Spring cleaning for me is like trying to get rid of a bad acne.
The whole thing gets worse before it gets better. I attack a closet by pulling literally everything out into a huge heap, sorting, carefully replacing what I wish to keep while making piles with the stuff I plan to do away with.
Midway through, I’m usually questioning my sanity.
This is exactly the way it was as I began to examine my inner circle of friends.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t approach this process in a healthy way. How could I? I wasn’t healthy either. No, inside I was full of disappointment, hurt, fear, jealousy and anger. Very toxic and poisonous emotions that will ruin an otherwise healthy relationship.
An unhealthy person with an unhealthy inner circle of friends.
That is pretty much a recipe for all sorts of negativity!
But I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be a good friend who attracted good friends.
And it was in the process of my obnoxious style of “inner spring cleaning” that I found this book on my Kindle.
How about that for a title?
I devoured this book in a matter of days. I took notes, underlined portions and then went back and read it again.
Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend start the book of by talking about unsafe people:
and then their personal and interpersonal traits. Within the first few of chapters you are easily able to identify those in your life who are sucking the life-blood from you with their negative and toxic behavior.
But best of all, you are able to identify those negative traits you possess that poison your relationships – because let’s face it; 99.9% of the time both sides are at fault!
But they don’t stop there. They move on to part two of the book: “Do I Attract Unsafe People?”
I used to joke and say that as a single person I was a “flake magnet”. Now, I don’t want to insult any guys I may have previously dated, but I will say that I dated few “safe” guys – okay, pretty much my husband was the only safe guy I ever dated. Sure, my personal safety was never an issue, but my emotional safety was indeed in question. Why? Because my own toxicity attracted toxic people. I would swing out of control between two extremes: repetition and isolation. Neither of which are a solution.
“Be aware that when you’re hurting, a voice may tell you, ‘Why bother others? They’ll see how weak you are. Where’s your faith?’ It may be an idea planted by the Tempter to keep you from safe people.”
Drs. Cloud and Towsend wrap up the book by talking a bout who safe people are – because quite frankly we will recognize safe people by knowing who they are and not just by identifying who they aren’t. They answer the questions:
How do I become safe?
Where can I find safe people?
Should I repair or replace my unsafe relationships?
“Safe people [are] those individuals who truly make us better by their presence in our lives. Safe people are individuals who draw us closer to being the people God intended us to be.”
Safe People is by far one of the best books I’ve read on relationships. While it delves into areas of psychology and therapy, it is well balanced with scripture.
I recommend that every person read this book. It is an amazing personal tool, as well as a great tool for Bible Study groups and for counselors to use with those they are counseling.