1. Remove toxic people from your perimeter.
In other words, choose your friends wisely. I believe that there is good in everyone but some people are just bad for you. Two strikes and you are out. In point of fact, people don’t change. And as painful as it can be, sometimes you just have to defriend your friends.
If you have no choice and have to deal with a toxic person on a daily basis (at work/school/your relative or an in-law), choose the higher path. Taking away political undertone, I really like what Michelle Obama said in one of her speeches: “When they go low, we go high.” Be a bigger person without forgetting who you are dealing with- a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
2. Take a breather.
Did someone say something mean to you?
Do you want to scream before kicking their derrière?
Breath in and out.
There is no need to rush your answer. In fact, there is no need to reply at a-l-l. Try to imagine them in their underwear and walk away.
3. Be aware.
Have you realized that while you have to deal with this person for a limited amount of time, they have to deal with themselves 24/7? Are you feeling more compassionate now?
4. Face them.
This one is hard. I am not going to lie here. There are several culprits on my list that I have not faced yet because once I do, there is no way back.
See, I am your typical fight or flight person. It is like having two personalities that can’t reach mutual agreement. It starts with avoiding the issue (which works for a limited amount of time) until the climax (I lash out at the least appropriate moment).
I keep looking for a method to find the middle way, to ground myself at times when fight seems like the only option. In fact, grounding by being in the moment and conscious breathing proved to be the most effective.
5. See them as your saviors.
If you can do this, you kill two birds with one stone. Sorry for the expression. Not only will you forgive them for being toxic, you will be able to see them as actors of change.
People enter into our lives for different reasons. Toxic people give us opportunity to grow because sometimes, all we can do, is play the hand we’re dealt. We surrender. If we can see such situations as opportunities for growth, we will be able to “love” our enemies and be grateful to them for making us better persons.