“Winter Cleaning” – How To Rid Your Life of Toxic People

Have you ever found yourself questioning a personal relationship with someone – or multiple people – in your life, due to a shift in who you’ve become?  You, all of a sudden, see someone for who they truly are – in a different light – and realize, it’s not as pretty as you had once thought?  It’s one of the most interesting things in my life that I have begun to analyze – and, quite recently, it’s been happening a lot to me.  When I find lessons being learned in my own life (based on personal experience), I usually feel the need to offer them up to other people, in hopes that it gets their wheels turning.

Today’s lesson being shared: How to see those toxic relationships, acknowledge them, learn from them, and move on to more positive relationships (you know, the one’s you’ll actually benefit from).

1. Listen To How People Speak About Others :

7b7ec8dd74741c27ddef8aa066be9c54Have you ever been in a room with someone you think is going to be a positive influence in your life… someone you find yourself wanting to learn things from… and all they do is bad mouth the people around them?  Know, in that moment, the best lesson you can learn from them is what a toxic environment feels like.  People who CONSTANTLY bad mouth others are toxic people, and often, not happy – and, let’s be honest – who needs that in their life?  Trying to build others up by knocking other people down is doing nothing but forming a negative environment.  I learned this the hard way.  I’ve been that person who sits in a room, listens to the negativity and due to craving the attention of those people (who I thought could help better my future), I feed into it.  I have been that person who has felt the negativity so strongly that I turned into that type of person.  Lucky for me, I have allowed myself to grow from that and realize that in order to get places in life – negativity is NOT the key.

Take Away:  You may have to work with these types of people, or live with these types of people – but it doesn’t mean you have to BE that type of person.  People who badmouth others to make themselves feel better about who they are are toxic people.  Work with them, live with them (if you must) – but don’t take it to heart … don’t become that type of person.  Let it go.  Take what they say and how they say it with a grain of salt, and move on to the positive people and moments in your life.

 

2. Live Your Life – Embrace The Mistakes & Stay Positive:

You will rarely find someone that thinks exactly like you, because no two people are exactly alike.  I mean, that’s what makes life interesting, right?  Everything that you do, or say is done and54400671605f9725e98f83ff85a5a0aa said because it’s what YOU want to do or say.  Other people may not agree with the way that you live your life – but, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Some people (healthy people to have in your life) will hear you out, let you try things out and offer friendly advice.  Toxic people will continuously be negative if they feel differently about something.  In those moments remember that it is YOUR life – and that if YOU feel what you are doing is right, then for you – it is.  Sometimes, mistakes are made and lessons are learned – but, that’s what helps us grow.  Put in your head that mistakes are made to form growth opportunities – they are made to help you learn more about yourself and the world around you – they CAN be a positive thing, as long as you learn from them and apply what you’ve learned.  Toxic people will always look at mistakes as a reason to badger people and bring people down.  Let them be the negative ones, but don’t let their negativity keep you from living your life and being happy in it.

Take Away:  Plain & simple – Live your life for you … and embrace every moment. Be proud of what you accomplish, and brush off the negative comments.  Life will only be as good as you allow it to – and no one else should have a say in that.

 

3. Don’t Take Negativity Of Others To Heart – Shift The Way You Think:

Growing up there was that lovely phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” – remember that?  Remember saying it to kids on the playground, and still feeling hurt 5eb3cbc6ad13f82658f9252c6fc1c8d0anyway (but you were REALLY trying to convince the bullies otherwise?).  As we grow (or, at least as I grew up), you find it harder and harder to ignore things that have been said about you.  You find them eating at you and thinking, “why would people say things like that – ESPECIALLY when they don’t know me OR the whole story?”.  There have been so many times in my life when I felt down on myself because of what someone else thought, or said about me.  In the past those statements have brought me endless anxiety, sleepless nights and the constant need to work harder to prove people wrong.

Over the last few weeks (really, last few days) I’ve had this revelation (that I wish I had a LONG time ago).  People are going to say what they want, they are going to believe what they want, and they are going to treat you how they want (especially if it makes them feel better about themselves) – but it’s up to YOU what you do with all of that.  Personally, I’ve decided that negativity no longer has a place in my life.

Take Away: Challenge yourself to counteract the thoughts and actions of naysayers.  People are going to say, do and believe as they wish but it does NOT have to ruin you or your life.  What people say, do or believe does not change who you are.  Be the positivity in your own life – surround yourself with people who lift you up, and those that are consistently negative will virtually seem nonexistent.  Free yourself of the negativity.

