We all have certain behaviour patterns and habits that, if left unchecked, can in some way be toxic for the overall quality of life. Recognising them and having strategies in place to combat them, therefore, can only help to improve your mood, energy and help you live your best life.
Here are some of the more common toxic behaviours and habits, and a few tricks you can have in place to tackle them.
#1 Excessive Need For External Validation
Many people do and say things to portray themselves in certain ways, in order to be perceived better by their peers. This however can deprive you from genuine energy and relationships with people. When we think about what other people have to say, this mainly results in our focus going more towards the outside, rather than the inside. It’s a fear based behaviour, as we are worried about being judged poorly, or being rejected and not loved. This in turn leads to us feeling like we always have to meet other people’s expectations, instead of prioritising our own opinions and needs.
One of the first ways to overcome this is to first identify the why behind it, and get to know yourself. What drives you? What are your values? Not your partners, not your boss’, not your parents. Yours. We have a natural instinct to be part of a tribe. The fear of being left out, unloved, rejected is so ingrained in our minds, it’s not easy to change. Try changing the story you are telling yourself, with positive self talk and reinforcement “I do have some to contribute. Also remind yourself that not everyone has to like you all the time, and not everyone has to agree with you. What’s the worst that can happen? If someone says they don’t like you, is it really that bad? Usually it just means that they are not your tribe. For every person that disagrees or rejects, there will be another to agree and accept you with open arms.
#2 Self-Induced Guilt Tripping
Each and every one of us, at one point goes through unpleasant experiences, which lead to bad emotions. In many instances, those emotions unfold into a flurry of guilt-tripping, where you blame yourself for one or more mistakes you made.
Much like anything else, the feeling of guilt won’t be too toxic for you if it only happens every now and then, but the constant existence in the pool of guilt will, in fact ruin you. When you focus on what you did wrong and what could’ve been if you did a different thing, you basically rob yourself of all your energy that can help you do more in the future.
Guilt can be either a negative experience that diminishes your energy or a positive force for change. Again its important to identify what the cause of the guilt is. If it’s guilt from a wrong or hurtful action, take steps to apologise or make amends, but then let it go. The more we focus on believing we need to do something more, the more it will continue to bother us and potentially cause further conflict. Acknowledge also that we all make mistakes. No-one is perfect. I mean NO-ONE. Go easy on yourself. In fact, you can congratulate yourself. Feelings of guilt means that you have empathy, a conscience and you have high and potentially unrealistic expectations on yourself out of a desire to be a better person. It means you actually give a shit.
#3 Pessimistic mindset
One of the most toxic thought patterns is that of the pessimistic mindset - something that robs many of us of opportunities and action. Such mindsets are developed throughout early childhood so technically, you took that from someone else. Even more so, the brain is generally wired to expect the WORST, so that it can prepare for whatever comes its way. Nevertheless, this function of the brain is no longer as viable in the modern-day big cities, where opportunities (and not predators) are around every corner. Pessimism can make obstacles feel enormous, and impossible to overcome, which means you don’t try.
It can be possible to rewire your brain and look not just into the negatives, but also the possible positives and solutions of the given problem. Seek inspiration from other, read inspiring stories or find a coach that can challenge your negative thought patterns. It’s again also important you connect to your WHY. Why is this important to you? Why does it need to change?
There are times in life when these attitudes and behaviours have a purpose, and can be a good thing. They can help build relationships, prevent you from hurting others, learn from mistakes and promote self growth. These attitude should not dominate your life. Recognising when they are becoming dominant is the key to that positive change you have been searching for. Be kind to yourself.