Declutter Your Mind by Sarah Furuya
Creating sustainable and nourishing relationships is one of the most supportive exercises you can do for yourself and for the people close to you. Even the people who aren’t close to you.
It starts with YOU. It’s an inside job is something I frequently tell my clients and workshop or speech attendees. And I firmly believe it. Our relationship with ourselves influences the way we have relationships with other people. You can also reverse engineer it and notice how you relationship and the way you relate to and talk to other people. It can be either toxic, or neutral, or nourishing and positive.
My goal is to be in nourishing and positive. Relationships with myself and others 99% of the time. I work on both systems. My relationship with myself and my relationship with others at the same time. The results are beautiful, rich, positive, honest relationships.
I try to meet ever person with grace and kindness and if I can’t then I try to walk away. If my heart hurts or my adrenaline rises.
I’m a grown up woman and I can walk away. Just like I can refuse other toxins. Like a tequila shot. Or food I don’t want. Or closing the window of the car when you’re going through a tunnel.
So what are the toxins of which I speak?
Well, John Gottman PhD was interested in why marriages break down on the back of the US’ 62% divorce rate and reports that 69% of marriages have perpetual problems.
I like to think of having mean and negative thoughts about yourself as being perpetual problems on the inside. So I invite you to look at the high toxic load in your relationships on teams, in your love relationships or friends and with yourself. High toxic load not only lowers performance, In these relationships but also means you have a poor experience of these relationships. Don’t do it. Don’t hurt yourself honey! (Or others but mainly yourself). Try for a 5:1 ratio for overall positivity when in relationship.
Gottman, by the end of his research observing couples in a purpose-fitted apartment came to this 5:1 ratio, and was also able to predict with a 96% accuracy whether a couple would stay together or not.
The presence of these 4 toxins, known as the 4 horsemen, is a strong indicator of success or not of a relationship (and remember that this also refers to the relationship with yourself, because that’s where it all starts – you’ll be fed up of me saying it’s an inside job!) The continuous presence of these in a relationship are TOXIC.
The 4 horseman are:
Blame – includes aggressive attacks, bullying, harsh start up (of conversations) chronic criticalness, domination
Defensiveness – includes not being open to influence, deflection, being the victim
Stonewalling – includes not being open to influence, avoidance, uncooperativeness, passivity, disengagement, yes-men and withholding
Contempt – includes cutting others down, hostile gossip, undermining, disrespect, demeaning communication
The first thing to do is to recognise the presence of these in your team or relationship. Then to make a commitment to a DETOX!
It doesn’t matter how clean you eat, wash, or makeup, if you put toxic thoughts and behaviors into your relationship with yourself and others you will be filling your life, your psyche and your emotional field with toxins.
So what next?
Well stop! The first step is to notice when you are displaying the behaviors, either to your partner, friend, in your team or with yourself. Or notice when other people are displaying it. BUT DON’T BLAME. Just notice. It’s all down to you to not get drawn into the toxic behaviors, and to model more loving and positive ways to be. More nourishing and delicious. Organic thoughts honey. Plastic-free partnerships. Chem-free conversations.
Be on your own team and on the team of your partner and your friends. That means eliminating blame, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt.
Then extend that.
Are you gossiping? Complaining, putting others down in order to feel better? Blaming? It’s not my fault. It’s not your fault. It’s my fault. Sulking. Avoiding. Ignoring. Being sarcastic. Belittling. Being cynical. Name-calling. Hostile humor. Ew. When you see it all lined up like that and you recognise it in yourself and your relationships you wonder. REALLY? Why would I behave like that? To myself. To my lover. To anyone. Or about anyone. Imagine just not using the 4 horsemen at all.
It’s so sweet. So much sweetness and cleanliness in your mind and heart and soul. START NOW! Is your ratio less that 5:1 positive to negative.
How do I start?
Think of it as your 5-a-day positive things like your vegetables. Or your organic produce. Or your colonic cleanse. Clean out those toxic thoughts and words! Increase your ability to notice positive things, say positive things, make positive contributions and tell yourself positive stories about yourself. ADD more good stuff. Then start to notice then reduce the toxins.
Be gentle with yourself, go easy on yourself. People in unhealthy relationships with themselves and others like nothing better than having you join them. They become addicted to the rush of adrenaline in the moment and that feeling of connection from gossip or a shared bitching session. But eventually these toxins will catch up. The feeling isn’t so sweet anymore. And you will look for that high of faux gossip connection. Yet never achieve it.
What if you are around someone who is not well?
Some people are genuinely not very well. The best thing you can do is to lay down the best boundaries you can, especially inside yourself; protect your heart and notice how you feel. It is crazy to try and convince, persuade or influence a person with abnormal psychology to treat you better. They probably think they are right-all the time, that they are a victim of some terrible relationship or conspiracy not of their own doing and that you are nothing and your opinions and feelings don’t matter as much as theirs. This is not right. It is also not your problem. Don’t try to convince them because you will be drawn into their dangerous and dysfunctional game. Their rules, their pitch, their victory the only thing on their mind. Although they may not recognize that. Your body knows. Try to be as loving as possible, especially to yourself and physically manage your proximity to that person. If it is someone you can withdraw from, run for the hills. If it is someone who you prefer not to withdraw from, then be the kindest you possibly can and remember – you’ve got this. You do not need to be drawn into their game, no matter how much they try to. Recognize if they are trying to endgame you with one of the 4 horsemen, and meet them with love but don’t get drawn in.
Are you using one of the 4 horsemen? Try changing your way. Ask for what you need cleanly and well-mannered. But never get drawn in. It is not easy but it will help you not to get drawn into toxicity.