Disclaimer: This is in no way professional advice and just a few tips from my own experience. Consulting a licensed psychologist for more in-depth assistance on all mental health-related matters is advised.
What better way to leave a vile and noxious year like the Voldemort of all years behind than by purging our beings of toxicity with this green tea equivalent of an article. After leading such a colorless and sterile existence one tends to let the dreary monotony and vapid dissolution permeating the air (along with a pesky virus we are all familiar with) seep into us no matter how hard we try to maintain a palliative manner of living life. Toxicity in its essence can be defined as the quality of being poisonous, a rather blunt way of describing someone’s behavior one might even say. Yet, going to the extent of associating traits with something detrimental to life may be harsh, but unfortunately not much of an exaggeration. This although spoken about by all Instagram influencers worth their buck and looking to decorate their CVs through aesthetic posts about mental health, and a rather popular trend is rarely dealt with in-depth, especially outside serious seminars and closed therapy sessions. In addition to that, more often than not, the focus is usually on toxic relationships, people, and environments and rarely on one’s self.
This is probably because being called toxic is something quite hard for most to stomach. We are for obvious reasons, always the hero in our brain’s autobiographical feature film playing out every single day; a hero that in general, does nothing wrong. Now naturally, if you come under the category of enjoying maths, pineapple on pizza, attempting to disband and bomb an entire college society, or sadistically killing millions of people, this article is not for you and seeking professional help, or a jury is a better option. The rest of you commoners though are more than welcome to apply the following tips to lead a healthier and hopefully happier life.
I have learned that one of the biggest mistakes people tend to make is to gaslight themselves. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where one is made to question their thoughts, emotions, reality, and even sanity by continuously being forced to believe that the reality of a situation is far removed from the way that person may be viewing it. Self gaslighting is when an individual makes themselves believe that their interpretation of an event is false and hence their reactions and feelings too are invalid. An example of this is when we make ourselves think that our response to something is too emotional or sensitive when in actuality, the circumstances do warrant such a reaction, and those feelings are valid. Even believing that it is always our fault in a relationship or that thinking that one will never be enough are ways of self gaslighting. This repression of true emotions or enforcing a negative belief about our personality can be so damaging to our mental health. Allowing ourselves to organically process emotions, especially with the help of a trained professional (therapist) can go a long way in achieving a happy mental state.
Gossip and drama. I doubt there is anything that gets us humans going better than some good old dirt on other lesser fellows. Spilling the tea or getting the latest scoop on a feud between quarreling classmates is something most of us almost crave to liven up our otherwise mundane discussions and afternoon lunches. Obviously, no one is perfect and controversy is a great conversation starter but if that’s all you ever talk about, maybe it’s time for a little introspection. Gossip is almost always negative and extremely addictive. Constantly talking about others and picking on their every action causes a lot of bitterness and insensitivity to build up. Plus, there isn’t much nice about bad-mouthing anyway is there? This is also a pretty good way to lose friends because most gossips aren’t very reliable secret keepers either. So maybe instead of always stirring the pot for some trouble, look up soap operas on Netflix to satisfy that demon hungry for some sizzling scandals?
In a culture that prides itself in detachment and cynicism, we generally let this romanticization of negativity and unhappiness sink too deep into our ways of looking and interacting with the world. Tumblr in particular along with a new teenage culture has spearheaded this movement of taking gratification in mental illnesses and promoting unhealthy coping mechanisms to the impressionable. Taking time to truly introspect and realizing that being sad, having a mental illness or being edgy to the point of complete detachment from reality is not at all that cool. Having an entire personality built around a dark Tumblr mood board is far from healthy. Sure, we all do have a darker side and there isn’t anything wrong with embracing that. Going overboard though is. At the end of the day, finding a balance is imperative.
In my short existence of merely twenty years, I have come to the rather profound conclusion that the quest for happiness is probably what living is all about. Trying to purge toxicity I believe, is the first step towards that. So, therefore, I hope that this article helps you in your journey towards the same!