For weeks before her mother-in-law arrived for a cross-country visit, Sara suffered through the stress that she knew would come with her arrival.
It went far beyond running a white glove along a dusty shelf. With the constant belittling, un-appreciation and criticism Sara has received from her mother-in-law in the past, she knew this visit wouldn't be any different.
Following her arrival, Sara began to sink deeper into despair, becoming the whimpering, lost soul her mother-in-law despised. And then she told Sara the true purpose of her visit, that she wanted to convince her son to divorce Sara and take their children back home. That visit ended with Sara in the hospital, suffering a stroke-like seizure caused by severe emotional trauma. And now, it only took the thought of another encounter to send her in a spin.
Living the OolaLife, finding balance in the seven F’s of Oola – fitness, finance, family, field, faith, friends, and fun – calls for owning the good and bad that brought you to this point and committing to personal goals that will take you where you want to go.
We know that God has destined us for greatness and with a purpose for our lives. And while most of us will encounter OolaBlockers such as fear, envy, and self-sabotage along the way, along with OolaAccelerators like love, passion, and integrity, the toxic people in our lives are a force to reckon with on their own.
As long as she remains married, and Sara has no intention of leaving her husband, his mother will be a part of her life. But how, in her journey to an OolaLife, can she take control of her reactions to her mother-in-law’s toxic behavior and move beyond it?
What happens when you find yourself in a room full of second-hand smoke? You stand up and leave. Distance yourself from them, emotionally as well as physically. Look on them as an interesting bug you’ve put under a telescope. Refuse to be pulled into their toxic pool; rise above them and choose your battles wisely.
Set boundaries. Come up with an exit strategy. Expect retaliation but don’t deliver it. Instead, free yourself by forgiving them but not forgetting. Remember, your inner circle, your immediate family, should be a part of your Oola journey. Don’t let toxic people disrupt your relationships with those you hold closest. Limit their control of your life.
And when you’re firmly grounded with who God made you to be, dig deep and find the power to love them unconditionally. Return their barbs with words of compassion and appreciation. Ultimately, that was the path that saved Sara’s sanity. While her kind words weren’t returned in like, others around her, including her husband, had a more realistic view of what was taking place and supported her. Sara doesn’t expect her mother-in-law to change but she has regained control of its effect on her and her family.