Much like the reality that you can’t please everyone, it’s also a universal truth that not everyone can please you either. There will always be negative forces in everyday life that threaten your ability to be happy, healthy, mentally stable, growing, and/or your best version of yourself.

These negative people may resent your successes, cling to your place of subservience in their life, feel jealous, or prefer stagnation to change.

The effects of these feelings on the way the negative person treats you can range from anger to manipulation to outright cruelty and a whole mess of dangerous emotions and reactions in between. They are sabotaging every step forward you take and clinging to your wrists to hold you back in their sad little rut.

It’s time you commit to identifying, understanding, and removing these people from your life before they steal more pieces of your precious life that you can never get back.

Treat Yourself Kindly

The primary place to start when considering any major changes to your life or social group is thinking “Is this what’s best for me and my well-being?”

Way beyond the impact on other people, consider any development or self-improvement steps you take in your life for their actual ramifications. Positive changes should make you happier, more fulfilled, and improve you mental, physical, and emotional state. It should feel like a weight is lifted.

Don’t turn the bad things people project and bring into your life back on yourself. You are the architect of your own happiness. Make an effort to consider all angles and what makes you happy as a person.

Self-care is the crux of every decision worth making.

Examine your Flaws and Maladaptive Behaviors

In the same way that you treat yourself with care and respect, you should also consider yourself with honest eyes and ears. Make sure you’re not the problem, angry, cruel, or resentful in the relationship before you decide to sever ties.

Consider your own flaws and shortcomings and how they might affect others. Examine your maladaptive behaviors closely. Do your actions hurt or manipulate others? Are you lying often? Do you consider anyone else’s feelings but your own? Are you giving back what you take from people?

Ask yourself probing questions and give yourself honest answers. Write down how you’re feeling in a private journal and keep track of your moods and behaviors for a few weeks.

Understanding your own behavior and thinking patterns is an immeasurably valuable exercise.

Create, Communicate, and Maintain Boundaries

Some people have difficulty brainstorming boundaries that they need between themselves and other people in order to remain in a good state of mind. The genesis of these boundaries should take place early on in the relationship when you start to see how you and the other person intermingle.

However you physically and mentally deal with each other should give you a good idea of where a line needs to be drawn between friendliness and overbearance or between advice and hurtful criticism.

Once the boundaries have been created, be sure to communicate them with a thoughtful cadence upfront and also at a few key points along the way, should situations call for a re-establishment.

The communication and maintenance of personal space and personal limits allows you to set ground rules and preemptively negate a significant proportion of over-stepping in the average individual.

Speak Your Feelings and Thoughts Directly

Along with the communication of boundaries, your opinions and feelings should be communicated openly.

If someone is hurting you or making you feel threatened or bad about yourself, feel free to speak up. If the other person reacts negatively to your honest opinion, then they are the perfect example of someone you should cut out of your life. People worth your time will take it upon themselves to listen and shift their behavior when it’s causing you pain.

Don’t pussyfoot around the point you’re trying to make either. Pick your words carefully and bluntly describe your thoughts so as to minimize any sort of interpersonal confusion or mixed signals.

Don’t Get Manipulated by Guilt

Manipulative people have many tricks up their sleeves that they use to paint you into corners that give them exactly what they want: control. Don’t let their guilt tactics eat away at your resolve.

You do not owe anyone anything.

If a man who wants you romantically has spent time talking to you for a long time and you don’t harbor these same romantic feelings, you do not owe it to him to continue talking. You can disappear off the face of the earth, if you wish, and that’s okay. Your safety is the utmost concern and not the opinions or expectations of others.

If you don’t feel like responding to someone, don’t respond. If you’d rather not attend a social event, then don’t attend. There may be social consequences, if they are friendships you’d rather maintain, but the choice is yours.

You can’t please everybody and you can only do what is in your best interest. When you have true friends and meaningful relationships beyond those you wish to sever, then you may make more selfless decisions because their actions have given you the trust and security needed to feel comfortable about it, but don’t force it.

Don’t let the expectations of your acquaintances dictate your behavior, if it’s not the behavior you want to be associated with or it’s not in your best interest.

Free Others from Expectations While Freeing Yourself

In all fairness, levying these types of boundaries and taking your own life back into your own hands is only great if it’s even-handed.

Now that you’ve considered so many of the ways other people influence and dictate your own life, take a moment to survey how you treat people as well.

It’s not right to expect a certain level of flexibility in others and not grant them the same privilege. Make sure you’re not the negative person influencing other people’s lives in harmful ways. Take stock in your role in the lives of those close to you and what benefits you mutually provide each other.

If the relationship only goes in one direction, it’s time to either change or reconsider the way you interact, no matter which side the greediness is coming from.

Practice Acceptance

Maybe a relationship you once treasured has now veered out of control into dangerous territory. Don’t blame yourself. That is not always a bad thing. People come into and leave our lives constantly and that is just the way that life needs to pan out sometimes.

Don’t fret and regret and obsess over the changes you’ve made to your life, wondering if it was the right decision. We’re all where we are supposed to be in any given moment. It’s not that there’s no room for forgiveness, but that will take time. In the present context, you’re better off.

Take a deep breath, accept the choices you’ve made, and take solace in the fact that you’re actively taking the wheel when it comes to your own personal growth and development. Any brick you lay that takes you one step closer to happiness is a worthy pursuit.