By Kim Hutchinson
Toxic behaviour can zap your positive energy and leave you feeling heartbroken, stressed, angry, drained and even unwell. Knowing how to deal with toxic encounters is the key to peace of mind, good health and happiness. This involves using your heart and soul instead of your head and ego to resolve your emotional injuries.
We all live in glass houses.
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Everyone gets hurt, and hurts others. Knowing that means we all should understand when someone says or does something that hurts us. Unfortunately the ego doesn’t agree. It’s so busy judging others it has no capacity for love. The ego insists on being right, not happy. When your ego is engaged, you play the blame game, and no one wins.
Suggestion: The key to happiness and emotional freedom is knowing how not to take things personally. Instead of trying to resolve the issue with your brain and its companion the ego, try seeing through the eyes of your soul. This higher perspective will help to reframe the situation in a loving, compassionate light.
Take nothing personally.
Just because a person does something you dislike doesn’t necessarily mean their actions are directed at you. The aggressive driver who tailgated you, and then cut you off after he passed you, may be late for a job he fears losing if he doesn’t get there on time. The short-tempered salesperson may be concerned about her sick child and wishing she could be home to take care of her instead of having to deal with customers all day.
Suggestion: Think of the times when you’ve been under stress, and acted in an unkind manner. How did people react to you? Were they kind and understanding, or did they push back? How did their reactions make you feel? Choose to act in a heart-based manner and pay positivity forward.
If people could do better, they would.
The majority of people do not intend to cause harm. Chances are, if someone has injured you in any way, s/he was acting out of fear or pain. Instead of asking for help, their ego-fueled pain body lashed out at you. Just as a desperate animal is more likely to attack, a desperate person is more likely to hurt you. If their behaviour was not appropriate, then rest assured it had nothing to do with you.
Suggestion: Instead of being angry with them, use your heart to see things from their perspective. What’s going on in their life? Are they in pain, and if so do they need help?
We project our feelings onto others.
Happy people tend to treat others with kindness and consideration because they feel good inside. Negative people, on the other hand, can always find a reason to complain. Toxic people may be coping with feelings of depression, anxiety and anger, and so they project their angst onto others. Whether positive or negative, a person’s nature is determined by his/her internal landscape.
Suggestion: Try to be mindful of your own thoughts and feelings. If you are upset by someone else’s behaviour, chances are you are projecting your own insecurities or judgments. If that’s the case, ask yourself what you need in order to feel better.
We attract what we feel, not what we want.
The way others treat you is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. For instance, people with low self-esteem can find themselves in relationships that compound their insecurities. Instead of finding someone with genuine strength, they may attract a bully who is domineering and controlling, the other end of the insecurity spectrum.
Suggestion: Examine your relationships objectively as possible. What patterns do you see? What do these say about you and how you feel about yourself? If you don’t like your relationships with others, what needs to change in the way you feel about yourself?
The least lovable people need the most love.
Some people are so busy reacting to things they inadvertently block the very things they desire, and then become their own worst energy. Without knowing how to break the cycle, it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of negativity and reactivity. Inside, they are fighting a never-ending battle. It’s exhausting and damaging to their physical, mental and emotional health. What they need is love and TLC.
Suggestion: If you don’t like other people’s behaviour, imagine what’s it’s like to be them. You can get away from their toxicity, but they can’t. Have compassion for them, and send them loving energy. Ask their angels and guides to look after them if you can’t be near them.
Forgiveness will set you free.
If you’ve been injured or wronged by someone’s toxic behaviour, you may find yourself reliving the hurt. In severe cases, this is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it requires medical care and professional counselling. But for less traumatic injuries, forgiveness is the most powerful healing tool available. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone how you were treated, or that you give the person permission to hurt you again. It’s simply a way of stopping the hurt so that you do not continue to repeat the abuse. It’s your ticket to emotional freedom.
Suggestion: Employ Ho’oponopono, an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Think of the person who hurt you and say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” Keep repeating this mantra until you feel a shift in your heart.
Know when to walk away
As Kenny Rogers said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, and you gotta know when to fold ‘em”. Some people are just too toxic to be around. No matter what you do to help them, nothing seems to work. They either can’t get better because they need more help than you can give, or they don’t want to get better. They may be fighting a battle with themselves/ego, shadow boxing with ghosts of the past, or they may be so firmly entrenched in victim consciousness that they’ve lost their desire to reclaim their personal power. They may even have serious mental health issues. Whatever the reason, if they are constantly draining, abusing, manipulating or hurting you, it’s time to break the co-dependency so that you both can lead healthier lives.
Suggestions: If the person needs more than you can give them, encourage them to seek help. If it’s a spouse or child, tell your family doctor. If it’s a friend or co-worker, encourage them to see a licensed mental health care processional. If it’s a friendship or romantic partnership, you may have to walk away temporarily or even permanently in order to break the toxic bond. Sometimes ending a bad relationship is the most loving thing you can do.