No one is perfect. And the truth is we are all doing the very best we can with what we know. However, constantly learning and evolving is essential for finding satisfaction and contentment with life.
Part of this is being able to recognize and overcome your own unhealthy and toxic behavioral patterns (yes, we’ve all got them!).
We might be quick to blame others or we might judge without thinking. Yet, it is possible to change these patterns and become an overall better, kinder, and more emotionally mature person.
A lot of it comes down to self-awareness, which is exactly what we’re leaning into with this article.
As Sheryl Sandberg once said,
We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.
So, get ready to make some waves and start changing yourself. It’s time to recognize your own toxic traits and bid them farewell!
Most of us would like to think we aren’t toxic. We might worry that thinking we are, in fact, “toxic” could reduce our self-worth and self-confidence.
However, recognizing that most people have something they need to work on can help you understand that it’s not just you and that most of us are pushing to be better and do better (always).
Life tends to come with hurdles and lessons. And there are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal. So, let’s start having more healthy interactions and shaking any negative patterns we tend to do. What is your toxic trait? And how can you fix it?
Judgment doesn’t serve us or others. In fact, it often creates an unsafe space where your friends and family don’t feel heard or respected.
And here’s the other thing: You can’t truly judge without being in another person’s shoes. There’s a lot that you likely don’t know. Thus, instead of judging, it’s better to try to understand. Actively listen. Let the other person know you hear them and that you care.
The other part about judgment is that it tends to reflect our feelings about ourselves. For example, if you’re judging another person based on how they dress, you might want to start asking yourself some tough questions.
These questions might be tough but they are worthwhile to explore. If you figure out that it is your own self-confidence, you can actively strive to work on it and improve it.
Related Article: Protecting Your Mental Health Around Toxic People
Being able to admit when you’re wrong is a huge level-up in emotional maturity.
It’s not always someone else’s fault. Remember, none of us are perfect. Even in a fight, it takes two to tango. Admit where you went wrong. Apologize for your actions and the part you played. This is where true growth and change can really start to occur.
Gaslighting has quickly become a buzzword in the relationship world.
Basically, it’s a form of emotional abuse where one person’s actions and behaviors cause another person to question their thoughts, reality, and memories of certain events.
Do you often say “That never happened” or “You have a terrible memory” or “I’m sorry you think I hurt you”? These are all examples of gaslighting.
Instead of automatically assuming the other person is wrong every step of the way, you’ll want to, again, listen. Hear them out. They are a whole other person with a whole different perspective. And when you listen, you both learn from each other!
Passive-aggressiveness is an indirect way of expressing to someone that you aren’t happy or that you feel negatively about something. This might mean you create inconsistencies between what you do and what you say.
Some examples of this include:
All in all, this probably isn’t going to solve the problem which is causing you to feel upset. In other words, if you tend to be more passive-aggressive than not, it’s time you start finding more direct and healthy ways to communicate with those you care about.
Guilt is a form of manipulation. Maybe when you don’t get your way in your relationship, you’ll try to guilt your partner by proclaiming they must not love you if they won’t do this one thing for you. Often, this creates resentment in a relationship.
A better way to do this would be to communicate directly, such as why you want help and how you would feel about that. When a person refuses, you shouldn’t continue to push or guilt them into doing something they might not want to do. This never ends well!
Related Article: Change is Easier When You Commit to Doing the Tough Stuff
Jealousy comes directly from our own thoughts and feelings about ourselves. Maybe we have low self-confidence or we don’t feel good about ourselves. Thus, when our partner seems too friendly with our neighbor, we get jealous.
However, this, usually, doesn’t serve us.
Maybe you make a passive-aggressive comment about it. It sets off a huge fight. You can probably see where this is going. Thus, when you feel jealous, try to delve into yourself and your own feelings. How can you feel better? What is great about you? And how can you appreciate others as opposed to feel jealous?
Stubbornness is often considered a good thing.
For example, many people assume that it makes them look self-assured and like they know what they want. Yet, it can also mean that you are hard to compromise or negotiate with, which is essential in meaningful and long-term relationships. You can’t always get what you want.
If you know you’re guilty of being stubborn, practice putting other people first. Not all the time, but sometimes. Become more flexible. Getting your way isn’t the end-all, be-all (and you know it!).
Many people quickly assume that life just happens to them.
While, in some situations, this is somewhat true, it’s often not the case. We have more control than we think. At the same time, there are absolutely some cases where a person is a victim, but, again, not always.
If you play the victim, lash out at others, make others feel guilty about it, and blame others for your feelings, this is your toxic trait. Luckily, you can flip this mentality.
Start looking at the things you can control. Begin analyzing how you contribute to your own situation, then do something about it. Become the hero of your story as opposed to the victim of your life.
Let’s take a moment to throw aside the idea that people don’t change.
They do. All the time.
Yet, usually, this change must come from within. You have to want it. You have to put in the effort. If any of the toxic traits above sound like you, it’s time to start letting them go and working toward being better. You can do this. And you can become the person you’ve always wanted to be. It all starts with you and what you do.