Ditch toxic people and situations right now! Or not….

I keep seeing memes on social media instructing me to remove myself from any person or situation I find unpleasant. These posts seem to strike up a lot of interest, with discussions about all the awful things that have happened or are happening. It looks, to me, like a warped one-upmanship with people competing to have suffered the most, searching their memories and reliving their worst experiences.

It makes absolutely no sense to me to either dredge up painful times from the past or focus on difficulties in the present. If we can learn from the past, all well and good, but if we’re simply keeping our stories of the ‘reality’ we see, alive, then letting go and moving forward is surely more healthy. You might like to read more about this in Living in the now; love this momentNothing and no one can ever hurt us and Overthinking, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

If we are struggling with a so-called ‘toxic’ person or situation, giving attention to our thoughts about them will only make the ‘problem’ even ‘realer’. Do you want to be right or happy? explains the benefits of not attaching to people or events, especially those that appear to make us feel uncomfortable. When we concentrate on ‘toxic’ things, we get stuck in our thinking and see everything through a black filter; in that place, nothing can please us. When we understand that we aren’t upset about what we think we are, the ‘toxic’ person or event, but about our thinking around it, we see that we are perfectly capable of choosing not to act upon or give attention to any of our thoughts.

Who’s toxic?

This may seem controversial, but I believe that no one and nothing is actually toxic; only hurt and acting from that place of suffering…hurt people hurt people. If we were to reject everyone who has ever snapped or acted in any form of defensiveness, we would have no one at all in our lives. We could also ask ourselves whether we have ever acted less than politely when we were having a bad day. I doubt anyone can give an honest and resounding “no”, I certainly can’t; I know I have been guilty of speaking to people more roughly than I normally would when in low levels of thinking.

At those times when we could have been more empathic and compassionate, we weren’t aiming to be mean, we were just struggling with life and, as our troubles came to the surface, we allowed our behaviour to reflect what was going on with us, forgetting that those around us were sensitive too. We were not bad people, we were just being human. Fortunately, I have learned to immediately recognise when I’m not grounded and can therefore not trust my thoughts. Until I naturally return to my balanced peaceful self, I find keeping my mouth shut to avoid saying something I will later regret, is definitely the way forward.

You’ll never learn

Some people appear to always be relaxed and unoffended by anything around them, but they have simply learned to walk away from everything ‘toxic’. This is great if it works for them but they haven’t actually ever dealt with anything, they have only pushed it further away; all that pushing is exhausting and is it healthy to be continually separating ourselves from toxicity and never exploring what is really going on? The fabulous relief you will feel when you don’t have to waste energy on being upset or angry about ‘toxic’ things will be immense. Simply open up to the possibility that you don’t need to let anyone or anything affect you, unless you allow it to; allow the possibility that life can simply flow over you, like water off a duck’s back. We tend not to face that we’re holding onto a thought and that we can let it go anytime we like, because of our fear of change; better the devil we know. It seems an enormous pity to prolong our suffering when we can let it go, simply by understanding that however real our thought stories seem, they are only ever stories and do not need to be attached to or acted upon in any way. Every single feeling we ever have, emotional or physical, is caused by a thought and just having that knowledge, frees us completely. Not having to hang onto those thoughts is such a comfort.

What is going on?

All that is happening when we feel unpleasant in any way, is that we have bought into one of the thousands of thoughts we have each day. It’s understandable that we believe our thoughts; we have always believed they were real, but just because they appear to be true and everyone has told us they are to be trusted, doesn’t make them true.

Wipe your feet on the way out

When we keep grounded and calm, rather than getting upset by things going on around us, we find that we have all the resources within us to know exactly what to do in any circumstance. You may well find that walking away is the correct thing to do, but you are likely to see that you actually have several options….and all of those will feel preferable to believing that things and people around you are ‘toxic’ and spending so much time being resentful of them.

Next week I’m going to talk about how true truth is. Until then, have a wonderful week and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Love, Catherine x

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