Bad influences are everywhere, and those who are unaware of them are particularly susceptible to their impact. This can lead to poor choices, toxic lifestyles and unhappiness in general. To maintain a safe and healthy distance from harmful people and things, you must cultivate an awareness of them and their potential effects. You should also be prepared to respond appropriately, sometimes repeating your words and actions as often as necessary to fully disassociate yourself from the negativity.
Identify the bad influences in your life. Recognizing them can be challenging, so it is necessary to carefully analyze how you respond to external factors. Consider how you feel about yourself after spending time with other individuals, and whether you are at your best when you're with them. A friend who successfully manages to convince you to stay out late the night before an important meeting, or an acquaintance who encourages drug use as a means of having fun, is a bad influence.
Set firm personal boundaries. They are "essential to healthy relationships and, really, a healthy life," states psychologist Margarita Tartakovsky in her Psych Central article "10 Ways to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries." This refers to the actions and behaviors of others that you are unwilling to tolerate. Once you are aware of who and what negatively influences you, you can set limits accordingly. To effectively assert your boundaries, be firm, honest and respectful. This means explaining to the negative people in your life that you will no longer have contact with them.
Take deliberate steps to maintain distance from your negative influences. For instance, you may avoid the places where you are likely to see them or limit contact with mutual acquaintances. It is also necessary to reflect on the reasons you may have engaged in these toxic relationships for as long as you did. Doing so may help you avoid unhealthy relationships in the future. Because self-exploration can be a challenging endeavor, consider enlisting the help of a professional. Especially when you are surrounded by negativity, it is critical to ensure your physical and emotional well-being, according to the North Carolina State University's Student Health Center website post "Self Care."
Jill Avery-Stoss is a graduate of Penn State University and a writer and editor based in northeast Pennsylvania. Having spent more than a decade working with victims of sexual and domestic violence, she specializes in writing about women's issues, with emphasis on families and relationships.