I’ve often wondered how people remain in unstable environments for years, subjecting themselves to toxic relationships and unproductive conditions. Being a child born of the late 70’s, I’m old enough to know that we are not living in the same circumstances of my grandparents (1920’s) or even my parents (mid 1950’s). If you’re familiar with these generations, you know that traditionally, characteristics like loyalty, commitment, transparency, reliability, and altruism were desirable and honored traits. From the home front to the workforce and socially, these traits have almost taken a back seat to self-centered goals, driven by less admirable traits like selfishness, dishonesty, and unfaithfulness. Of course these are generalized statements for those who have found themselves in less desirable circumstances. If you find that you are currently in a healthy, thriving environment and for the most part are surrounded by like-minded people, cherish it and count it as one of many blessings. After finding myself in a few tough situations this past year, I learned several valuable lessons, most importantly, it is possible to thrive or at the least maintain, in a bad environment. Your desire to commit to a period of transition, personal growth, or goal planning should determine how long to stay in a bad environment. Committing to an unstable environment comes with many challenges and your commitment will be tested. There are things that must be in place in order to see your goals through.
- Most importantly, keep a positive mind-set. As a Christian, Philippians 4:8 encourages us to think on those things that bring us peace. This is a healthy goal to keep in mind in good or bad times, as a positive mindset will assist in dealing with the stress and remaining focused on your long-term goals. Stress management skills are useful in this process. My Favorite Stress Busters
- Remember that your values may not be shared values with those around you. If the relationship is a long-term personal relationship, you should have shared values or be able to compromise as you continue to grow in the relationship. There may be times when you do not have the same values as people who you have transactional relationships with, like someone you have to work with to accomplish a goal. As frustrating as it can be, you will have to accomplish the goal without asserting your values onto others. It is possible to work on a common goal and contribute to your core values without imposing your values into the process of completing the goals.
- Some destinations and people are only meant to be a part of your life for a season. Recognition of when its time to change environments, is vitally important to your continued personal growth and success. If the cons of the environment begin to outweigh the pros or begin to effect you emotionally or physically, its probably a good idea to consider your options. Like a plant, you can not grow, when you an environment that has negatively effected your core system.
- Don’t let your current situation and circle define who you are. Its okay to say no to opportunities that are not aligned with your future goals. There may be people in your life who will offer constructive criticism, which is great for sharpening skills, and challenging you to develop character and growth in the areas of need. Be careful in considering criticism that may be rooted in their inability to see you as anything other than your current status. This type of criticism can also be their doubt in your ability to succeed. Other’s people doubt can sidetrack you, if you allow it to turn into dictation of goals and plans. Define your inner circle and choose healthy relationships, surrounding yourself with people that motivate, encourage, and even challenge you to be your best.
- Set realistic long-term and short-term goals. Invest in a goal planner, to decisively write your vision, and track your steps towards bringing it to fruition. My favorite planner is the Vision Planner by Bloom Daily Planners and I use it daily to stay organized and on track towards my vision.
- Live for real moments. You may be fortunate enough to have a career, family, friends, and a home that you love. Keep in mind that difficult circumstances can be temporary, if you want them to be. Stay present and in the moment when you are able to enjoy the sweet side of life, like social outings, vacations, or quiet moments in your home. These are the moments to live for and channel your energy to.