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Ever heard the theory that we’re a reflection of the five people we spend the most time with? It’s an idea from motivational speaker Jim Rohn, and it holds a lot of truth. Whether we like it or not, the people we surround ourselves with greatly influence our way of thinking, self-esteem, and decision-making.
That’s why Laura and I think building and maintaining healthy relationships is so important. I believe that my solid relationships have helped me get to where I am today – without Laura as my best friend, my beautiful parents and brother, or my fiancé Josh, I don’t know where I’d be.
Figuring out who might be a negative influence on us, and who has a positive one, isn’t always easy – but it’s a step towards living a happier life.
Weed out toxic relationships
Take a moment to think about your current relationships – friendship, romantic, or otherwise. This is a checklist that will help you identify any toxic relationships you might currently have:
• Does your friend truly want you to be happy? Do they seem genuinely excited or pleased when you are happy?
• Are they happy or supportive when it comes to your success?
• Do they make efforts to control you?
• Do you feel good about yourself when you’re around them?
• Does the relationship feel equal?
• Do you trust them?
If you responded to any of those questions with a “no”, it’s worth asking why. If “no” was your answer to the majority of questions, the answer is obvious: your relationship with that person isn’t healthy.
Identifying the toxic people in our lives can be really confronting but the fact is a toxic relationship will never enrich your life. If your friend doesn’t have your best interests at heart, or isn’t supportive when you need them, it’s best to let them go.
This could mean having a conversation with the person, to explain that you won’t be in contact anymore. If that feels too confrontational for you, try to gradually reduce the time and energy you spend on this person until you feel comfortable.
And if you answered “yes” to all of those questions? It sounds like you’ve got a pretty incredible friend, hold onto them!
Find a partner who loves you for you
Although I’ve known him for more than half my life, I think it was a blessing in disguise that Josh and I had experiences with other relationships before we got together. Even though he was there all along, we both look back and agree that we got together at the right time and needed to have our own relationships first. The best thing about our relationship is that we know each other so well – I’ve been myself from the beginning, so know he loves me for me!
It definitely wasn’t always that way. Before Josh, I let myself be treated in a way that I would never accept today. One of my relationships went for two-and-a-half years, and was filled with serious trust issues. We were constantly fighting, and eventually it became clear that he had been cheating on me for the majority of the relationship. It was so, so painful, but looking back it also taught me to not fear being alone.
If I’d never known that boyfriend was cheating on me, we might have tried to ‘stick things out’, and maybe the timing between Josh and I would’ve never worked.
And that brings me to Josh. Lots of girls ask me how I trust Josh, and the answer is really simple: I just do. I trust him with my whole heart because he’s never given me a reason to feel otherwise. Our relationship is built on trust and mutual respect – we love each other unconditionally.
We’ve been through a lot together, and it hasn’t always been easy, but I feel happy, beautiful, and loved when I’m with him.
And that’s what really matters, right?