Similar to the Yin and Yang, of how two opposites complement each other to make a whole, there is a shadow-side to everything in life – especially in ourselves. Everyone exhibits some form of toxic behaviour. We are only human after all. But what’s important is that we educate ourselves rather than ignore it and continue acting the same away. If you’re ready to be honest and accountable, to be a better version of yourself, we invite you to read on!
What are the common toxic traits?
Some common toxic traits include:
- Being Judgemental
Having standards and not settling for less is one thing, but if you find yourself judging someone because of tiny, minuscule things that don’t define their character – start acknowledging that and actively stopping yourself. Otherwise, it usually implies a hidden or open desire to control or change someone.
When something bad happens to you – are you quick to blame everything around you, including yourself? It’s normal to experience bad days, but when your mind only answers and listens in a negative tone, you won’t be able to appreciate anything in your life.
In a nutshell, to ‘gaslight’ is to invalidate and/or downplay other’s emotions. Gaslighting often occurs when you listen to counter and not listen to understand. Some examples of gaslighting phrases include:
- “Relax, why can’t you just take a joke?”
- “You’re being too sensitive.”
- “You’re crazy to think that!”
- “This is why nobody likes you.”
Using mental tricks for your own personal gain is considered manipulation. Examples of manipulative ways are:
- Guilting someone into doing something for you.
- Exploiting the emotions of others.
- Using the ‘I’m a victim’ card as an excuse.
- Being ignorant of others’ emotions and feelings.
- Disregarding the consequences of their actions.
If any of these sound familiar, it could be time for you to step back and start taking responsibility for your behaviour.
How can I improve?
The first step is to acknowledge your toxic traits and areas of improvement. This could be done by nurturing self-awareness. You can do this by:
- Being brutally honest with yourself.
Recognise and admit to your negative traits.
- Being curious about who you are.
Ask yourself, “What are the qualities I’m putting out there?”, “Why do I do something a certain way?”.
- Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes when in conflict.
Viewing the situation from the other party’s perspective will help you understand them better and manage your emotions. In turn, this will change your actions and lead to a better outcome.
- Reflecting on your emotions and actions.
Review your actions and emotions through journaling or mediation, and reflect to see if you can improve the situation in the future.
When you notice your toxic traits and begin the process of realising how your trauma affects your behaviour, you can start amending and improving your personality. However, if you continue to recycle your pain, the cycles of the same situation will happen again.
Psychologist Dr. Tasha Eurich offers a piece of advice, “Working on your self-awareness will put you ahead of 80 percent of your colleagues. It is the secret ingredient. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do it quickly – be open to what people tell you so that you can make a significant improvement.”
Start becoming aware of your own toxic traits, even if they’re ingrained in niceness. It’ll move you a step closer towards self-acceptance and self-love!