For those who are unfamiliar, “Chaff” is the dry husk surrounding a wheat grain. Chaff is not digestable to humans, and so is worthless. As such, the term “Seperating the Wheat from the Chaff” essentially means “Seperating the Valuable from the Worthless”.
Human interaction is vital. We require it for professionl success. We crave it for happiness on a personal level. Few things can match positive interaction with another person in terms of emotional benefit.
However, there are times when the people we interact with are not beneficial, but quite the opposite. Reason would suggest that these people would not play a role in our lives for long, and yet we find ourselves embedding this individual deeper and deeper into our lives as the passing of time continues.
These people, those who for one reason or another have a negative impact on you (whether it be emotionally, physically, financially, or otherwise), I like to refer to as Toxic. Not in the sense of physically poisonous, but in Merriam-Webster’s 3rd alternate definition:
In this article, I am going to give a few ideas of the type of people that would be the “Chaff” from all parts of your personal life, why they should be removed from your life, what benefits you stand to gain from their removal, and give some of my own personal experience on this subject.
A Few Examples of Chaff:
1.) The Fair-weather Friend
This is, in my eyes, the most common. This is the friend that is YOUR friend when it is convenient and easy to do so. What makes them such varies, but in the end the attitude is the same: You could have a great job that you worked hard for and they like to be around you to soak up the benefits of it, but arent there when you take a paycut. Possibly, they know you will always be there anytime they need a favor. Maybe you have a mood disorder and they are always ready to be with you when you are up, but they are always busy when you need to talk. Regardless, the theme is the same: When it is easy to be your friend, expect them there. When it requires effort, they are nowhere to be found.
2.) The Taker
This is similar to the Fairweather Friend, but this person isnt just your friend because it is easy. They are your friend because they use you. They are able to gain something from you. They are like the kids who only went and hung out with another kid because he had cool toys. Have nice things? They are always wanting to come over and use them. Make good money? They are always trying to con you into spending it. Always willing to help someone in need? They constantly try and find reasons to be in need. They could even use you for sex.
And the using isnt always physical. They can use you for material things, sure… however, I personally have been used for my attention more than anything else. They can use you for your emotional support. Your happiness. Your love. They take and take and take until there is nothing left, and then they move on to the next host for their parasitical addiction.
3.) The Abuser
This one makes me…rather impassioned. As such, it is going to be a bit intense.
I am going to say this. I’m going to enlarge the font. Lock the caps. I am going to make it bold and italicized. Read it more than once if you have to…
NO ONE FUCKING DESERVES TO PHYSICALLY HIT YOU. I DON’T CARE THEIR EXCUSE.
IF YOU PHYSICALLY HURT THOSE YOU CARE ABOUT WITHOUT PHYSICAL PROVOCATION, YOU ARE A PIECE OF SHIT.
Don’t like those words? Fight me for saying it. Fuck you.
If someone escalates an issue to physical violence when there was no physical violence before, they do not deserve anyone in their lives, including you. They deserve to be alone, bitter, and wishing they had someone. There is no excuse for it. Fuck your alcoholism, or your bipolar disorder, or your lack of attention as a child, or the fact that you’re a douchebag, or you being a brat, or whatever bullshit cop out you would use. I have never and will never hit, smack, choke, or otherwise lash out on someone I claim to love in any situation where there was no physical altercation present. Even then, I will defend myself as necessary, nothing more. If you do, you don’t deserve that person and I hope they find someone who doesn’t treat them like that.
That is coming from someone who has been abused.
4.) The “Other” Abuser
Not all wounds can be seen, and this person leaves them. As with example 3, the reasoning for this individual’s behavior can be many things, none of which are relevant here. What is important, is the impact they leave. The injuries left by this person are purely emotional. They treat you like their emotional punching bag of convenience. Put downs, insults, overly jealous and suspicious behavior, accusations, etc. are some of the ways they inflict their pain on you. Often times, they are doing these things as an outlet to improve their own mood, essentially transferring their own darkness onto you in order to boost them into the light. Now, that is not to be confused with banter or a little friendly “Shit Talk”. I am speaking of those who bring you down more than up. The ones who bombard you with this pain and then emotionally lift you up just enough to do it again. Many times this form of abuse is worse than physical, because others cannot see the damage and reach out, and often times will lead to suicide, if allowed to continue long enough.
Why You Must Remove the Toxicity from Your Life
Before I begin, let me say this: You don’t have to stand to gain something from someone for them to be your friend. I am friends with some people solely because they make me laugh, and I make them laugh.
That being said, if you find that someone effects you negatively more than positively, they need to go. Why live everyday surrounding yourself with people that do you no good? As I mentioned in my previous article, every day comes with a “No Refund” policy. Why dedicate further precious days to someone who makes those days dark?
When you clean out that toxicity in your life, you may very well see some of these benefits:
– Less stress
– More happiness
– More energy
– Physically healthier (stress has extreme effects on the human body)
– Improved relationships with others (You can dedicate more energy towards those who mean you well)
– More time for things you enjoy (which comes from the freed up time that those toxic people would occupy)
– Many, Many, more.
The ways in which you actually do the removing can vary widely, and is a subject that a number of articles could be written on and still barely cover it. I will say this, in regards to how you need to go about removing someone like those I’ve described: BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Stop waiting around for the right time and just get them out.
Again, not everyone has to give you something to be in your life, but they should at least return what you give them, and vice-versa. Whether it be friendships, Professional relationships, or love…it is a two way street.
Read these examples I listed thought that they fit you? Maybe it’s time you take a look at yourself and fix things inside you…or the person you are hurting may very well end up taking my advice.
There are plenty of outlets for your emotions that do not involve hurting others. There is never an excuse for physically harming someone you claim to love. There is no excuse for emotionally abusing someone you claim to love. If you do those things, I pray they leave you to be alone.
Myself, I started with social media. I went through and looked at my Facebook friends list and started cleaning. The first criteria was, “If I was in need, would this person help me if it were at all possible?” Granted, there are still some there that I know wouldn’t and yet remain, but only because I found good reason for them to still be there that outweighed the criteria. That enabled me to, sadly, removed almost 200 people from my friends list. Some others were “Does this person make me feel negative emotions more often than positive ones?”, “Does this person treat me as if they value me?”, “Am I, in any way, improved by this person?”. At the end of it all, I believe I removed close to 300 people. Then I moved on to Instagram and Snapchat. Then I moved on to real life and started slowly cutting ties until I had removed those people from my life. And you know what? I am so much better for it. I have no regrets, and neither will you. I still bring people into my life and learn that they aren’t good for me and have to repeat those steps, making it an ongoing battle, but the more I fight it the less those people stack up and threaten to overwhelm me. It is a fight worth fighting. I promise.