Toxic Waste: How to Identify Toxic People and Toxic Behaviors and Eliminate Them for Good!
There is nothing more mentally draining than spending endless amounts of time and energy pouring into someone who you know will never see the glass as half full. It's such a waste of time and energy. We've all had those friendships, romances, family members, and work relationships, that we know didn’t ever reach their full potential because there was some level of toxicity that existed. Toxic people and the toxic behaviors they exhibit are all around us, but we don’t have to surrender to them.
You should not be a quest to slice every toxic person out of your life. Even though your Aunt Jessica loves to tell you how to be a mother, with no experience of her own under her belt, you can’t just throw her away. You can, however, choose how you are going to let her know-it-all behavior affect your energy. Choosing to protect your energy at all costs happens when you begin to peel back the layers of your relationships and identify toxic behaviors that leave you feeling rage, anger, depression, lack of self-worth, etc.
You’ve probably heard the saying that you are the sum of the 5 people closest to you. I bet that you are going through your mental Rolodex just reading that. Chances are those people who have a direct impact on your daily life, they shape the world you live in and how you view yourself too. How do they make you feel? Do you feel like you’re standing in the sun with them? Or do you feel like Eeyore after spending time with them? It doesn’t matter if these people are your BFF, sister, spouse, work buddy. It's important to check in with how you feel when you are around them. You should want to be around people who make you feel alive. Sometimes when we surround ourselves with people that complain about everything life throws their way, we find it hard to seek encouragement and motivation from them when we are in dire need of it. That’s not only mentally and emotionally draining, but it's also defeating. You are giving the best of yourself to someone that is not equally yoked in your relationship. Surrounding yourself with people who drain you, is YOUR toxic behavior. I encourage you to reevaluate your relationships with intent and purpose. It is the sure-fire way for you to decipher toxic behaviors that exist in that relationship allowing you to choose how you will navigate your interaction with that person in the future. You will become aware of how to slowly sift the negative behaviors out of that relationship, allowing you to salvage the relationships that are worthwhile. I have learned by doing this that I don’t have to completely abandon relationships that are toxic. I can simply break away from the toxic behaviors in the relationship. I do, however, urge you to do this with caution. Again, protect your energy at all costs. Here is the perfect example of what I mean. Your BFF calls you every day and you already know before you even say hello, you are going to have to listen to her complain about her life, kids, and work. She’s a “Complaining Cathy” and her glass is always half empty. At this moment you have choices to make. You can feed her negativity OR you can create your boundary. Of course, you will listen but as you create boundaries like letting the conversation end quicker than normal or replying with only positive reinforcement, you’ll notice that the trajectory of your conversations will change. As your level of engagement with her complaints changes, you will notice changes in her dialogue with you.
Soon, one or two things will happen: 1. Her “Complaining Cathy” calls will become less frequent because she knows you are not breathing life into her grievances. She’ll be riding that misery bus alone and your optimism will not be welcome and that’s okay. 2. The dynamics of the relationship will have evolved into a more meaningful and fulfilling relationship for you both. She will know that your relationship is a space for more than negative moments. It's a space where you stand in the sun and view the challenges of life through a different lens than before. She will no longer want to waste her time or energy expressing only negative things to you.
This year has laid bare that time is so valuable. What we do with it and who we spend it with matters. This isn’t just about the relationships we have with our girlfriends, this applies to our relationships with men also. Inventory time is now. Evaluate your relationships and weed out toxic behaviors and traits that drain you.
You will find that you will begin to breathe new life into your relationships, cultivating healthier and more meaningful ones along the way. There is no EASY button to press to eliminate toxic relationships, but we can hit the reset button on the relationships we have now by peeling back the layers and shining a light on the toxicity that exists in them. In a perfect world, we can hit a button and eliminate toxic waste. For now, let’s hit the button with starting with us! xoxo Mary Elle