It seems like right now, cancel culture is the wave (rightly so in a lot of cases). We’re constantly bombarded with different ideas of what toxicity is and where it lies; in relationships, friendships, social media, capitalism, culture, etc. We have all of these products marketed to us that are intended to remove physical toxins from our bodies and replace the toxic products we’ve been using. But you know what? If we were aware of how these toxins entered our lives before they did, I think we would be in much better positions. We can’t fight a problem before we are aware of it, but what if we never had to fight it off at all and could just avoid it entirely?
If we acknowledged and made the decision to walk away from red flags before they turned into storms, if we knew how to use our voices before they were taken from us, if we were educated on what is good for us instead of trusting what is trendy, I believe we would be a lot healthier mentally, physically and spiritually as a people.
For where jealously and selfish ambition exist, there will be disordering and every vile practice.James 3: 16 (ESV)
There’s also something to be said about being able to recognize when you’re the toxic person or exhibiting toxic behaviors. We are so quick to blame others when things don’t go the way we wanted them to instead of taking a step back and re-evaluating what we could change about ourselves. I am guilty of this 100%. There have definitely been times where I’ve made the conscious decision to stay in toxic relationships because they’re what I know and what’s comfortable or where I’ve reacted out of fear instead of love. That’s definitely something I’ve been working on and pretty much one of the only things I’ve been able to work on during quarantine.
Something that a lot of people miss the mark on, at least in my own experience, is that we don’t acknowledge the bravery it takes to say this isn’t serving me (nor others nor God) and walk away. Honestly, it takes a heck of a lot more courage to put your own needs first sometimes than others, at least for a 3w2 like me (if you haven’t taken the enneagram test definitely check it out!) But being able to change and eliminate toxic habits and relationships goes hand in hand with knowing your worth. I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before, you can’t pour from an empty glass. It is 100% true. If I’m not taking care of myself in the way I need to, I then can’t show up fully for those in my life. If you know anything about me, you know I ALWAYS want to FULLY show up for those who need me. In order to do that, I need to take care of myself first, which is no easy task.
Transforming into the healthiest version of myself has been a long journey and I am nowhere near the finish line, but taking it one day at a time has been extraordinarily helpful! I am the kind of person who is a people pleaser and I’m not great at creating boundaries or saying no to others because of this. That’s something I’m trying to work on because as much as I’m called to love others, I can’t do that fully if I’m not loving myself. I don’t mean in an egotistical way, but loving myself enough to create healthy habits for my mind, body, and soul. I know I am passive aggressive a lot of the time, because I don’t want to have full blown confrontations where one or both parties could be deeply hurt. Obviously, I have more unhealthy habits and I’ve been actively working on them each day.
In my opinion, a lot of toxic behaviors are fueled from what we feed our minds and who we surround ourselves with. I was listening to my friend Sarah’s podcast, ‘It Ain’t It, Sis’ this morning, and she was talking about how we become the 5 most prominent people in our lives. I believe this is so true. If we are surrounding ourselves with negative people, it can be much harder to take captive those negative thoughts and redirect them. Again, we need to realize when our own behaviors need to change as well, because our problems aren’t solely based on the actions of others.
I also know how challenging it is to remove yourself from a toxic relationship whether it is with a family member, a friend, a work environment, or a romantic relationship. I’ve had to do all of these things. Because I think one thing we often forget to acknowledge is that although you may not be the manipulator or the instigator, you are still engaging and blaming which are equally toxic. The thing that I found to be most helpful in changing my toxic behaviors is really sitting with myself and asking God for the strength to own my actions and cut the cord.
Love each other with genuine affliction, and take delight in honoring each other.Romans 12: 10 (NLT)
It is IMPOSSIBLE to love others if you do not first love yourself. There will be times when I slip up, so I’ll need to give myself grace and do better next time. I have learned so many lessons from past relationships that weren’t serving either of us, and am able to avoid certain red flags and behaviors in my current relationships as well as future ones. Life is truly a journey filled with lessons, and I think we keep experiencing certain trials in different lights until we learn the lesson. There may be times when we have to learn certain lessons again, and that’s okay. A lesson I have recently been taught is that I need to let go of toxic relationships and change my behaviors to create space for healthy, fulfilling ones. It’s been challenging and ugly at times, but the transformation has been worth it.
My challenge to you is how are you engaging in toxic behaviors? What or who do you need to say no to in order to create healthier habits? What is love compelling you to change in your own life?
Keep picking those daisies!
** Graphic by Taylor Abrigo!! https://www.spaceycowboy.com **
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