be loved, love, self-love, you deserve love, let go

Clean Out Those Toxic People–Make Space for Love

“… We have not come into this exquisite world

to hold ourselves hostage from love.

Run, my dear, from anything

that may not strengthen

Your precious budding wings,

Run like hell, my dear,

From anyone likely to put a sharp knife

into the sacred, tender vision

Of your beautiful heart…”

-Hafiz (Sufi poet, 1310-1390)


Yes, he nailed it. We deserve love. We’re worthy of love. (Yes, ALL of us.) We must insist on love.

But how many of us hang on to: the people who don’t love, honor, and support us; the people who bring us down; the people who whine and complain, who need and take but don’t give back, or who manipulate and criticize. You know who I’m talking about—the toxic people who sap our souls.

They exhaust, deplete, and harm us every bit as much as toxic chemicals and bad food. They’re poison.

Can we trust how we feel around them? Yes—even young children innately know the people they feel safe with, want to hang out with, or need to get away from. They know how to say, “no.” And so do we. But we become so practiced at being “nice,” neglecting our inner guidance in favor of getting along, or being the “good” daughter, sister, friend, or coworker.

Know this: nice isn’t truth. Nice may kill you.

So “run like hell.” You deserve—and must have—the love and support of every single person you choose to have in your inner circle.

You know who the good ones are. They’re the ones who celebrate you. They’re never discouraging or underhanded.

But this is hard stuff.

They may be toxic and negative, we may choose those boundaries—our lives may depend on them—but we’re wired for social connection. Our actions set off alarms, scaring the hell out of us.

As we clear them out, we stand strong and alone—but knowing we’re not really alone. We’re opening space for greater belonging. Opening space for us to be our true selves. Opening space to hear the “small quiet voice” of truth within. Opening space for others like us to find us and come into our lives. Opening space for love.

Have a Beautiful day!


p.s. From my Archives:

I Was Born to Do This. 2018.

When Our Hearts Say, “No,” But Our Mouths Say, “Yes.” 2018.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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