I feel drained and upset. I’d like to ask you to stop doing that so we can move closer instead of further apart. Are you willing?”
Assess your own relationship skills by noticing if you are like the friend you desire in others.