Even though I am big on eating healthy and exercising, these are not the only things that contribute to our overall wellbeing. Yes, eating right and exercising are part of what makes us balanced in life, however, there are other factors that one must also consider when looking into their wellbeing. One of them is looking at the relationships that you have and when I say relationships, I’m not only referring to the romantic relationships, I mean all relationships, including family members and friends.
If you are in a toxic relationship, my suggestion is to reevaluate that relationship and consider if it is worth having that person in your life. How do you know whether or not a relationship is toxic for you? You need to notice how that person makes you feel as a human being. Ask yourself these questions when you are questioning whether or not you are in a toxic relationship: Does this person belittle you? Do you feel safe with this person? (When I say safe, I’m not necessarily referring to feeling physically safe. I mean if you feel safe being who you are and if you can express your emotions with that person without feeling that you will be reprimanded). Does this person make you feel good about who you are? These are just some of the questions to consider whenever you are in a relationship with anyone.
How does our relationships with others affect our wellbeing? By nature we are social beings. We all have basic needs that goes beyond the need for food and shelter. We have a need for love and to be needed. When these needs are not met, they can create havoc on our self-concept and self-esteem which trickles down to other aspects of our lives affecting our wellbeing. When we don’t feel loved or needed, we may not feel worthy so we are most likely to engage in things that are harmful to us. Things that are harmful for us can go from the very extreme such as using drugs or cutting, to the things that may not seem to be extreme but are just as harmful like overeating or smoking too much. This is why I advocate paying attention to the things that you do and why you are doing it. Understanding the reason why you do the things that you do will provide great insight about your mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
One of the keys to wellbeing is being mindful at all times. Being mindful of what you eat, being mindful of how things make you feel and this includes being mindful of the relationships you have in your life. Just like eating and exercise affects every aspect of your body, so do the relationships that you have affect every aspect of your body and life. When we are in a toxic relationship where we are constantly fed negative messages of ourselves, we start to break down in every way. We don’t necessarily realize it at first but the way we view ourselves starts to change and not for good. This then affects our self-esteem. When our self-esteem is affected in a negative way, this affects everything in our life from our eating habits to other relationships that we have. I know that when I don’t feel good, I crave foods that are not necessarily healthy for me.
Now, like always, I would like to make some clarifications. A good friend or family member who loves you may tell you something that may “hurt” you but it hurts because they are telling you the truth that you may not necessarily want to hear. This does NOT constitute a toxic relationship. A toxic relationship is a relationship that is obviously bad for your wellbeing because it is not contributing to your life in a positive way. If you are truly honest with yourself as to how your relationships affect you, you will know which ones are toxic. The way to truly know is by listening to how someone makes you feel and to your gut instinct. Only you truly know and it is up to you to decide what to do with that relationship. However, I believe that a toxic relationship has no place in our lives.
Make it a habit to cultivate those positive relationships that you have and do away with any relationship that isn’t contributing to your growth and wellbeing. Life is too great to be around people who just makes us feel bad.