Timely vlog today from Steve Siebold -- yes, I mentioned recently in the context of fatloser coaching, that I'm on his email blast! But he's about much more than weight loss -- his bedrock is what he calls "mental toughness" and critical thinking. And I thought this short video critical thinking message from Steve today was very illuminating.
Essentially, what he says is that sustaining toxic relationships takes too much emotional energy and also extracts too high a price in self-esteem.
Most toxic relationships arise from a fundamental clash of values. And so when he finds himself in such relationships: he limits them. Whether personal or business relationships. Sometimes and depending upon the impact of the disparate values, by ending them entirely, while other times distancing and minimizing the contact suffices.
For example: he won't tolerate people with racist views. At all. He won't tolerate people who behave in demeaning fashion to co-workers. At all.
And in contrast, he says, most enduring relationships -- such as friendships and most especially long marriages -- are based upon shared values. Not so much on emotional "attraction" which may be important, even necessary: but is never sufficient.
Most of us are all about diversity, about respect for differences -- understanding with empathy that we need to walk in the shoes of those from different cultures (or, in the case of dogs, "walk in their paws"!!)
But: there are most definitely limits to that tolerance if we are to sustain our own self-respect as human beings.
Canada's governor general -- a very distinguished scientist and former astronaut -- has today tendered her resignation. Because of wide spread complaints from her workplace colleagues about her abusive behaviours in that vice-regal workplace. Utterly unacceptable. After a thorough workplace investigation, her resignation was apparently sought by our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. She, and her 2IC -- according to the investigation, also very abrasive -- are both gone. Suddenly and dramatically. Front page news up here!
Compare President Joe Biden who says, with passionate sincerity that's entirely credible: he's all about unity and bi-partisanship. But, he was within his first day in office also quoted as telling his staff: I won't tolerate any incivility in the workplace. If you cannot treat your colleagues with courtesy and respect, then I promise you, you'll be gone. No disparaging, no name-calling, no ad hominem attacks. Refreshing!! Good on him.
There's no inconsistency in Biden's two positions: tolerance for diversity and intolerance of incivility. Management must manage in business or political settings . . . even parent- managers in personal settings, such as families. But: we can disagree without being disagreeable. Civility is not an optional extra. Civilization depends upon civility.
And I do know for myself: those are my values. Not theoretically but in my actions. There are limits to my tolerance for "diversity" when such diversity encroaches upon my fundamental values.
When a relationship becomes toxic, I either distance myself or discontinue the relationship. Rarely is actual confrontation necessary, although when it is I don't shy away from that either.
We're done. I end it.
Have done so, not often but as necessary for my own self-preservation: over and over again, over many decades. For example, I'm gonna end it entirely if it's a matter of bullying or racism, for sure. But if it's just a matter of eating a whole lot of junk food every time we get together then probably I'm just going to distance it. That will be enough for me (although sadly, some friends no longer wanted to hang out if cheeseburgers and French fries weren't going to be involved! and that's OK).
Has that been your experience too?
What Siebold doesn't say explicitly but is a reasonable critical thinking inference: sometimes we can see the need to end toxic relationships which violate values happening not only on an individual basis but in larger community and even national contexts.
When a relationship becomes toxic and corrosive of fundamental values such as democracy -- and even if that relationship serves their financial interests or their power interests or some other set of important but clashing interests -- sometimes quite large groups of people decide that nevertheless, they have to end it. And then, good and decent people do that. That's what they do. So they can continue to uphold their own values, their own goodness and decency.
Preferably through democratic processes, and not through civil war.