I’m not one of those people who believe in “good vibes only” or only focusing on the positive things in life. Being a constantly positive person is hard and, in my opinion, impossible for most people. As humans we aren’t perfect and there are times when we’re going to have a shitty day and be in a shitty mood. This is fine. However, there is a difference between having a bad day or week and being the toxic person in your life or the lives of others. As someone who has gone through these moments at earlier times in my life, I’ve discovered 3 signs that will tell you if you are the toxic person and how to fix it if you are.
1. You are always angry/in a bad mood and take it out on others
As I said earlier, it is perfectly okay to have a bad mood for a day or week. Some people even have bad months depending on what they are going through in life. What’s not okay is constantly being in a bad mood and taking this out on those around us. Nobody wants to be friends with the person who is always angry, never has anything nice to say, and acts like an asshole to most people around them. Even if you disguise it in constant sarcasm, slick comments, passive aggressive behavior, or whatever else, it’s annoying and toxic to others and yourself.
How to fix it: Find out why you are so angry
Unless you suffer from a disorder that makes your emotions not at your own will, most people experience another emotion before anger. Figure out what emotion(s) you’re trying to mask in anger. Are you sad? Are you hurting? Is there a trauma you don’t want to deal with? Ask yourself these questions and similar ones to find out the root of your anger. This is the only way you can address this anger and move on to a life not plagued by it.
2. You’re jealous of others and their accomplishments
Being a hater is one of the most toxic things to your well-being. I don’t mean the haters everyone swore they had in high school but a genuine hater who hates to see others do well. A hater is someone who constantly hates on others’ magnificent accomplishments. Do you find yourself getting jealous of strangers or even worse…your “friends?” Do you hear about people’s new promotions at work or their new PR at the gym and find yourself looking for a way to cut them down or “humble them?” If you’re this type of person you’re toxic to yourself and others and people will definitely pick up on it even if you never say anything out loud. They will stop telling you the good things that happen to them because you’ll always be known as somebody who is a hater and has nothing good to say when people share their accomplishments.
How to fix it: Realize you are an adequate being and what is for you won’t pass you by
Many times when we try to dull someone else’s sparkle it’s because we are insecure about our own shine. As people we have insecurities or feelings of inadequacy sometimes. What’s important is that we don’t let these feelings consume us so much that we can’t be happy for the next person. Another reason people become haters is because they want what someone else has. There are very few things that are in such scarcity in the world that you need to covet those who have them. What is meant for you is FOR YOU so long as you take the steps needed to achieve it. Hating on the next person won’t get you any closer to your goals. Aspire to be inspired by those who are we’re you want to be and learn from them instead of wishing them bad.
3. You only call/text your friends to talk about yourself, your problems, or other people
There is nothing that toxic people are better at than maintaining one-sided friendships that only benefit them. If you’re constantly reaching out to others with no intentions of seeing how they are doing, you might be the toxic friend. I’m using the term friend loosely here. But seriously, if you only think to hit people up when you’re going through some shit, they aren’t your friend…they are your therapist and honestly that’s not fair to them. This isn’t the same thing as a friendship where the energy and effort is mutual and you both help each other through hard times. This is you not checking in with someone unless you need something from them and they are helping you in some way…it’s toxic. If you only reach out to a friend to talk badly about other people that’s toxic as well and not good for either of you. Only equally toxic people want friends who never have anything good to say about others.
How To Fix It: Get a therapist and a journal
One way to make sure you’re not the friend who only keeps in contact to talk about the shit going on in your life is to have someone whose job it is to let you vent to them. Therapy is often looked down upon (especially in communities of color) but if you have this tendency you could probably use someone with the proper skills and knowledge to help you through these times. Another way to master your emotions and feelings is to write about them. I know I say this all the time but it works, okay? Ever since I’ve started journaling I have become better at dealing with my emotions. This can help you too. Also, if you find yourself consistently gossiping about others, you need to figure out what insecurities you are trying to hide by doing so. As I mentioned earlier everyone has insecurities and it’s okay but talking badly about others won’t make anything within ourselves better. Find the problems within yourself and handle them.
I believe that everyone goes through a phase or two where they are the toxic person in their own life as well as the lives of others. What’s important is being able to recognize this and taking the steps needed to check ourselves and deal with our problematic behaviors. The first step is awareness so if any of these signs rang true for you I hope you take my suggestions. Help yourself live a peaceful non-toxic life. You are in charge with how you deal with life so take the steps towards happiness not bitterness.