For those of us who have big hearts with big love, it is easy to get sucked into negative patterns in the lives of others. We genuinely want to help others, especially our loved ones. Sometimes we get caught in the toxic cycle of someone who is not truly seeking a solution. We find ourselves in an endless loop going nowhere, stuck in someone else’s chaos. This inability to help someone we love causes great pain. Yet it IS possible to have a big heart AND healthy boundaries.
It is important to identify what it looks like for you when caught up in other people’s drama cycles. You may start to notice a pattern in your relationship. You feel like you are doing the same thing over and over and it never ends. You may notice that you are drained around certain people in your life. When they call, you can just feel the energy it is going to take to pick up the phone. You start to see that this relationship has you in a negative cycle that you are not creating. You are, however, participating.
If you have found yourself caught up in someone else’s drama loop, it will be very difficult to end this cycle, but it is something that you must do. You must do this for yourself and for the other person.
This type of toxicity doesn’t happen exclusively in romantic relationships. This dynamic takes place in every type of relationship. It could be your boss, your child, your parent, a friend or any number of people. Soul-sucking relationships even take place in your relationship with certain things, places, and situations. You may have a toxic relationship with your job, a project or a specific group of people. Either way, the result is the same until you make a change. You are miserable.
It’s important to remember that even though you have identified this relationship dynamic as harmful, this does not mean you must view the person or entity involved as “bad” or “toxic”. It is not them but your relationship with them that has become unhealthy and that is all you must focus on.
Attempting to help someone who is not willing to become a part of the solution is meaningless and sucks your energy dry. The whole time, the person you wish to help isn’t getting anywhere. They aren’t learning and they aren’t growing. When we participate in this cycle, we are not helping the other person and we are harming ourselves. We are so caught up in the maze, we forget to love and care for the most important person in our lives, ourselves.
The most important thing for those of us who love deeply and unconditionally to accept, to our innermost selves, is that we must love ourselves first, always.
We must love ourselves first or we cannot love anyone else. If we do not love ourselves we cannot forgive others. We must love ourselves or we cannot help anyone. If we are not okay, any attempts to help and love others are tainted and futile.
When we love ourselves, we can love others fully and deeply. We can forgive. We are less judgmental toward others and ourselves. We are brighter and better. We can trust ourselves and follow our intuition. We are freed of guilt and fear. We can let go with deep love in our hearts and have faith.
If you are struggling with being caught up in someone else’s never-ending drama cycle, here are three practices that will help you to move out of the chaos and into self-love:
1. Do not focus on blaming the other person or situation.
Your relationship with them is your responsibility. Sometimes we cling to our negative view of another in order to maintain our willingness to let go. We think that this makes us feel better, and for the moment it may. But in reality, using judgment towards others as an emotional crutch, to change our unhealthy relationship dynamic, does not serve us. Use your valuable energy to focus on yourself and how to set better boundaries for yourself, while holding great love in your heart for others.
2. Practice loving yourself with mindfulness.
Loving yourself is a practice and the best way to begin is through the small things in life that you already do each day. This doesn’t take any extra time, just your choice of focus. When you eat, be mindful of what you are doing. Think about how you are nourishing and taking care of your body because you love yourself. Remember that you take care of yourself because you love yourself. Do the same thing when you take a shower, brush your teeth, drink water, brush your hair, take time for yourself, read a book, go to the ocean and make yourself a cup of coffee. This is how you use mindfulness to practice loving yourself.
3. Take time for yourself.
The importance of this practice cannot be expressed fully in words. You must take time for yourself, no matter what. Take this time to be only yours. Completely release the demands of others and your responsibilities during this time. It matters little what you do with this time, as long as the time is for you and you alone. You may enjoy nature, get a massage, pursue your creative inspiration, write, read, rest, or anything that you find soothing. The only thing that matters, is that whatever you do is for you.
When we love ourselves, our love can shine fully into the world and this is how we help people. This is how we truly love people. We love ourselves first and have faith that they can love themselves too.
You can read more about the journey to better boundaries and self-love in my book, Roots and Tendrils, a collection of love poems.
Thank you for reading and may you find your way to more self-love. ~Heidi
You can listen to more podcast episodes of Love Wide Open with Heidi Dellaire here or other podcast platforms.
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