Words to live by. If you have a satisfying job with happy people and surround yourself with others who are self-inflicted drama free, you are probably going to do very well in the near future. Life will throw plenty of obstacles in our way because this is Planet Earth. There will be health issues, work issues, and relationship issues. It is important to identify situations that are implicit train wrecks and eliminate them as quickly as possible. This may seem intuitively obvious and impossible at times but I assure you it is neither.

emotionsMost of us grow up in families that have from little to infinite dysfunction. The same goes for our classmates and teachers. As children, we have little to no choice about these situations and are forced to tolerate them. Given the option of firing an abusive parent or bully, I am sure that would be an easy choice to make. As we grow older, we often become conditioned to tolerating abuse or institutional practice that are clearly flawed. This eventually can take a toll and result in depression, irritability, and anger.

It need not be so. Prevention is the best policy whenever possible. Avoid people and situations saturated with bad vibes. If someone is miserable or hostile, they are not likely to change unless they express a clear motivations and plans to make a change for the better. If they are your significant other or boss, good luck with staying in that relationship and being happy. It might snow in October in Maryland, but it’s not likely. If you are “stuck” in a bad situation, the first step is to tactfully express the personal or professional relationship you desire. Don’t enter the blame game. Stay in the solutions business. Things might work out. If things don’t work out, it’s time to look for other options.

Sometimes we get caught in situations that are horrible but only “temporarily” so. I have many clients who are teachers, nurses, physicians in training, grad students etc….. who will tolerate long hours, low pay, verbal and physical threats because it’s “temporary.” They may spend most of their A – game in these toxic situations leaving little time for more fulfilling pursuits. Such is the nature of things. The problem arises when limits are pulled away. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Watch the Shining. So, it is essential to know how much is too much. If you are going to be stuck in an unpleasant situation without outlets for 2- infinity years, you may be cruising for a bruising. No when you will pull the plug in terms of duration and abuse. If someone threatens to kill you, is that something you would quit over? If someone tries to kill you, would you quit then? No your limits and be transparent about them. This means share what is acceptable or unacceptable with the powers that be and have an exit strategy if needed and execute it.

The best plan is to avoid unpleasant relationships when possible and to cultivate your desired relationships inter-personally, professionally, and artistically. In so doing, you will probably be surrounded by happier people and you may be happier as well. We can help you untangle a web if you are stuck in one and make sense of the best options available to you now and in the future.