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Toxic People: Part 5

Nov 06, 2020

How to Avoid Being Toxic

Being a toxic person does not necessarily mean that you intend to be toxic. Some of us might be toxic without realizing it. We might not be a “toxic person” in general. We might just be doing something toxic, without realising it. Sometimes, it’s not the habits that we have that make us toxic but rather the habits that we don’t have.  That is why it is important to have certain habits or qualities that will keep us away from toxicity…

Contemplate first, react second – If you’re the sort of person who regularly reacts first, and thinks second, it’s time to reorder things. After all, if you’re highly reactive (i.e. a lot of things upset you quickly), you are very likely to take this out on people around you. You don’t want them to feel like they’re navigating a minefield to be around you.

Nobody wants that. It’s toxic to make other people responsible for somehow predicting all your emotional needs.  Practice pausing and being curious, not drawing immediate conclusions. There’s always the chance that your instinct is wrong — there can be totally different reasons for something than you can imagine.

Forget your ego – A toxic person is desperate to maintain a certain image, to the point of getting defensive or perhaps even attacking others about things that just don’t make any sense.  No one can maintain a perfect image at all times. Relationships that are deep come with the acknowledgement of flaws. They include the good, the bad and the ugly. Otherwise, things are just surface. Forget your ego, and you’ll find you’re much more relatable for others.

Show vulnerability and accountability – If you’re in a habit of pretending that all is well, that you’ve never done wrong, or trying to ‘act superior’, this can get pretty tiring. Showing vulnerability is important if you ever plan to get beyond the small talk with someone.

If you’re not able to be accountable for your own wrongdoing, this is a big potential problem. For one, it’s a sign of narcissism. For another, it’s really hard to ever have a real relationship with someone who can never ever accept fault.

Build others up, don’t bring them down – We all want to be around someone who celebrates with us. And if that’s not you, if you’re looking for ways to bring others down, it’s time to hit pause. What does retaliating against or belittling people get you? If it’s a sense of superiority, it’s probably time to reassess where your values really come from and what really matters to you.

Gossip is another way of expressing a kind of toxic putting-down of others. If you are a person who enjoys spreading a rumour, it might be time to ask why that is. What does this do for you? If something is missing from your life, why would a rumour make you feel better? And for how long? What about the person who’s being talked about? What would they feel if they knew what you said about them? Be encouraging, be forgiving, and don’t gossip about people or give in to rumours. You likely want to be encouraged, want to be forgiven, and want people to think well of you, too, after all.

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