our line of work, Angel and I hear from hundreds of coaching clients every
month. Through this experience, we’ve come across scores of toxic
behaviors that push people away from each other.
And we’ve witnessed the
devastation these behaviors cause – to relationships, to personal and
professional growth, and to the general well-being of both the individual
behaving negatively, and to everyone in their life. Let’s
be honest – we’ve all acted in toxic, damaging ways at one time or
another. None of us are immune to occasional toxic mood swings, but many
people are more evolved, balanced and aware, and such occurrences happen only
rarely in their lives.
Your behavior is a little thing that makes a big difference.
your toxic behavior is a common occurrence, or just a once in a blue moon
phenomena, it’s critical for your long-term happiness and success that you are
able to recognize when you’re behaving negatively, and consciously shift your
mindset when necessary.
twelve most common toxic behaviors we see are:
1.Being envious of everyone else. –
Don’t let envy (or 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.
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 and do to you is much more about them, than
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. I’m not suggesting we should be
narcissists and ignore all feedback. I am saying that 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.
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
and no power over the direction of your life, is a toxic stance that keeps you
stuck. Working as a life coach with 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, and influence over our lives than we
initially believe. When you stop complaining, and 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 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 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 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
5.Obsessive negative thinking. –
It’s very hard to be around people who refuse to let go of negativity – when
they ruminate and speak incessantly about the terrible things that could happen
and have happened, the scorns they’ve suffered, and the unfairness of
life. These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life and
the positive lessons from what’s happening. Pessimism is one thing – but
remaining perpetually locked in a negative mindset is another. Only
seeing the negative, and operating from a view that everything is negative and
against you, is a twisted way of thinking and living, and you can change that.
6.Lack of emotional self-control. –
An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to everyone around you. We
all know these people – those who explode in anger and 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 with 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 and understand what’s at the root
of your inner angst. There’s more to it than what appears on the
surface. An independent perspective – and a new kind of support – can
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 and pain. Alas, 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.
8.Cruelty (or lacking empathy and compassion). –
One of the most toxic behaviors – cruelty – stems from a total lack of empathy,
concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online and in the
media – people being devastatingly unkind and hurtful to others just because
they can. They tear people down online in a cowardly way, using their
anonymity as a shield. 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.
9.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 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 because you can. Don’t
cheat. Be honest with yourself and everyone else. Do the right
thing. Integrity is the essence of everything successful.
10.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 are. 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. But DO NOT change who you are; BE who you are.
Don’t deny yourself, improve yourself.
11.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 unintentionally toxic and draining. Know this.
Over-attaching to 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 you’re
learning, how you’re helping others learn too, and 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. Because 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. But 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
THE FLOOR IS YOURS…
you can relate to any of these toxic behaviors, remember, you are not
alone. We all have unhealthy personalities buried deep within us that
have the potential to sneak up on us sometimes. As stated above, the key
is awareness – recognizing these behaviors and stopping them in their tracks.
what toxic behaviors (or mood swings) sometimes sneak up on you? What
toxic behaviors push you away from others? How do you cope? Leave a
comment below and share your insights with us.