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To All The Toxic People Who Have Ever Been in My Life

It’s no secret that we have all had toxic people in our lives. They come in various roles, contain different importance and enter during many time periods. These people burden us and ultimately limit our potential as individuals. Their influence makes it hard for us to navigate life, but eventually, we come out on the other side. These people do contain significance in our lives whether we like to admit it or not. So, to all the toxic people in my life who have come and gone in various aspects, this message is for you. First off, I want to thank you. I don’t want to say thanks in the traditional way that toxic people usually receive appreciation from the people they impacted. I’m not going to thank you for showing me who I shouldn’t become and how I shouldn’t live my life. I already knew how to do that without you. You were only an obstacle in this goal, not a defining moment. With that said there are three other things I need to thank you for.

To Cherish the Loving People in my Life

You have allowed me to cherish the positive people in my life who make me strive to be a better person. I can now understand on a new level how important they are to my well being and mental health. Because you taught me what it was like to have someone limit me and tear me down, I will not take the relationships I have with others that endlessly support and love me for granted anymore. You have given me a newfound appreciation for some of the best people in my life and to cherish every moment with them. I love them a little harder because I see how they are genuine people who love me as much as I love them. This is rare, I know now, and is something I am thankful for to a new degree because you showed me what it was like to not have this in a relationship. Now, because I know what a toxic relationship looks and feels like, I make sure to love and appreciate the friends that love and appreciate me. I always hug the people I have positive and loving relationships with a little harder because I know how special they truly are.

To Eliminate Toxic People Right Away
Celina Timmerman-Fun Poloroids
Celina Timmerman / Her Campus

I will admit that some of you I kept in my life for way too long. I have come to trust you and wrongly believe that you have my best intentions at heart. I now realize that this was a mistake and now I’m trying to never make that mistake again. You have taught me that when I bring people into my life, I need to be cautious. Through this process, I can find genuine people who care for me as much as I care for them. But more importantly, you have given me a comparison to others in my life. Based on you, I can identify toxic people before they hurt me the way that you did. I can end these toxic relationships earlier knowing that they are holding me back. Through this, I can feel no guilt when ending these relationships and classify them as toxic earlier. Here, I only let people who will strengthen me into my life long-term.

To Realize My Full Potential

This one I want to thank you for the most, and, consequently, I hope it hurts you the most to realize it yourself. When you were in my life, I thought I needed you, but now I know that this statement is so far from the truth. When I cut you out of my life, it hurt. After this feeling passed, I was able to see how much better I was without you. Everything I had changed because of you. Not only was I able to fully be me once again, but I was able to see the worth in myself. When I was just being me in all aspects of my identity, I saw how much I had altered myself for our relationship. I saw how wrong this was as if you didn’t like me for who I was, you shouldn’t have gotten any part of me in the first place. Who I was would never be something to hide, change or be ashamed of. Me just being me has worth. I not only saw this, but I discovered when I was able to be who I was openly with my bubbly personality and unique quirks, I was able to accomplish more than I was before. Being who I was allowed me to reach my full potential and soar to new heights. It made me promise to myself to never stop being who I was again.

Kate O’Leary

Wisconsin '23

Kate is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Madison majoring in Biology and Sociology. She is the proud co-president of Her Campus Wisconsin. Kate enjoys running, spending time with friends, cheering on the Badgers and making the absolute best crepes ever!
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