Choose terrific people, not toxic ones

There are few things I enjoy more in life than garden herbs. I love the flavour they add to cooking. Even more, I love to see them thriving in my back-door herb bed and think of drying them for winter use.
Oh, how they run riot when the sun is high and there’s plenty of rain. Bee balm and rue. Oregano and basil. Thyme and summer savory. Lush green parsley. Chamomile and garlic chives.
When it comes to herbs, I try to be fair and like them all. But it’s hard sometimes, especially when you’re dealing with a disrespectful plant like oregano.
Don’t get me wrong–I actually like oregano a lot. It’s perfect with tomatoes. You can use it on spaghetti, and in salsa. In taco salad and pizza. But in the garden if you give oregano an inch, it will take two feet.
It’s definitely an herb with an attitude.
I’ve seen sage stand straight and tall–reaching for the sun, sharing its fragrance, thrusting down its taproot. And then stay that way all winter. Many’s the year I’ve picked fresh sage from the garden for Thanksgiving and even Christmas turkey stuffing.
That’s why I was so disappointed this year when the oregano rudely pushed the sage aside until its tall timid stems lay flat on the ground–desperately trying to get out of the way and still catch a glimpse of the sun.
I cut back the tentacles of the oregano octopus last week but it didn’t help much. Even when the overpowering herb was gone, the sage remained limp and discouraged. Hardly a plant that would still be thriving in November and December.
It’s the same with the parsley, basil, and thyme.
Sometimes I wonder what Dr. Lillian Glass would call oregano if it were a person. Maybe “The Me, Myself, and I Narcissist” or “The Competitor.” But I think more likely “The Opportunistic User.”
A psychologist, Dr. Glass is a world renowned communications specialist and the author of “Toxic People–10 ways of dealing with people who make your life miserable.”
What Dr. Glass probably would say to the sage plant is “Stand up for yourself. Don’t let ‘The Opportunistic User’ exploit your friendship and invade your space.
“Use the Direct-Confront technique. Tell oregano how it feels to be pushed around. And then just don’t move over. Don’t lie down flat and be a doormat.
“Chances are you’ll be able to salvage the friendship. But even if you can’t, you’ll be better off without it.”
That’s the kind of common-sense and self-esteem that Dr. Glass encourages. She identifies a total of 30 kinds of toxic people that can make your life very difficult–and even make you sick.
You don’t have to be a victim, and Dr. Glass provides the tools both for identifying toxic people and dealing with them. But even more helpful is her second book, “Attracting Terrific People–How to find and keep the people who bring your life joy.”
Now that’s a title to make you feel good. And, says Dr. Glass, “If you want good people in your life, you first have to be a good person.” Then you’ll attract the terrific people who will help you find joy and happiness, and empower you to pursue your dreams.
So what about you? Are there any toxic people in your life? And do you have the courage deal with them?
But more important, how can you become the kind of person who will attract terrific people?

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