 

So – with all of that being said, as you begin to see people in a light that you view as toxic … if you see that those people are bringing nothing but untruths and negativity to your life … free yourself of them.  Life is too short to be presented with people who are trying to bring you down. 

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This is my life… In Progress,

-Kristin

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5 Life Lessons Learned from Yoga – A Reflection On 2014

For those of you who know me well, you know I’ve been on a yoga journey for exactly one year.  At the start of 2014 I decided to start teaching myself yoga with the use of some iPhone / iPad apps (Yoga Studio is STILL my favorite).  Once I got comfortable with the basic stuff I started taking classes, which ultimately led to my fascination with hot yoga.  While my practice hasn’t been 100% consistent, I’m proud of the journey I’ve taken (and where it’s taking me) and extremely grateful for the things it has taught me.  Yoga, for me, turned from “an additional workout” to a way of life.  I found myself consistently thinking about the passages read in certain classes, or the advice given by instructors and not only applying to them to what I was learning in classes, but also to my life.  These are some of the greatest points I have applied to both my practice AND my life, that I thought I’d share with you today:

v3121) “Send your breath to the struggle”:

In yoga, we are consistently learning new asanas that may be a little difficult for our body to get into. Naturally, when that happens, we tend to hold our breath and focus on the struggle, instead of focusing on our breath and allowing our body to release into whatever pose our body is taking.  By focusing on our breath, you can actually send your breath to the area of struggle and a release will eventually happen.  Focusing on the breath allows our bodies to relax, which in turn allows our bodies to trust us and fall deeper into the asana.

Life Lesson:  We all deal with daily struggles.  Every one of us deals with something different and we all deal with them in a different way.  Send your breath to the struggle.  By focusing on your breath when things are going wrong, we can help adjust our mindset and refocus.   This year I have gone through so many personal struggles, and I haven’t always been the best at taking a deep breath and refocusing – but, this is something I’m working on.  If I can do it in class, why not apply it to life?

2) “Respect where you are today”:

In yoga, some days your body will bend and twist in ways you never thought possible – and other days, those bends and twists will seem impossible.  Instead of getting angry and frustrated, respect where your body is – live in the moment – and remind yourself that tomorrow is another day.

Life Lesson: Some days you wake up on top of the world, and some days you wake up and feel like the world is attacking you.  We’ve all been there.  Nothing is going right, you’re wondering where bad karma is coming from and you get frustrated.  Think about all of the bad moments in your past, how you’ve gotten through each and every one of them, and are here today – in this moment. Instead of letting it completely ruin your day, work as hard as you can, know that you did, respect where you are and know that tomorrow is another day.

3) “Sometimes, you just have to laugh at yourself”:laugh

This little tid bit brings me back to me days at Yogi Power Yoga in Sewell (shout out to all the 5:30 am yogis!).  This was the place I experienced my first hot yoga classes, and fell in love with it.  There were PLENTY of days where my warrior was NOT so strong… my tree branches were totally “Swaying in the wind”, or my crow was a total faceplant … and I would giggle it out.  Instead of being reprimanded, my laughs were embraced.  I didn’t let the fact that the pose I could do so well yesterday, which was a COMPLETE and epic failure today, get to me in a negative way.  I would say “touche body, touche” and try again – and laugh some more.  Since then if I’m in class and my balance is way off or my flow is completely messed up – I laugh it out, I smile, and I move on.  IT’S OKAY TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF.

Life Lesson: Short & sweet – We all do dumb things every now and again, but what’s the beauty of life if we can all laugh at ourselves and share our hilarity with the people we love the most?  I thank God every day for that AM crew at Yogi Power, and all the amazing instructors, who taught me it was okay to laugh at myself.  I embrace that now – in every aspect of my life.

4) “If you feel tension, let it go”:

Often in classes you’ll be reaching for your toes, or headed into some other asana, and your neck or your shoulders, or something else tenses up.  Good instructors will always make it a point to tell you to relax your shoulders and relax your neck and find the tensions and just let them go.  I used to find myself thinking (and still do sometimes)… “How does one just “let it go”?  If I knew how to stop feeling this terrible tightness in my body, obviously I would do it!” – But then, with some focused breathing and deepening into my practice, it happens.  Maybe not all at once, and maybe not the first time around, but eventually it happens.  When it happens, it’s one of the best feelings ever.   You drop your shoulders, you find your drishti (focal point), and your body will allow the tensions to release.

