How to Distance Yourself from “Them”

I started with the premise of How + Why to Kick Folks Out of Your Life, and I know my words spoke to you, because they came through me FOR you.

Did you consider the first element, forgiveness?
How did it go?

Did you make your list of the potential tragedies and triumphs associated with forgiveness?

If you did, then good for you; the process WILL heal you over time.
But not before deciding how to distance yourself from that person or situation, once you’ve confirmed that they are on the You Gotta Go list.

PART TWO :: DISTANCE

What does loving from a distance mean to you?

For some of us, it simply means seeing the person less.
Guess what? THAT’S NOT ENOUGH!

If you are truly committed to kicking someone out of your life, this probably means you’ve given them more than one opportunity to show you that you and they are aligned. If you are not, know that you are perfectly within your rights to decide not to take in their energy.  Here’s how…

STRATEGY

Clearly stating your intentions.
This means letting the person know you’ll be a lot less available in the future. You can choose to say why, but you can also choose to simply state your intention, and not offer up any detailed explanations. If you’re not the Larry David type, and don’t want to get right to the meat of the thing–it’s okay! If you feel obligated (or pressured) to give a reason, keep it simple. Statements such as “life got complicated” or “I’m figuring some things out right now, and I’m taking the space to do that” are great because they’re deliciously ambiguous, but still reiterate your main point: less of them, more of you.

Replacing your old habit with a new one.
Sometimes, allowing yourself to be with and around people who don’t add value to your life is simply a matter of habit. Perhaps you grew up together, or went to college together, and even though you grew apart, you had access to each other, so you stayed connected. Or perhaps it’s a family member, and you’re just in the habit of hanging out, or taking their call every time. Here’s the thing, you always have the right to choose what you want for your life. And yes, this includes people. So, when you find yourself about to accept their call, or respond with a “yes” to their lets-hang-later text, DO SOMETHING to make yourself aware of the habit! Here are my top three do-somethingers:

Game Over1. The Dead Mario noise: Ever played Super Mario Brothers?  When Mario loses his last bit of energy, and the game is over, there’s a distinctive sound to confirm that you are in fact, dead. Make a habit of playing that sound in your mind whenever you’re in a position to choose whether to be around that person.  When we allow ourselves to be pulled down by draining energy, we are quite literally losing bits of our life force.

This option is designed to remind you to pause and make a conscious decision about whether being around this person is a life-enhancer or an energy-drainer. The point is to CHOOSE, as opposed to following your habit.

Ball Gag2. The Ball Gag approach: Yes, I know what images that gag conjures up in the minds of most. That’s fine, because either way, the end result is devoid of comprehensible words, and that’s the goal.  Many times we kick someone out of our daily lives just to have their goings-on be reported to us in the form of juicy gossip, can-you-believe-its, or even well-meaning friends and family who want to chit-chat or vent. You’ve got to tell them clearly that you DO NOT WANT UPDATES about this person. Keep “gagging” them with the No, thank yous until they get the point!

This option is designed to empower you to …you guessed it… CHOOSE who has access to your time and attention. If you are creating distance, then the last thing you need is a regular progress report, right? Then let people know that!

SOUL

I believe in prayer, and I believe in meditation. If either of these concepts resonate with you, then use them to help you clear your mental and physical space of this person’s energy. I was taught the Erase the Blackboard technique by a friend many years ago, and it still serves me well.

1. Imagine yourself as the only person in a classroom.
There’s you, empty desks, a chalkboard, one thick stick of white chalk, and a brand new chalkboard eraser.
2. Stand by the chalkboard, holding the thick stick of chalk, and fill the board with as much detail as possible about the person. The details can be both positive and negative (in the end, it doesn’t matter, because the meaning we assign to things, e.g. good or bad, is merely our own story), just write.
3. When you’ve written all the way to the bottom right of the chalk board, put down what’s left of the chalk, then pick up the brand new eraser.
4. Start from the bottom right of the chalkboard, and erase from right to left, going up a line after you’ve erased the full width of the board. Keep erasing in smooth, gentle strokes from left to right, then right to left, NEVER removing the eraser from the board, until there’s no more chalk; no more writing.
5. When the board is clear, put down the eraser, and walk out of the classroom.

If you let this exercise take you, it’s powerful because it will give you power over your thoughts around the person, and your right to see or not see them in any given moment.

Try out the above Strategy + Soul techniques, and tell me what you discover.

Next up…LOYALTY.

  • Hi Akilah,
    This article is fantastic. I couldn’t agree with you more. I started practicing this very thing several years ago and the amount of PEACE & HAPPINESS that I’ve received have been astounding! I’m glad to see another person who knows what I’m talking about and has the to courage to carry it out.

    P.S. I hadn’t heard of the black board method until now and I greatly appreciate you sharing it. This is a great Life Design & Empowerment tool!