Have you ever dealt with an incredibly difficult person before?
I know, I know. Ridiculous question, right? Of course you have.
I bet that it was a miserable experience, wasn’t it?
I believe that one of the hardest things that we have to endure in our lives is dealing with difficult people. In fact, it’s so tough that I even wrote a free guide to help you navigate through the challenges of it (if interested, you can get it instantly by subscribing to the Go Together Movement Monday morning email series.)
In this post, I’m going to take it a step further.
Specifically, I’m going to talk about the people who are, without a doubt, the worst of the worst. While it’s true that difficult people are fairly common, the people that I’m about to mention, thankfully, are very rare.
I’m talking about toxic people.
You probably know who I’m talking about. They’re the people who are emotionally draining, constantly negative, manipulative, selfish, passive-aggressive, judgmental, emotionally (and possibly, physically) abusive, and/or narcissistic. And no, that’s not an exhaustive list.
Needless to say, these folks are dangerous and have the power to destroy your life if they are not dealt with swiftly.
The only way to deal with these people is to fully embrace the “addition by subtraction” philosophy.
I can promise you that using this technique when it comes to dealing with toxic people will positively change your life in ways that you wouldn’t even imagine.
The Best Gift in the World
It took me a long time to realize this, but more isn’t always better.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against “more.”
Who doesn’t want more love, more happiness, more peace of mind, more time, and even more money?
But the “more is better” argument doesn’t work very well when it has to do with living, breathing people.
Many years ago, I used to work for an extremely toxic, bully boss. I remember a time when the company spent a great deal of money to hire a slew of new people for my boss’s department in hopes of making us more productive.
During all of it, I couldn’t help but to shake my head in disbelief and think: “if this company really wanted to see some amazing productivity out of this department, they shouldn’t spend their time giving my boss more people to bully and torture. Instead, they should simply focus on one thing: firing his crazy ass.”
Yes, sometimes, less is more.
This is especially true when it comes to dealing with the toxic people in our lives.
The effects of my ex-boss’s terrible behavior are likely still being felt to this day at my old job, and there’s no doubt in my mind that his department would enjoy much more success, happiness, and employee engagement if there was much less of him around.
But enough about him—what does this all mean for us?
Instead of focusing on “more” as the key to happiness, there’s no doubt that the faster route to happiness is to consistently focus on the removal of the toxic people from our lives.
This is addition by subtraction—in other words, adding more good things to our lives simply by the removing the people who bring constant toxicity to us.
How much happier, productive, and clear-headed would we be if there were less of these people taking up valuable space in our day-to-day lives?
That’s why subtracting toxic people from our lives is an absolute must.
As mentioned earlier, I’m not against you buying yourself a new outfit, tickets to the game, or a fancy dinner–but if you want to give yourself the best gift in the world, do this:
Make the choice to walk away from relationships that do not honor the best of who you are.
There is no gift in the world that will make you feel better than that.
Best of all, it’s free too.
The only catch is that no one else can give this gift to you, but you.
The Cancer Within
Let’s be real though.
Even though it may be free to walk away from a toxic relationship (personal or professional) that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
Even if a particular person is making your life a living hell, sometimes it’s not as simple as packing up your things and walking away from the person forever.
What if the toxic person is your boss? Your spouse? Your highest paying client? Your most productive employee? Your mom or dad?
That makes it a lot harder, doesn’t it?
I hope that what I’m about to say will make it a little easier.
First, I’m going to make a quick assumption.
I’m going to assume that 99.6% of the people reading these words have had their lives touched by cancer either directly, or indirectly through a friend or loved one.
If you are one of the 99.6%, you don’t need me to tell you that cancer is absolutely terrible in every conceivable way.
When cancer enters the body it spreads and wreaks havoc in every cell it touches, and if left untreated—it will kill you. In some cases, even when it is treated, it can be too late if it wasn’t discovered and dealt with early on.
The toxic people in our lives are the same way.
Just to be clear, toxic people aren’t merely “annoying” or “challenging to deal with”–as mentioned earlier, these people are the worst of the worst. Similar to cancer, allowing these toxic people to remain in your life can have a devastating and a life-altering effect on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Put another way—allowing toxic people to remain in your life is not much different than allowing cancer to grow in your body untreated.
The best treatment for both is complete removal.
If you have determined that the person is toxic and deeply harming your life, it is time to accept that it doesn’t matter who it is—your mom, your husband, your boss, or anyone else—they need to be removed from your life.
Their presence in your life is doing more than robbing you of your happiness, your sanity, and your overall well-being—their toxicity could be slowly killing you too.
Simply put, some people need to be loved from a distance.
Even if it isn’t easy, the alternative (aka, doing nothing) is much, much worse.
Your Best Life
All in all, I’m a very simple dude.
To me, life is all about love, happiness, fulfilling our highest potential, and helping as many people as possible to live their best lives.
I know that last sentence sounded like I’m a finalist in the Miss America pageant or something, but I believe in that with all of my heart. I also believe that it is impossible to live our best lives when we allow toxic people to remain in our lives unchecked.
As far as I’m concerned, the fastest way to live our best lives and have more of what we want is to remove more of what we don’t want.
I don’t think so.
- If a company wants more engaged employees at work, they need to focus on finding the jerks, asshats, and bullies on their payroll and ask them to change or terminate them (whichever option is the quickest).
- If a person wants more love and appreciation in her life, she should start by removing all of the people who consciously treat her like dirt and consistently take her for granted.
- If a person wants more happiness and peace of mind, he should focus on removing all the people in his life who bring him a steady stream of mindless drama, arguments, and conflict on a daily basis.
This is addition by subtraction, and if you choose to give yourself this gift, it has the power to positively change your life.
Can you afford to put off giving yourself that gift any longer?
Your best life may depend on your answer.
Have you ever experienced the gift of removing a toxic person from your life? If so, was it hard for you? What positive effects did you experience once you removed him/her from your life? Jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!