By: Gabriela Yareliz

Toxic. Nope. I am not talking about the Britney Spears song. I feel like this has been a big theme for the latter half of 2017.

Are people going insane? I feel like many amazing people who surround me are dealing with toxic people in their lives; whether it be a boss, coworker, family member or peer.

How do we deal? Ugh. Here’s the thing— toxic people can really affect us. They can mentally and emotionally bring us down. And the truth is, many of these people are not people we can escape. At the end of the day, if you are human, you will have a toxic person around you.

I am not going to even get into describing what a toxic person looks like because I am sure you know.

So— I don’t have solutions. I don’t pretend to have the magic wand.

Let’s talk this out, though. How do we deal with toxicity, so we don’t don’t find ourselves “slippin’ under,” as Spears would call it?

1. Boundaries. You can love someone, but it doesn’t mean you have to invite the devil incarnate into your home or into your personal life. You can draw physical lines but also emotional/attachment lines.

2. Managing expectations. Sometimes, things affect us more when we expect and long for something different. I think that when we see people exactly where they are and call their behavior out for what it is (which is often irrational), we can manage a situation better because we are dealing with reality.

3. Climbing higher. Managing our expectations allows us to climb higher, above the mess. It allows us to see things for what they are and move past it. I think this often requires some distance, and we need to learn that this is ok. You can certainly decide what you want in your life. If toxicity isn’t something you want, you can leave it in its place, and move on. It’s a change in attitude and perspective.

4. Controlling what you can control— YOURSELF. You can’t  control others, but you can control your reaction. You decide how much power you hand over to someone.

5. Reflection. I think it’s so important to be reflective and be aware of what is triggering stress or certain emotions in your life.

6. Focusing on gratitude. Along with reflection, I think it’s so important to focus on what you are grateful for, tangible things you can do to make the day better and how you want to be better tomorrow.

7. Care for yourself. Rest. Eat well. I think sometimes we care more about and for others than we do ourselves. That is not ok. After all, Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself. If you don’t love yourself and respect yourself, you can’t impart.

8. Community. Find a like-minded person to pray with and gain perspective. It can make a huge difference. It’s not about complaining and leaking bad energy, but about finding strength in another, when sometimes you have none left or you feel defeated. Even Jesus didn’t carry his cross alone.

Sigh. This was probably a bit depressing, but I think it’s a very real issue that so many people are grappling with, in so many ways.

I hope that this shines some light your way, regardless of what you are going through. Shine bright. Don’t let anyone take your sparkle.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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