Have you ever thought about whether you have toxic people in your circle of friends and family and how much value they are adding to your life? Or perhaps it’s your significant other who may be toxic. It’s not the most positive thing to think about by any stretch of the imagination. It’s also not the easiest thing to admit that a toxic person has been in your life longer than they should have. Some people are clearly toxic and we can come to that conclusion without much thought. Other people may be a little more difficult to put in that category, especially if we have known them a long time or if there have been a lot of positive aspects of the relationship which have resulted in us being willing to overlook all of the toxic behaviors.
The degree to which someone can be toxic can vary greatly, ranging from people who easily get under out skin because they are so annoying, hurtful, disrespectful, or any number of other things, to people who just tend to weigh us down because they always have their own drama that they pull us into easily. These people may have many other redeeming qualities, so we put up with the drama. But sometimes it just gets to be too much, especially when this person may not realize or be willing to admit how much they contribute to the drama.
I am trying to focus on the positives in my life and making more positive changes. It’s refreshing being around other people who have the same attitude and focus. On the flip side, it is mentally draining being around people who are very critical and judgmental, who push people’s buttons but then are surprised at a negative reaction, who blame everyone else but themselves for everything and are always the victim, who are always looking for others to back them up in blaming others, who aren’t accountable for their own actions, who focus on the negatives, who tend to put their own needs first and like to be the center of attention, who tend to take more than they give, who always need to be right and in control, and who are not open to any kind of constructive criticism.
Just as toxins that come from processed foods, sugars, chemicals, air pollution, and so many other things are not good for our overall physical health, toxic people are not good for our mental health. Sometimes we need to take a step back, evaluate the situation, and ask ourselves if it is really worth it to keep putting up with the negative behaviors. In some cases, or for a while, the answer may be yes. But when the answer is or becomes no, then we need to have the courage to let go of that person, even though it may be difficult at first. It may feel like a big weight off of our shoulders right away, or it could take a while to realize that we made the right decision. As much as some of us tend to put others’ needs above our own and want to be there for everyone who needs a shoulder to lean on, sometimes we need to think of our own well-being. I recently saw a meme that says, “Don’t be afraid to rock the boat. If someone falls out, then they weren’t meant to be in your boat.” This is so true.
Part of eliminating the toxins has to come from ourselves though too. It’s important to self-reflect and ask ourselves if we are too critical or judgmental, if we are better talkers than listeners, if we tend to look for things to complain about, if we tend to blame others rather than take ownership of our mistakes or whatever we might have done to contribute to a negative situation, and so on. It’s never to late to start making improvements in these areas, which will not only be good for those around us, but will help us feel better too.
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