There are people in this world who are angry, and there's nothing we can do to change them. Yesterday one of my neighbours was rude to me because I had to put my garbage cans beside his. He said he didn't like the smell near his house and that he doesn't want "that crap" on his property. So he moved my bins halfway down the street while I was at work and he got mad at me when I came home and tried to explain what happened (the garbage man asked me to put them there in the morning).
I also apologized three times in three different ways in an attempt to evoke a forgiving response, but his anger didn't decrease. It actually increased, and I left that exchange feeling absolutely crushed after coming into contact with such an angry person. Then I thought: I wonder what it is that makes him so mad? Because the garbage can issue wasn't really the issue that was the source of his anger—there had to be something deeper going on to make him that openly mean to a complete stranger for something so small.
Anyway, I initially tried my best to make this man change and become my friend and all it did was make me walk away feeling attacked and shaken up for a good while after. So I realized something in the process: we need to pick the right people to expel or emotional energy on.
Who are the right people? Well, I have other neighbours who invited me in for a soda the first time I knocked on their door. It was about 11:00pm when I accepted their invite and I didn't end up leaving until 1:00am because the conversation was so solid. They told me I could use their garden hose if I needed to (I don't have one) and they let their cat Louie come visit me when ever he wants (I give him milk and we hang out like serious dudes).
So who are the better people to invest in? It's a no brainer: the neighbours who are a kind. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to return the angry man across the street's anger with anger. I'm going to try and be kind and generous to him if I can. But I'm also not going to waste my time investing all my emotional energy into someone like him who clearly wants to stomp on my character if the opportunity presents itself.
Life is short, energy is limited, and there are a lot of people on the planet. Some are life giving and others are life stealing. Who are the people that we are going to invest in? I believe we are meant to love both our enemies, our biggest fans, and everyone in between, sure. But sometimes the best way to love an enemy is to give them the space and time to learn that hurting people over nothing is unacceptable and wrong.
Sometimes, distancing oneself from a destructive person is the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and that person.
Are you wasting emotional energy on a person who's stomping on your character? Don't do that. It will drain your life and run your creativity face first into the ground.
In short, don't let a destructive person's garbage become your garbage. Only worry about the kinds of garbage that you can manage.