Understand the three kinds of relationships you have in your life. People who leave you alone are dealing with your suffering as a nuisance or inconvenience; they prefer to keep their distance in order to feel better themselves. Those who help you have the strength and awareness to do more with your suffering than you are able to do by yourself. Those who hurt you want the situation to stay the same because they do not have your well-being at heart.
Honestly count how many people are in each category you have in your life. This isn’t the same as counting friends and loving family members. Assess others solely as they relate to your difficulties.
Having made a realistic count, take the following attitude:
1. I will no longer bring my problems to anyone who wants to leave me alone. It’s not good for them or me. They don’t want to help, so I will not ask them to.
2. I will share my problems with those who want to help me. I will not reject genuine offers of assistance out of pride, insecurity, or doubt. I will ask people to join me in my healing and make them a bigger part of my life.
3. I will put a distance between myself and those who want to hurt me. I do not have to confront them, guilt-trip them, or make them the cause of my self-pity. But I cannot afford to absorb their toxic effect on me, and if that means keeping my distance, I will.
Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 2004). Reprinted by permission of the author.