"You can't change someone who doesn't see an issue with their actions" - Unknown

Even the best of us continue to invest ourselves in those who turn to shambles the best and brightest parts of ourselves. We put in earnest efforts to communicate our needs and that which should be altered in their manners, but it is most often the case that toxic people do not make or keep their promises to do better.

It is in our best interests, I have found, to limit these relationships to the bare minimum and attempt to remove these kinds of people from our hearts and minds. In fact, the best course of action I have taken to improve all aspects of my health and wellbeing has been to recognize the people who hold you back and replace them with the people who push you forward. This may seem like a harsh policy at first glance, but those who consistently have a negative impact on ourselves should not hold a significant place in your life if you can help it at least.

From time to time, toxic people have filtered in and out of my life — filter may be too soft a word, however. Cut out with blunt force may be more accurate, and apt, in certain circumstances, but filter could be better to describe the toxic people who held less of a place in my heart. Whilst I remained in the thick of these difficult situations, I could think of no decision harder than the decision to let go of the people who brought me such pain. Yet the relief that came after cannot be understated. Toxic influence tends to build up immense pressure over time, sometimes so gradual we don't even notice until all of that pressures releases, all at once.

It's not simply the pressure that releases, but also so much of your heart and mind are freed up to focus on better pursuits. You're no longer thinking of the boyfriend who wouldn't keep to his word, you're no longer thinking of the friend who would make you feel bad about yourself, you're no longer thinking of the flame who kept you on the back-burner, etc. You become more confident and capable and are able to build your life in a better image with those who really support and care about you. You build better self-worth, value, and purpose. You build the strength and resolve to be on your own — and save your troubles for those who deserve to be a part of your life.

Even one toxic person in our lives can turn the most bubbly, confident individual into a complete wreck — and even think that it's their fault along the way. You have to continue to prune away those who subtract, not add, to your life. One of the chief issues, however, is that toxic people feed off of their own toxicity — they push you down, and because you're down they make you feel like you deserve to be in that spot and continue to be a part of your life.

The tipping point often comes when someone/something/some event causes you to realize that you deserve so much better. This is me telling you right now, no matter who you are, people who make you feel not okay with yourself shouldn't have a place in your life.

Here's a short list of toxic people who shouldn't be in your life: those who aren't there when you need them, those who make you feel awful about yourself, those who twist your words and actions, those who make you feel lesser, those who are jealous and devaluing of your successes/achievements, those who push you into unhealthy behaviors, those who push back against your personal growth and happiness, those who take advantage of your kindness, those whose honesty is more brutal than kind, those who use you for their own benefit, etc.

There's also a short list of the people with qualities you do want in your life: those who support you to be your best self, those who care about your welfare, those who are there for you when you need them, those who are there in the good and bad times, those who show they love and care for you, those who are genuinely happy about your successes, those you put in the time and effort to cultivate your relationship, etc.

You have a choice who has a place in your life, in most circumstances at least. Those anchored in the deepest parts of who you are still aren't guaranteed a place. I want you to keep in mind that you hold the wheel, even as you weather the worst of storms. You are capable of making the right choices for yourself.

Of course, some circumstances are much, much harder to deal with — and more complicated than simply cutting people loose (e.g. abusive relationships and family members), but even then with time and the right support, it is possible to live your best life. And it is still possible to at least moderate their influence on your life the best you can. It's easier said than done to cut toxic people loose, but I hope that these thoughts provide some courage to do so, or to talk about these thoughts with those you can trust to help you on the path to doing so.