Avoiding toxic behaviors, either from other people or yourself, is an important skill to learn. Starting over from toxic behavior is a part of growing up, and it shows that you’re ready to move forward into a more positive life. Sociologists have come up with the best ways to avoid toxic behavior in your life. Even if you have been toxic in the past, or let someone else get away with toxic behaviors, you can always turn your life around and start new.
Here Are 5 Positive Ways To Avoid Toxic Behaviors
1. Set goals
Starting over from toxicity can be difficult if you don’t know where to begin in the first place. The first thing you’re going to want to do is to set goals for yourself. Setting goals for your own behavior, as well as expectations for the behavior of other people in your life, is a way to avoid toxicity.
Make a plan of action. This could mean cutting off toxic people in your life, or apologizing to people that you have been toxic to. Whatever you need to do, visualize it and set a goal for yourself. Not everything has to happen right away, but even just acknowledging that something needs to be done is the best first step.
2. Accept the past
Moving on can only happen when you accept that the past is already in the past. Even if things in the past hurt you, they can’t hurt you any longer. Moving forward requires that we no longer allow ourselves to continue living in the past. Accepting the past also means accepting that you may have had toxic behaviors before, too. Maybe you were toxic to someone in your life, but now know that is no longer how you want to live and behave.
“The moment you begin to accept the past is the moment you begin your healing journey. This is the start of letting go, moving on, and living more for the present. Give yourself time. Remember that this is a process, not a race or a competition,” says artist Elysia Bullen on Tiny Buddha.
Accepting that the past is in the past will make it easier for you to move forward and forge new and healthy relationships.
3. Commit to change
Accepting that you want to move on from toxic behavior requires a commitment to this kind of change. You may find that you allow toxic people back into your life because they are familiar.
“One very effective way to get toxic people out of your life is to simply stop spending so much time around them. By creating distance from the other person, we are sending the unspoken message that their behaviors are not something that we want to be around,” says self-love coach and teacher Jennifer Twardowski.
You may also find yourself falling back on toxic behaviors because it has become a habit. However, the only way to move on from toxicity and move forward into a new life is to be committed to this kind of change.
“If we wish to be respected by others, then we have to be willing to be completely honest with ourselves by recognizing our own toxic behaviors and to actively change those behaviors,” adds Twardowski. You can do it, you just need to keep yourself held accountable and keep moving forward from toxicity.
4. Focus on the positive
When you’re trying to avoid toxic behaviors, it’s important to focus on the positive behaviors that you have. Make a mental note of all of the positive interactions you have with other people, and make that the focal point of your interactions. Even when you have to have an unpleasant conversation, find a way to focus on the positive aspects.
Keeping positive behavior in the forefront of your mind will help you avoid toxic behavior in yourself, as well as recognize it in others. Make a list of the positive interactions you have with other people each day so that you can continue making that the focus of your behavior.
5. Don’t normalize toxic behavior
When something happens a lot, either to you or to the people around you, it can be pretty easy to explain away that behavior. However, it’s important to step back and see toxic behavior for what it is. Allowing yourself to normalized this behavior is only going to perpetuate it more.
“You can establish a boundary, but you’ll have to do so consciously and proactively. If you let things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos,” says author and cofounder of TalentSmart, Dr. Travis Bradberry.
So, don’t allow people to behave towards you in a toxic manner, and don’t allow yourself to perpetuate toxic behavior, either. This is the final step in making sure that you avoid toxic behaviors. Moving on from toxicity is possible, and it starts with making sure that other people cannot perpetuate toxic behaviors.
Sociologists have been working for a long time to help make sure that toxic behaviors are unlearned in many different kinds of people. It requires all of us to stand up and hold ourselves and other people accountable for their behavior. There’s always hope and always a way to move forward and leave toxic behavior behind. All you have to do is recognize the behavior, either in yourself or in other people, and work on making sure the behavior doesn’t go unrecognized. Bringing positivity into the world and moving on from toxic behavior is possible for everyone.