Life Lesson: Tension is caused by SO MANY ASPECTS of our every day lives – relationships, money, work, health, etc.  While it’s not always easy to “let go” of all of those things, it is easy -and beneficial- to find your (metaphorically speaking here) drishti and release the tensions.  So often we spend so much time worrying about things that are toxic in our life, instead of focusing on the positive things.  By “letting go” of the negative things in your life – the tensions – you are able to focus on the good and grow from those moments.

Last, but certainly not least…

5) “Never compare yourself to the people around you”:

This has taken me a REALLY long time to learn – and, at times, I find myself having to remind ..well, myself.. not to do this.  I have been to so many amazing studios with so many amazing instructors (a lot of which I will list below in case anyone is looking for great yoga classes in Jersey / MD) who have driven this point home over and over again.  Your practice is yours, and their practice is theirs.  What they do should have no bearing on what you’re doing – unless, of course, it’s for inspirational and motivational purposes.  The person next to you may be able to bend and twist and invert – maybe they can do all three at once – and maybe you can’t … YET.  Respect your practice, respect your journey – and yes, recognize theirs – but, never compare.

Life Lesson: I mean, I’m pretty sure this one is self explanatory, but here it is.  In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You”.   Compare yourself to no one but yourself.  They are them, you are you.  EMBRACE YOU.  Be proud of who you are, be proud of where you are, set goals and go for them – and be proud when you accomplish them.  Use other people as inspiration and motivation to get to where you want to be, but NEVER get down on yourself because you’re not where someone else is in life.  Your journey is your own.  Respect your journey!

My Journey So Far:

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In Jersey or Maryland and feeling like you need some yoga therapy in your life??  Here are some amazing places to go:

Central Jersey:

(I have taken Sam’s class multiple times and LOVE it!!)

South Jersey:

(I never had a bad instructor here – ever … Lynette(now in FL), Shannon, Marisa, Lindsey, and Piera)

South Jersey / Philly:

(Justin Reilly’s classes are AMAZING if you’re looking for a challenge and to grow!!)

Maryland:

(Ali’s class brought me back to my practice when I moved here – love her!!  Sid and Sid IV’s classes are both so awesome and challenging!  Ken, Gabby and Liz and Nilvis also rock as instructors

… so, basically, I haven’t taken a bad class here – ever.)

This is my life… In Progress,

Happy New Year Everyone!!

-Kristin

Knowing the Difference: Want vs. Need

Recently, I had a Skype interview for a job that posed a really interesting and thought-provoking question.  I answered the question to the best of my ability and later on thought about all of the other answers I could have given (everyone does that, right?).  The question was a great one posed for higher education, but also got me thinking about certain things in life… and, who doesn’t love thought-provoking questions that encourage you to think about multiple things?

So- I figured … why not share?

The question:  Please provide us with something you feel that college students want, but don’t need and also with something college students need, but don’t necessarily want.  

During my interview I replied with an answer directed more towards Res Life, because that was the type of position I was interviewing for.  I spoke on the fact that students show up to college, often, with unrealistic thoughts of what it is like to live on a college campus because of the views that TV shows and movies provide.  Students want freedom, they want to feel like they’re able to do whatever they want, whenever they want and that they’re ready to take on the world.  In reality, I feel that students need someone there to help them transition into a new phase of their lives.  They don’t need a babysitter, or someone acting as a “helicopter” so to speak – but, people who are willing to mentor them, and help them on their way in casewantneed the get lost on the  brand new path they’re traveling – even if they don’t always want it.

Spark Notes Version:

  • Want, but don’t need = Complete freedom with no supervision
  • Need, but don’t (always) want =  Someone there to help them transition into a new phase of their lives

There are so many topics that can be brought to the table in regards to this question, in the realm of higher education.  At Rowan, one of the biggest topics of discussion when the new President was sworn in last year was that of making the campus even more focused on “Student Centeredness” than it already was.  By focusing on the students and all different types of student learners, Rowan (and all other institutions) would be giving the students what they need in order to develop skills so that they are able to have successful lives during and post-college.   By focusing on this question of want vs need in higher education, it really helps bring focus to student growth.

It was definitely an interesting question … and one I pose to the higher education community – both students and professionals.  What do you feel students want but don’t necessarily need – and vice versa?