Trent Shelton on Letting Go Of Negative People — Calm Blog
We’ve all encountered negative people: those who scowl when you say hello or can’t make it through a conversation without putting someone else down. Sometimes, we can brush off these interactions when they’re with acquaintances — you can’t always choose who you run into, live next to, or work with.
But what happens when the naysayers are the people closest to you — the friend who complains all the time; the parent who doesn’t respect your boundaries; the sibling who doesn’t cheer on your successes?
“When you have people that you love that don’t show up for you like you expect, it hurts,” Trent Shelton, motivational speaker and former NFL wide receiver says. “It’s crushing to know that the people that you want the best for don’t always want the best for you.” On Calm’s audio series The Spark, Trent explains why removing yourself from negative people, even temporarily, is crucial at times.
Granted, it’s a lot easier said than done. Setting boundaries with the people we care about most is by no means a simple task. Still, it is necessary to help you realize your full potential. Ahead, we’ve gathered some tips from Trent:
Envision your future self.
Take some time to do a little soul searching. Are the actions you’re taking now aligned with your vision for your future self? Maybe you want to be healthier or more adventurous. Maybe you’re chasing a dream job. Or perhaps you just generally want to be happier. Whatever it is that you want, really envision yourself as that person and start acting like it.
It might help to think of someone you admire. Would that person tolerate someone else belittling their dreams or dragging them down? No? Then neither should you. Remember, you are in control of your life, and you—not anyone else—get to dictate its direction.
Evaluate your support system.
Think about the people in your inner circle. Do they bring happiness and positivity into your life? Do they help you find joy? Do you share the same values? Do they support your aspirations? If the answer is no, it’s time to consider why they’re not helping you become that better version of yourself.
“You want to get around people who remind you of your greatness… who remind you of your worth,” Trent says. The first step is to minimize time with negative people, and instead, surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you. Not only will they help bring out the best qualities in you, but they can also help hold you accountable as you progress.
Have the difficult conversation.
Breakups aren’t easy, even if they aren’t permanent. But telling people that you need space, and why, can be one of the healthiest things you can do for your growth. Just know that not everyone might be receptive.
“Some people aren’t going to understand it,” Trent says. “Some people don’t even want to have that conversation, but it’s necessary. You’re not only doing yourself an injustice by keeping a relationship that’s not good, you’re also doing them an injustice.”
There are some things you can do to help make the conversation more effective, though. Be clear and direct, and try to explain what it is that you need at this point in your life. This is a healthy decision that you’re making for your benefit. The people who really care about you will be respectful, even if it’s painful.
Once you’ve had the talk, it might be helpful to set additional boundaries. You’re not responsible for how someone receives the news, and you don’t have to take calls or respond to messages if they’re not serving you. It’s more than okay to take some time for yourself.
Focus on the positives.
Even the best changes can be uncomfortable. Understandably, you might have second thoughts or feel guilty. When you have doubts, think again about your future self. What would that future you—the person who is happy and empowered—tell your current self? Let those words guide you, and know that you are worthy of happiness.
Who knows, maybe your journey will inspire those you love to work on themselves, too.
Remember, this can be temporary.
Some people might remain in your past, and that’s okay. But as you grow, you might also find that you’re ready to welcome others back into your life. It could be weeks, months, or even years before you’re ready; there’s no set time limit.
In the meantime, know that just because you’ve distanced yourself from someone doesn’t mean you don’t still love them. You can cheer them on from a distance. Stay focused on your happiness, and continue to fill your life with people who bring out the best in you.
Tune in toThe Spark on Calm for more inspiration.