Let’s be honest – we’ve all acted in toxic, damaging ways at 1 time or another. None of us are immune to occasional toxic mood swings, but many people are more evolved, balanced & aware& and such occurrences happen only rarely in their lives. Whether your toxic behavior is a common occurrence, or just a once in a blue moon phenomena, it’s critical for your long-term happiness & success that you are able to recognize when you’re behaving negatively, & consciously shift your mindset when necessary.
The 12 most common toxic behaviors we see are:
(1) Being envious of every1 else. Don’t let envy (or jealously) get the best of you. Envy is the art of counting some1 else’s blessings instead of your own. There is nothing attractive or admirable about this behavior. So stop comparing your journey w/every1 else’s. Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition. You are in competition w/1 person & 1 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.
(2) Taking everything too personally. People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything happening around them is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them. The truth is that what people say & do to you is much more about them than you. People’s reactions to you are about their perspectives, wounds & experiences. Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, is more about them. I’m not suggesting we should be narcissists & ignore all feedback. I am saying that so much hurt, disappointment & sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally. In most cases it’s far more productive & healthy to let go of other people’s good or bad opinion of you, & to operate w/your own intuition & wisdom as your guide. (Read The Four Agreements.)
(3) Acting like you’re always a victim. Another toxic behavior is persistent complaining that fuels your sense of victimization. Believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert & no power over the direction of your life, is a toxic stance that keeps you stuck. Working as a life coach w/people who have suffered major trauma in their lives but found the courage to turn it all around, I know we all have access to far more power, authority, & influence over our lives than we initially believe. When you stop complaining, & refuse to see yourself as a helpless victim, you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept this reality.
(4) Hoarding pain & loss. 1 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 & you fight to let go. But oftentimes letting go is the healthiest path forward. It clears out toxic thoughts from the past. You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past & the pain it brings you. Again, it takes hard work to let go & refocus your thoughts, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster.
(5) Obsessive negative thinking. It’s very hard to be around people who refuse to let go of negativity – when they ruminate & speak incessantly about the terrible things that could happen & have happened, the scorns they’ve suffered, & the unfairness of life. These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life & the positive lessons from what’s happening. Pessimism is 1 thing – but remaining perpetually locked in a negative mindset is another. Only seeing the negative, & operating from a view that everything is negative & against you, is a twisted way of thinking & living, & you can change that.
(6) Lack of emotional self-control. An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to every1 around you. We all know these people – those who explode in anger & tears over the smallest hiccup or problem. Yelling at the grocery store clerk for the long line, screaming at an employee for a small error she made, or losing it w/your daughter for spilling juice on the floor. If you find that you’re overly emotional, losing your cool at every turn, you may need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions & understand what’s at the root of your inner angst. There’s more to it than what appears on the surface. An independent perspective – & a new kind of support can work wonders.
(7) 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 & pain. Alas, when another person tries to make you suffer in some small way, it is usually bc they suffer deep w/in 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.
(8) Cruelty (or lacking empathy & compassion). 1 of the most toxic behaviors – cruelty – stems from a total lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online & in the media – people being devastatingly unkind & hurtful to others just bc they can. They tear people down online in a cowardly way, using their anonymity as a shield. Cruelty, backstabbing, & hurting others for any reason is toxic, & it hurts you as well. If you find yourself backstabbing & tearing some1 else down, stop in your tracks. Dig deep & find compassion in your heart, & realize that we’re all in this together.
(9) Cheating & cutting moral corners simply bc you can. Cheating is a choice, not a mistake, & not an excuse! If you decide to cheat, & you succeed in cheating some1 out of something, don’t think that this person is a fool. Realize that this person trusted you much more than you ever deserved. Be bigger than that. Don’t do immoral things simply bc you can. Don’t cheat. Be honest w/yourself & every1 else. Do the right thing. Integrity is the essence of everything successful.
(10) Hiding your truth. People cannot connect w/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 & every 1 of us are. We each have light to shine, & 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. But DO NOT change who you are; BE who you are. Don’t deny yourself, improve yourself. (Read The Untethered Soul.)
(11) Needing constant validation. People who constantly strive for validation by others are exhausting to be around. Those men & women who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over & over & over, & constantly want to win over every1 around them, are unintentionally toxic & draining. Know this. Over-attaching to how things have to look to others can wear you out & bring every1 else around you down. There is a bigger picture to your life, & it’s not about what you achieve in the eyes of the masses. It’s about the journey, the process, the path – what you’re learning, how you’re helping others learn too, & the growing process you allow yourself to participate in.
(12) 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. Bc life is a continual journey, constantly evolving & 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. But w/a little patience & 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.
The floor is yours… If you can relate to any of these toxic behaviors, remember, you are not alone. We all have unhealthy personalities buried deep w/in us that have the potential to sneak up on us sometimes. As stated above, the key is awareness – recognizing these behaviors & stopping them in their tracks.