Relationships are one of the pillars of our experience of life. Some relationships nurture our hearts and minds, while some erode away our joy and add stress to our lives. We can’t just isolate and avoid talking to people. We can’t leave a job only because there is that one irritating person at the office. So we learn to adapt and explore new ways to surf through some unpleasant ones. This also helps us to grow as people and prepare us for bigger, better challenges with great rewards.
There are some people who are difficult to be around. They are toxic not because they are bad people and don’t deserve love but because they complain, see the whole world through the victim’s eyes, dwell on bad past experiences without showing any willingness to see their own part and they focus on mostly the negative in their lives. Energy is very contagious. If you hang around a toxic person long enough, they will bring you down to their vibrational level. Notice how much easier it is to bring down the temperature of hot water by adding cold vs the opposite.
I have personally have been both effected by toxic people and have at some point in my life been toxic to people I cared about (including myself). I learned how not to be toxic by being around toxic people. The following insights work for me and feel that they may offer you some new ideas for harmony in your relationships.
1) Don’t expect or pressure them to change
The energy of expectation is a lower energy and creates resistance in people. It also bleeds into our language and infuses it with a tone of disapproval, rejection and blame. Before you communicate with them regarding your relationship, work on letting go of the idea that they need to be any different than they are now. There are millions of people on the planet with their own stories, patterns they came here to heal, their own life path and capacity for growth. In that sense, trying to fix or change one person is no different than trying to change millions. It has been proven ineffective over and over again. We can only give people feedback and let them decide what they want to do with it or inspire them to be better by loving who they are now without losing a sight of their potential. This does include loving ourselves, and this is where boundaries come in.
2) Love yourself enough to set the boundaries you need
The cool thing about being an adult is that you get to decide how much and how often you want to be around someone. You get to define the rules in your life and only you know what makes you happy. If it takes you an hour to recover from the negativity this person has brought into your energy space, it is your responsibility to set the appropriate boundaries you need to feel safe and happy in relation to them. If you don’t mind being around this person but you are sick of hearing how their ex-husband gambled away their life savings, tell them! Say something like, “I care about you and enjoy when we chit chat or share funny stories about work drama. I know that what your husband did hurt you and turned your life upside down. I want to see you happy again but I can’t seem to help you break through the victim story. Tell me how I can help you”. It is possible to set boundaries without ruining the relationship.
3) Give compassion a chance
I can tell you this for certain: the toxic person in question is stuck in their own muck and is hating every minute of being in that role. The inner emotional pollution that is toxifying their relationships is also rapidly eroding their joy in life. When people know better, they do better. When people feel worthy of a better feeling state than anger, resentment and intolerance, they look for ways to move towards it. Recognize their pain, set your boundaries and let them process their life experiences at their own pace.
4) See them as someone playing a role in the movie of your life
Consider the idea that this person is playing a role for you to learn a life lesson and grow personally and spiritually. I don’t know what this lesson is for you but I have a feeling that how you respond to this person and the situation will determine whether or not this lesson will stay persistent in your life. You could move to another city or block them from Facebook but none of those actions will bring help you with wrapping this lesson up unless it comes from a place of self-love.
5) Don’t be their victim
Don’t let yourself feel victimized by their emotional state: “No amount of water can sink a ship unless it gets in”. If you have to be around them (at work , for example), accept them as a novice member of the rock band that you love and choose to treat as a mosquito buzz in the background. They don’t have control over your emotions. They can provoke an emotion or negativity in you but how much of it you allow or keep in is all up to you.
6) Look for ways you may be toxic to yourself
People come into our lives as mirrors or as lessons. Your lesson might be to learn and practice better boundaries so you aren’t affected (as much) by this person’s toxicity if you have to be around them. It might be that your thoughts and actions are toxic to yourself (or an area of your life) and this person is mirroring you a piece of what you have inside for you to see it and heal it. The golden rule in personal growth is that if you have a strong reaction to something or someone, it is worth looking at deeply.
7) Give yourself permission to move on with love
A toxic person is usually someone who has not been able to catch up to their own inner expansion. They are pregnant with a new way of being but they’re not due yet. They may not be for years! Don’t try to fix them or “help them grow”. Wish them peace and ease on their journey and move on if you need to. We all need that…
About the Author
Banu Sekendur is a writer, teacher, coach, small business cheerleader, an intuitive, and a frequent guest contributor for Expanded Consciousness (not in any particular order). She is a frequent contributor to Expanded Consciousness. Her life is dedicated to helping people discover, own and live from who they truly are and build a happy life around that. You can connect with her on Facebook and her website. “Come as you are”.