You Might Be a Toxic Person

If you’ve ever hurt someone you loved, made a decision that lead to an outcome you didn’t want or expected, said something with your outside voice that you knew once it was out you wished you could have taken it back, or asserted yourself in such a way as to cause conflict or distress for someone else you might be a toxic person.

Let’s take a look at signs which might indicate that you, or someone you know, might be a toxic person.

If you’re telling your partner what to wear or what not to wear, what activities to participate in, what friends to hang out with, what to do, or where to go, you might be a toxic person.

If you’re constantly getting attention or resources from others without giving much, if anything, in return, you might be a toxic person.

If people reach out to you in an attempt to connect to you and you ignore them, their calls, or their texts, and you generally think others are just plain annoying, unless you want something from them, you might be a toxic person.

If you are handy with putting negative spin on circumstances, often exaggerate, or lie to make yourself look better, or others to appear to be less appealing (or even bad), then make yourself look like God’s gift to save the world (or at least this circumstance), you might be a toxic person.

If you have a knack for using the exact words that people say or recall people’s actions and responses in intricate detail to twist and weaponize against others to make them look bad, potentially destroying their lives, you might be a toxic person.

If you use something that someone’s told you in confidence against them or use it to put yourself in a better light or to make you seem superior or less-flawed than someone else, you might be a toxic person.

If you take someone else’s words out of context, make it look as though it was an attack against you or your integrity, and counterattack, just to assert how better a person you are, and how awful the other person is to even question you or your integrity, you might be a toxic person.

If you have a tendency to pick on or torture people emotionally because they are gentle, kind, loving, and giving people who you see as somewhat weaker than they should be, and maybe feel like you’re doing them a favor by making them a little tougher by challenging their sensibilities with a little conflict, drama, or abuse, you might be a toxic person.

If you brag about your accomplishments, and feel free to embellish a little to make your personal stories even more fascinating and disregard the accomplishments of others, you might be a toxic person.

If your constantly making excuses for yourself for not fulfilling your end of the bargain, blaming others for your lack of diligence or commitment when you fall short of the mark, you might be a toxic person.

If you lack integrity, which means that you’re more prone to lie than not and find it hard to keep promises of make good on the things you say with the things you do, you might be a toxic person.

If someone you know is doing something you don’t agree with, and you use guilt, some form of self-deprecation, or throw a pity party to get them to change their plans on your behalf, you might be a toxic person.

If you generally feel that other people are not up to your standards in one way or another, and you feel like it’s up to you to see them change to come more in-line with your way of thinking, being, acting, or living, you might be a toxic person.

If you are constantly seeing the shortcomings in others and often find yourself trying to make them change to better suit your standards, you might be a toxic person.

If you are likely to abuse someone else by disrespecting them, raising your voice, intimidating, belittling, threatening them, or even potentially committing acts of violence to get your way, you might be a toxic person.

If your first reaction is to be jealous with the potential of escalating to rage when your partner is out of range of your discerning watchful eye (and you assume that he or she will be unfaithful to you), you might be a toxic person.

If you look deep within and you find that of all people you know you cannot be trusted, and this leads you to the conclusion that no one else can be trusted, then you might be a toxic person.

But before you go jumping to self-martyrdom about your being a toxic person, let me put your mind at ease. First of all, if you’re wondering if you might be a toxic person, then you’re probably not toxic at all.

We all make mistakes and blunder through life doing the best we can with what we have, and sometimes, we do better than other times. No problem, more than likely you’ll get another chance to do it better somewhere further down the road along your life’s path.

So, congratulations! You’re not a toxic person!

Toxic people are a different breed, they muscle their way through life, pushing everyone else out of their way, leaving a wake of emotional destruction in their wake, without a thought of how their attempts to satisfy themselves might affect others.

This is not an uncommon occurrence. For the toxic person, it is a way of life, and in most cases, they are not too bothered by their inconveniencing others or causing them hurt feelings or hardship. They just keep pushing and prodding, moving whatever gets in their way aside to get what they want.

When dealing with toxic people, try not to judge them for being broken or wicked. You do not know what lifetime of living might turn someone into a person, like that. Try to have compassion for them, but steer free from them, because you are never expected to suffer at the hands of someone else. It is your responsibility to protect your own sacred space.

Watching the People You Love Ruin Their Lives

You love them with all your heart, yet they make choices and decisions that bring discomfort, despair, and chaos into their life. There’s little worse than watching the people you love ruin their lives. You want to help. You give your input and suggestions, still, they insist on being their own worst enemy.

It breaks your heart every time they do it, yet you cannot prevent them from exercising their own free will and living the life they were meant to live.

What? “the life they were meant to live?” That’s right. Everyone is on their own individual journey. Each one is different and different people are destined to have different experiences, in a sense to play out the hand they were dealt in such a way to get them where their life’s journey leads.

You know, in your life, you’ve made bad decisions which have led to uncomfortable consequences. But didn’t you learn from those experiences? Weren’t there critical pivot points in your life which made you evaluate your decision-making process, change your life, and make better decisions in the future?

This is the process, and you can’t do it for anyone else. This may make you feel like you’re watching the people you love ruin their lives, but you’re not. You are not watching them ruin their lives, what you’re doing is watching the people you love make their own way through life, just as you’re making your own way through yours.

