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Cut Out Your Own Toxic Behaviors in 2018

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

It’s become a common mantra to cut out the toxic relationships in your life. Nearly everyone agrees that carrying the extra baggage of judgment, manipulation, condescension, and everything in between is a burden not worth bearing, because yes, sis, you DO deserve better. What happens, though, when it’s your own behavior causing others to turn away?

Yes, it’s vital to prune your garden of relationships; on the flip side, it’s equally crucial to examine oneself for stray weeds and thorns. It’s easy to point out all the ways another person lacks, but at the end of the day, the only path to growth is introspection. Introspection is a concept that may be unfamiliar to some, or perhaps just never had a name for the action before. Simply put, it is self-reflection, but in the case of this article, it is the act of looking deep within to find what weaknesses a soul may hold. There are many benefits to introspection, but the primary one is an overall improvement of one’s quality of life.

How to begin introspection? The best way is to ask the tough questions.

Have I been harping on my family too much as of late? Do I expect others to drop everything for me when I don’t perform any tasks in return? Am I critical of superficial aspects of other people, like the color of a girl’s hair or what that guy wore to class? Am I too critical of myself? If you feel a little uncomfortable and unsettled, that’s okay – everyone feels uneasy when confronted with their own faults. This does not mean your mistakes define you. All it signals is that it’s time to make a change from within. The following tips can help you cut toxic people out of your life in 2018 and cut toxic behaviors out of your life 2018!

Here is a list of potential traits that could be interrupting your good vibes:

1. You’re not comforting.

And you may not even realize it. I have a personal example of this. I used to be the kind of person who was, simply put, no good at providing comfort to a friend or family member when they’d vent to me. Instead, I’d list solution after solution followed by, “Well this worked for me…” Although I had the best of intentions, I came off preachy and not helpful in the slightest.

How to fix it: First, I had to realize that my loved one could handle their conflict-resolution by themselves, unless they asked me directly for advice. I don’t need to provide a WikiHow on fixing their problems. Next, I listened to what my friend needed. Sometimes that was just a hug and reassurance. Sometimes we’d swaddle ourselves in fuzzy blankets and watch Harry Potter until we fell asleep. Sometimes it was just that – listening. Finally, I looked inward to handle my own emotions. Do I let myself feel without restrictions, or do I immediately jump to solutions before I let myself fully recover from an issue? Whatever the answer, action should be taken accordingly to grow towards comfort.

2. You assume far too much.

And you know what they say about assuming… You’ve done it, I’ve done it, we’ve all done it. The second an enigmatic text is received, oh honey. You gather all the screenshots, send them to your friends, and attempt to decipher what exactly this person meant. “She didn’t use as many exclamation points this time!” you insist. “She must be mad at me.” Your friends send a frowny face emoji sympathetically. And so the debacle begins. Conclusions are jumped to at speeds Olympians only wish to achieve. Tears are had. People are ghosted. It’s a tried and true mess. But for what? The next time you see her, everything is… actually fine and your assumptions are all baloney.

How to fix it: Replace assumptions with questions. Don’t automatically assume someone hates you because their text was a little off. Instead, ask them how their day was. Maybe their text was off because a customer at work was difficult to deal with. Or maybe the best moment of their life just happened and they’re busy with that so they didn’t think too hard about the text they sent you. Whatever it was, it’s necessary to let go of assumptions. Ask the person what’s up and ask yourself questions, too. Why am I overreacting? Do I have insecurities about my relationship with this person I have not yet confronted? Get to the root of your assumptions.

3. You’re not empathetic/you’re self-centered.

And guess what the world revolves around. Here’s a hint: it’s not you. We all know someone who makes everything about themselves. These are the people who might start ignoring you because they took something you posted on social media to be about them Basically, these people don’t take the time to understand how you’re feeling because they’re too busy thinking of themselves.

How to fix it: If you find yourself thinking that someone’s social media activity has anything at all to do with you, just know: it probably doesn’t. Also, look to maybe why you think the post is directed at you. Have you recently snubbed this person? Is there a conflict you haven’t brought up with them? If so, then just talk to them. I cannot stress enough that most of your social anxieties can be soothed with a getting coffee with a loved one and chatting it up. If you have done something wrong, just apologize and grow from there.

4. You’re petty.

And if you send one more, “K” I will flip my lid. If you don’t know what ‘petty’ means, just watch The Bachelor. Really though, the contestants will take the way someone looked at them and amplify it into a fight. Even when issues are clear, these people will hold grudges to their grave. LET IT GO, KAREN.

How to fix it: Don’t finish that subtweet, delete the draft, and take a deep breath. Think about it this way: is the similarity between your selfie and one posted by a girl you cannot stand actually worth the energy of posting on social media? Is it? The answer is a resounding ‘no.’ Analyze why you’re petty! Are you insecure? Do you feel the need to be right all the time? Figure out why something is getting your goat, and move forward.

5. You’re non-confrontational.

And no, you’re not “being nice” because of it. Susan has really riling you up as of late. If it was a one-time thing, it’d be no big deal, but every week, she cancels last minute on your plans. These are plans you showered for. You’re frustrated and rightfully so! Like a reasonable human being, you decide that you’re going to take the situation and ignore it forever until your anger overflows and you blow up at Susan in the middle of a Starbucks… Well. Maybe that wasn’t so reasonable after all?

How to fix it: Communication and clarity are key. If Susan keeps bailing, text or call her and honestly say how you feel. She will probably open up about why she’s been acting flaky.I firmly believe that even if you don’t hear what you want, confrontation helps more than it hurts. It’s difficult but it’s important in keeping relationships moving like a well-oiled machine.

These are just a handful of traits you might have! This way, you can avoid being a toxic person someone else cuts out of their life, improve your wellbeing, and live your best life. New year, same you — but with emotional and spiritual growth, amirite?


Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor