Let’s be real, we’ve all acted in toxic, damaging ways at one time or another (none of us are immune to it), but many people are more evolved, balanced and aware, and it happens only rarely in their lives. No matter how hard your life has been, or the deep challenges you’ve faced, you can strive to overcome toxicity and become more gentle, calm and loving with yourself and others, reports the Huffington Post.
Whether your toxic behaviour is a common occurrence, or once in a blue moon, it’s critical for your happiness and success that you are able to recognize when you’re behaving badly, and shift it when it emerges. Kathy Caprino, a life coach, speaker and writer list six toxic behaviours she sees everyday.
Taking everything personally: In the powerful little book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the importance of taking nothing personally. I teach this in my coaching programs and my book Breakdown, Breakthrough as well, and there is so much pushback. People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything that happens in life is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them. The reality is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you. People’s reactions to you are about their filters and their perspectives, wounds and experiences. So much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally when it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of others’ good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own heart, intuition and wisdom as your guide.
Obsessing about negative thoughts: It’s very hard to be around people who can’t or won’t let go of negativity. These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life and the positive lessons from what’s transpiring. Pessimism is one thing — but remaining perpetually locked in negative thoughts is another. Only seeing the negative, and operating from a view that everything is negative and against you, is a skewed way of thinking and living, and you can change that.
Treating yourself like a victim: Another toxic behaviour is non-stop complaining that fuels your sense of victimization. Believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert and no influence on the direction of your life is a toxic stance that keeps you stuck and small. When you stop whining, and refuse to see yourself as a hapless victim of fate, chance or discrimination, then you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept that reality.
Cruelty – lacking in empathy or putting yourself in others shoes: One of the most toxic and damaging behaviours – cruelty – stems from a total lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online and in the media – people being devastatingly cruel and destructive to others just because they can. They tear people down online but in a cowardly way, using their anonymity as a weapon. Cruelty, backstabbing and ripping someone to shreds is toxic, and it hurts you as well as your target. If you find yourself backstabbing and tearing someone else down, stop in your tracks. Dig deep and find compassion in your heart, and realize that we’re all the same.
Excessive reactivity: An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to everyone around you. We all know these people – men and women who explode over the smallest hiccup or problem. If you find that you’re overly reactive, losing it at every turn, you need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions and understand what’s at the root of your emotionality. There’s more to it that appears on the surface. An outside perspective and a new kind of support is critical.
Needing constant validation: Finally, people who constantly strive for validation and self-esteem by obsessing about achieving outward measures of success are exhausting to be around. Those men and women, who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over and over, and constantly want to ‘win’ over their colleagues or peers, are toxic and draining. There is a bigger picture to your life, and it’s not about what you achieve or fail at today or what’s in your bank account. It’s about the journey, the process, the path – what you’re learning and applying, how you’re helping others and the growing process you allow yourself to engage in. Your desperate need to prove your success and build your self-esteem through outer measures of success is (sadly) apparent to everyone but you, and it’s pushing away the very happiness outcomes you’re longing for.
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