We’ve all learned key values based on our individual experiences, such as being a people pleaser or keeping up with the Joneses. Taking the easy way out, procrastination, giving up too soon or holding on too long. Asserting your superiority or not valuing others. You know all the right answers and everyone else is wrong. Not speaking your peace, or not being open to new ideas.

You know from your own experience that it’s not a good thing to bury the past and ignore it, to judge others harshly, to engage in hate speech, to think that what you want is all that matters, or to hold onto expectations so tightly that if something doesn’t go your way, your whole world collapses.

You’ve learned valuable life lessons, like having a bad experience doesn’t mean that everything associated with a similar focal point of your bad experience (stocks, cars, investments, mate choice, religion, social cliques, pets, children, relatives, etc.) is patently also potentially “bad.” You know better to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You’ve learned this over time.

You know if you feel like you can’t do it, you probably can. You’ve learned to be open to new ideas because you might end up making your own life easier or better. You’ve discovered that cutting yourself some slack, not judging yourself harshly, and taking time to relax and smell the roses are not only beneficial but necessary for living a good life.

You’ve learned that not all advice from people you care for and trust is not always the best advice.

Failure is not fatal. If you fall off the horse, you dust yourself off and get ready to give it another go. You’ve learned that you cannot give to others or love with all your heart if your cup is empty.

You’ve learned to graciously accept assistance if someone offers to lend a hand, and to avoid being seen as narcissistic by others.

You’ve learned to accept others as they are, where they are on their own individual journey. You love them, you let you make their own way, and you bless them as they learn from their own experiences.

Many of the most valuable lessons in life are learned by living life, by making mistakes, and learning from them. Why would you deny anyone that part of their journey?

The people you love have to find and make their own way, to discover all these things on their own. You may share your own story as an interesting anecdote, but do not preach to nor condemn them for having the courage to make their own decisions, and do not coddle them when they suffer the consequences.

This is their life. Honor them.

Yes, it can be hard to watch them go through it. You can pray for them, bless, them, love them, but do not judge them, for they are doing the best they can with what they have, as so have you.

I Was Wrong

If you are the kind or person who is constantly blazing a new trail throughout your life’s journey, you’re likely to experience missteps when burrowing through uncharted territory; and this is a good thing.

i-was-wrong-taking-responsibility-for-your-actions-i-screwed-up

Onlookers, casual spectators, doubters, critics and haters are watching every step you make and are likely to point out that you’re wrong to wander off the beaten path. It’s as if in the event that you suffer any damages that you deserve it because you’re not doing it right or as though something is wrong with you. The nay sayers may try to demean you, disrespect, try to discredit you or make fun of you. Their expectation is that you turn away from your cavalier exploration and return to the herd in an effort to save yourself from embarrassment, death or worse…

The truth of the matter is the haters and hecklers are not bad people, it’s just that they are incredibly frightened you might succeed and any mistake that you might make along the way, justifies their lack of taking a more proactive approach to their life. The more they exploit your mistakes, the better they feel about their own mediocrity, for at the very least, they are somewhat safe and no one is challenging their decision to remain in the life they’ve become comfortably accustomed to.

I applaud you for being one of the few of us who choose to take the road less traveled. It’s not so much that we develop a skin thick enough not to react to attacks by folks who are uncomfortable with our personal growth and progress it’s just that we wouldn’t let someone’s words throw us off track. At least they’re not using sticks and stones.

The best way to quickly recover and get back is to acknowledge you could have done better and get back to your work. If your accusers appear to have an attitude of genuine concern or reside within your inner circle of influence a little humility goes a long way. Humbly admitting

I Screwed Up

Will help people feel more empathetic to your cause if you are simply expressing your flawed humanity. No one can begrudge you for seeing us all as basically the same, all doing the best we can with what we have, even if some of us do it differently than others. On the other hand, if they are just hateful or disrespectful, you do not have to acknowledge their accusations at all.

Listen to Feedback

Occasionally, unsuspecting spectators can offer input or observations you were unable to see while entangled in the work that lead to your misstep. So, it’s good to lend an ear to those who have been watching from afar in case they may have insight that may prove to be helpful once you regain your balance and continue to re-engage your process. And you may be surprised to find helpful insight coming from hateful attackers (though it is unnecessary to acknowledge them, if it is your policy not to respond to people who are unkind), just file away the learning. In fact, for folks like us, there is no failure, only learning.

Learning from Mistakes

The most important component is that you extract all the knowledge obtained via your process of trial and error. The results give you a unique perspective which cannot be duplicated by the armchair observers as you move forward while taking responsibility for your actions.

You can spend years in college learning about all the best characteristics and techniques filling your head with practical concepts and knowledge, but the men and women on the front lines with their feet on the street actually doing the work and creatively approaching challenges as they appear on-the-fly and dealing with real-life circumstances which won’t show up in textbooks for years, they are the real heroes.

These are the innovators, not the imitators. They are setting themselves apart from the masses. To them it is better to create something from scratch, to bring value to the community for the greater good, even to aspire to make the world a better place, not just for themselves, but for the world at large for generations to come.

I am not condemning those who have opted to follow the path of academia. I applaud them for their efforts and discipline and find they make important team members. They bring skills and perspectives to the table that expands far beyond entrepreneurial street smarts, and they may well be innovators as well (and if they hang out with me for long, will find themselves spending more and more time looking outside the box, too).

Thanks for taking the high road.
We’re all on this journey together, yet independently.

-Carpe DM