Let’s be real – No person is immune to behaving in a toxic or dangerous way once in a while. What is important is knowing to move past these moments by learning to be better, embrace personal growth, instead of letting these habits stick around for longer than they are needed. Do not let them live rent free in your mind and heart damaging your property.
There are probably more toxic behaviors to list, but these 9 come to mind as the most important.
1. Victim Mentality
When you have been the victim in a situation or multiple situations, especially before adulthood, it is hard to not try to protect yourself from these pains. Know there is a difference between protecting yourself and expecting to be hurt. Expecting to be a victim can keep you from feeling empowered and in control of your destiny.
“Master yourself, and become king of the world around you. Let no odds, chastisement, exile, doubt, fear, or ANY mental virii prevent you from accomplishing your dreams. Never be a victim of life; be it’s conqueror.” ”
2. Living in the Past or Living in the Future
It is good to acknowledge your past and learn from your life’s lesson, but you do not need to relive the pain and regrets of the past. It is good to grow towards the future and prepare for the life you vision, but not at the expense of missing out on the magic of living in the present. Both extreme mindsets lead to ignoring the needs of the people around you.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
3. Creating Enemies
Most everyone is just doing their best in life. Any person who intentionally causes pain is suffering with their own demons unaware of how poisoned their thinking is due to all the pain they have received from others in life. Acknowledging this pain, offering your understanding and forgiveness, can help them see through themselves. This act can create a friend from an enemy.
“When you begin to see that your enemy is suffering, that is the beginning of insight.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh-
4. Holding on to Grudges
Sometimes, we are caught in situations with others where it’s not easy to let go soon after it happens. Some situations are traumatic and require a great deal of counseling, introspection and healing. Any grudge takes energy to keep and it gives this person power over you. Letting go of a grudge is more about your own peace & clarity versus forgiving the other person.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
5. Mindlessly Living
It takes effort to live consciously. Reacting out of habit can cause a varied response with a mix of old patterns and emotional wounds mostly coming from the subconscious mind. When we live mindfully, we react to every situation with intelligence, wisdom, compassion and with the intent to create the best outcome possible.
“Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation.”
-Rosabeth Moss Kanter-
6. Withholding Love
Love can be used as a weapon even more disastrous than hate, but to give your love freely is a gift to yourself and the world. This is the only way you can surround yourself with multiple loving people in the form of friendship, family and romantic encounters. When a person stumbles in your life who abuses your love, your heart will already be so full, their attempts to cause you pain will be minimal.
Take stock of your thoughts and behavior. Each night ask yourself, when were you negative when you could have been positive? When did you withhold love when you might have given it? When did you play a neurotic game instead of behaving in a powerful way? Use this process to self-correct.
7. The Need to Be Right
Feeling the need to be right is less about discovering the truth and more about protecting yourself from being wrong. It is an ego-based reaction. You can skillfully debate your position based on your truths and still listen respectfully to another person’s truths. If your reasoning is sound, maybe you will plant a seed in another’s mind for them to discover on their own, but that is all you can do when it comes to a tightly held belief. By listening to another person’s views, you too might be sent on the similar path to your own discoveries. Overall, it is about expanding the mind while letting go of your pride.
“He who establishes his argument by noise and command, shows that his reason is weak.”
– Michel de Montaigne –
8. Cheating in Life
Not going about things the right way is a disservice to yourself. It robs you of the ability to feel full satisfaction of a fairly earned accomplishment. No matter how much you push away feelings of guilt to yourself or others who might have been affected by this action, they exist somewhere within and can easily resurface at any time.
“The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one’s self. All sin is easy after that.”
9. Allowing Ego to Drive
Most if not all of the above behaviors could all be connected to the ego. The most important personal development discovery is when you can decide which parts of your ego requires healing and which parts need to be discarded. Once enough negativity has been removed, you can start living your life guided by your inner voice. The ego becomes a trusted advisor who sits in the passenger seat while your higher self is driving the car.
“Thinking, or more precisely identification with thinking, gives rise to and maintains the ego, which, in our Western
society in particular, is out of control. It believes it is real and tries hard to maintain its supremacy. Negative states of mind, such as anger, resentment, fear, envy, and jealousy, are products of the ego.”
Related: Five Steps to a Happier, Less Fearful Life