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One of my ex’s use to describe himself as a tornado, a nod to the havoc he felt like he caused when you crossed paths with him. I was reminded of this description recently as I thought through the people that are still in my life, whom can justly be described as such a natural, disaster. Most people don’t realize the destruction they bring, which makes it even more important to be attune to your internal radar. It’s been a very hard lesson, but over the years, I’ve learned to take heed to the warning signs and evacuate.

When all is said and done, you and you alone are responsible for your own emotional health. In other words, stop expecting truth from the liar, compassion from the selfish, consciousness from the mindless, acceptance from the prejudice, attention from the aloof, accountability from the irresponsible, generosity from the greedy, depth from the shallow, maturity from the infantile, friendship from the antagonist, support from the self-centered, or any type of positive from the negative.

If you truly think about it, and do a thorough inventory, you may feel like you might as well become a loner. However, this is one scenario where strength does NOT come in numbers and more so than with any other topic–knowledge is power. You only need a hand full of people you can truly rely on and knowing exactly who those people are can save you a world of heartache, disappointment, and wasted energy.

Once you’ve taken the time to categorize, how do you manage those eager to cause destruction? A physical evacuation may not always be possible (or necessary), especially when it comes to family and co-workers, but an emotional one, most definitely is. Once you know someone is undeserving of your emotional availability learn to lock your heart, mind, and spirit away in a storm cellar while you’re in their presence. Otherwise, they’ll effortlessly take you out, and while it may feel personal, on the occasions you fail to retreat, remember that it’s not. You can choose a path of construction, reconstruction, or deconstruction, but neither runs parallel; the option to re-route will always present itself. Don’t fall victim to the disorientation. When the storm passes, take time out to regroup, and keep it moving.