We’ve all witnessed the devastation that toxic behaviors can cause in relationships, personal and professional growth and the general well-being of both the individual behaving negatively, and everyone in their life. Toxic behaviors push people away from each other.
No one is perfect and we’ve all acted in damaging ways at one time or another. None of us is immune to occasional toxic mood swings, but many people are more evolved, balanced and aware, and such occurrences happen only rarely in their lives.
Whether your toxic behavior is a common occurrence, or just happens once in a blue moon, it’s critical for your long-term happiness and success that you are able to recognize when you’re behaving negatively.
Here are some tips to help you consciously shift your mindset when necessary.
First, stop taking everything too personally. Don’t believe that everything happening around you is a direct assault on you or is in some way all about you. The truth is that what people say and do to you is much more about them than it is about you. People’s reactions to you are about their perspectives, wounds and experiences. Whether people think you’re amazing or believe you’re the worst, again, is more about them.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore constructive feedback, but so much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally. In most cases it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of other people’s good or bad opinion of you and to operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.
Stop believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert and no power over the direction of your life. Having this mindset will keep you stuck. Even people who have suffered major trauma in their lives still find the courage to turn it all around.
We all have access to far more power, authority and influence over our lives than we initially believe. You must stop complaining and refuse to see yourself as a helpless victim. Once you accept this reality, you’ll find you are more powerful than you realized.
Stop hoarding pain and loss. One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go. Whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss. Change is never easy! You fight to hold on and you fight to let go. But often times, letting go is the healthiest path forward. You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you. Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus your thoughts, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster.
Stop making superficial judgments about others. Don’t always judge a person by what they show you. Remember, what you’ve seen is oftentimes only what that person has chosen to show you, or what they were driven to show based on their inner stress and pain.
When another person tries to make you suffer in some small way, it is usually because they suffer deep within themselves. Their suffering is simply spilling over. They do not need punishment or ridicule, they need help. If you can’t help them, let them be.
Stop being cruel toward others. This stems from a lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online and in the media. People may be devastatingly unkind and hurtful to others just because they can. They tear people down in a cowardly way.
Cruelty, backstabbing and hurting others for any reason is toxic and it hurts you as well. 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 in this together.
Stop cheating and cutting moral corners simply because you can. Cheating is a choice, not a mistake, and not an excuse! If you decide to cheat, and you succeed in cheating someone out of something, don’t think this person is a fool. Realize this person trusted you much more than you ever deserved. Be bigger than that. Don’t do immoral things simply because you can. Be honest with yourself and everyone else. Do the right thing. Integrity is the essence of everything successful.
Stop hiding your truth. People cannot connect with you if you’re constantly trying to hide from yourself. And this becomes a truly toxic situation the minute they become attached to your false persona. So remember, no matter what age, race, sex, or sexuality you are, underneath all your external decorations you are a pure, beautiful being. Each and every one of us is.
We each have light to shine and missions to accomplish. Celebrate being different, off the beaten path, a little on the weird side, your own special creation. If you find yourself feeling like a fish out of water, by all means find a new river to swim in.
DO NOT change who you are. BE who you are. Don’t deny yourself — improve yourself.
Stop needing constant validation. People who constantly strive for validation by others are exhausting to be around. Those men and women who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over and over and over, and constantly want to win over everyone around them, are draining.
Being too concerned about how things have to look to others can wear you out and bring everyone else around you down. There is a bigger picture to your life and it’s not about what you achieve in the eyes of the masses. It’s about the journey, the process, the path. What’s important is that you’re learning and you’re helping others learn too. That is the growing process you allow yourself to participate in.
Stop being a stubborn perfectionist. As human beings, we often chase hypothetical, static states of perfection. We do so when we are searching for the perfect house, job, friend or lover. The problem, of course, is that perfection doesn’t exist in a static state.
Life is a continual journey, constantly evolving and changing. What is here today is not exactly the same tomorrow. That perfect house, job, friend or lover will eventually fade to a state of imperfection.
With a little patience and an open mind, over time, that imperfect house evolves into a comfortable home. That imperfect job evolves into a rewarding career. That imperfect friend evolves into a steady shoulder to lean on. And that imperfect lover evolves into a reliable, lifelong companion. It’s just a matter of letting perfectionism GO.
Don’t let jealously get the best of you. Envy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. There is nothing attractive or admirable about this behavior. So stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s.
Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition. You are in competition with one person and one person only…yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. If you want to measure your progress, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.
Those who explode in anger and tears over the smallest hiccup or problem are toxic to everyone around them. If you find yourself yelling at the grocery store clerk for the long line, screaming at an employee for a small error she made or losing it with your daughter for spilling juice on the floor, it’s time to look within yourself and understand what is at the root of your inner angst.
If you find you’re overly emotional or losing your cool at every turn, you may need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions.
Have you read “The Angel Affect” yet? Become a fan on Facebook and get daily inspirational tips. My new book, “Shine: Illuminate Your Life’s Pathways,” will be available in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!