Your behavior is a little thing that makes a big difference.
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.
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 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.
The 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 muster.
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 work wonders.
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
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 perfectionism GO.
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
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.