The toxicity of some relationships is very obvious. And while these are definitely worth mentioning, I’m going to focus on the ones that aren’t so obvious.
1. Toxic Friendships
“It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around when you remove toxic people from your life.”
I’m not talking about the “friends” who talk behind your back or betray you in some obvious way. I’m talking about the friends who don’t have your best interest at heart. The friends who don’t support you or celebrate your wins, but are quick to offer criticism. The friends who ask for discounts on your work instead of paying you what you are owed. And worst of all, the friends who encourage you to remain stagnant and be complacent.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned throughout my personal growth journey is that your environment influences your mindset.
If you surround yourself with people who make you feel like it’s okay to be lazy, you’ll become very lazy. If you surround yourself with people who don’t support you or ask for discounts, you’ll begin to doubt yourself. If you surround yourself with people who don’t push you to do your best, you will succumb to doubt and you’ll never achieve your full potential.
When I started my personal growth journey and I was working on changing my mindset, it was very hard. I didn’t have many people that I could relate to in terms of the way I started to think, and I still don’t. I wanted to attend all these leadership development events on and off campus but I didn’t go to a lot of them because I didn’t have anyone to go with.
I did a lot of things to stay motivated like watching Ted talks, attending some events, reading books, and learning of other people’s success stories. However, there were many things I didn’t do because I didn’t want to do it on my own or I felt weird because no one else was doing it.
I had to keep my head up and learn to do things alone because after all, I didn’t want to be like everyone else.
2. Toxic Family Members
“They say blood is thicker than water but I remember plenty of times when water was there and blood wasn’t.”
Your family is supposed to be your foundation. They’re supposed to have your back. They’re supposed to be the ones you can depend on – but that’s not always the case.
There are many ways your family can hold you back. The silent killer I’m going to discuss is by comparison.
I absolutely hated being compared to other people – and I still do. I’ve been on the receiving end of both types of comparisons – whether I was the better or worse person, and I hate both. When I did well, it wasn’t good enough, because somebody else did better. Or perhaps it was good enough, compared to another relative (which bothered me because I didn’t want them feeling bad), but I still shouldn’t be proud because it wasn’t the best.
I’ve always been a straight A student, but if someone else made an A+ then my A was nothing to be proud of.
My self-esteem literally plummeted because of this, because I felt like nothing I did was good enough. The sad thing about that was it came from a good place (I think). Their justification was that I was capable of more than I was producing and that they believed in me that much. However, I honestly think that family members need to work on other ways to express that that doesn’t involve comparing you to anyone else.
So how did I get over this?
Well, one day, I just said f*ck it.
I did try to communicate the way I felt in hopes to resolve the issue. But that didn’t take effect until a while after. In the meantime, I decided that the only person worthy of comparing myself to was me. If I did my best at something, then nobody could tell me it wasn’t good enough. But if I know I didn’t, then I would give myself a pep talk on why I need to get my life together.
You can’t always change the things that happen to you but you can change the way you react to them.
3. Toxic (Romantic) Relationships
You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served.
This includes whether the relationship is exclusive or not *wink*
*Sighs* Now, where do I even begin? I think if I had to talk about all the ways a romantic relationship can be toxic I’d somehow reach the nonexistent word limit on here. I’ll attempt to summarize.
On Exclusive Relationships
First off, please keep in mind that the other person may not always be the problem. You can also contribute to the problem with your own issues, and by allowing yourself to be mistreated. I’d like to take this time to call myself out on that note before someone calls me a hypocrite in the comments.
If you read my little heartbreak post you’ll know that my mistake was accepting less than I deserve.
So how can relationships be toxic to your growth?
Is my partner pushing me to be the best version of myself or somebody I don’t recognize? Am I growing as a person? Am I becoming somebody I love and respect or someone I never thought I’d be? Are my needs being met or neglected?
Consider why you’re in a relationship to begin with. Do you feel loved or do you just not want to be alone?
In order to elevate to the plane of success you desire, you need to make sure your partner encourages you to do whatever is necessary to get there. You shouldn’t have to choose between them and your goals. It’s easy to get caught up in another person and forget about yourself or put your dreams on hold to please them. The right partner won’t make you feel like you have to do that.
Your “Boo” who isn’t really our “Boo”
“The moment when you start to wonder if you deserve better, you do.”
We’ve all been there. Now, whether that’s your thing or not right now, consider this:
Despite the fact that you don’t have a title, you’re still very much invested. You are investing your time and energy – two things you cannot get back – into something that may not produce a return on your investment. You will also be affected by the other person’s actions in the same way that you would if you were in a relationship. You may try to remind yourself that you shouldn’t feel this way, (or even worse, be reminded by the other person that you shouldn’t), but you will.
You are a young #Girlboss in the making, and your limited time and energy is being invested into something that isn’t yielding any results. If someone advised you to invest in a stock that you knew would fail, or had doubts about, you wouldn’t do it. Your time and energy is a limited currency, be as wise in spending it as you would with your money.
Don’t get distracted..
Relationships, in general, aren’t a distraction. As human beings, we crave love and affection from other human beings. It’s normal. However, the wrong ones are a distraction. One you can’t afford to waste time on at such a pivotal moment in your life. Be wise with how you invest your time and energy!
And in saving the best for last…
4. Toxic Relationship with Yourself
You. Are. Your. Only. Limit.
You have an idea for a business you want to start based on something you’re very passionate about. You fantasize about it all the time and even begin doing research on how you can start. You reach a point where you’re ready to move forward and turn your dream into a reality. Suddenly, the crippling feeling of doubt creeps in. You tell yourself that no one will like your idea and you’ll never get any customers and your business will fail. You think your idea is silly so you dismiss it all together and go about living life as you did before you began to dream.
In that moment, who told you that your business would never be successful? Who told you your idea was stupid?
You killed your dream before you did so much as write down your ideas. You convinced yourself that nobody would like your idea. Nobody even learned of your idea yet. You told yourself that it wasn’t worth pursuing.
What would happen if you actually chased your dream and started your business?
Don’t you want to find out? Are you so afraid of failure that you’re content with thinking “what if” all the time?
What if it DID work out? What if that idea will help manifest everything you’ve ever wanted?
You have to make a very important decision on what scares you most:
Are you more afraid of failure that you’ll settle for whatever makes you feel “safe” and “secure” or are you more afraid of settling and never living out any of your dreams because you were too afraid to take a risk?
Your answer to this question will shape your actions in life. This will ultimately determine how successful you’ll be.
I challenge you to talk yourself into doing what you love. Take risks for the sake of following your dreams. Don’t worry about what other people have to say. There will always be critics. You have to learn to soar despite any negativity you will face along the way.
Consider why the richest people in the world only make up the top 1%. If being successful were that easy the odds would be our favor. You have to put in the work and be willing to take risks and step outside your comfort zone to accomplish your dreams. It may take you years but you have to be persistent. You have to believe in yourself.
You can either be your greatest obstacle or your greatest strength.
Until next time,
Struggling to build your self confidence or find the motivation you need to move forward?