We often talk about ridding our lives of toxic people and guarding ourselves against loved ones who exude toxic behavior. However, it’s also important to take a step back and recognize our own problematic habits and the role we play when it comes to conflict in our relationships. Below are a few ways to get started.
HEAR PEOPLE OUT WHEN THEY SAY YOU’VE HURT THEM
The easiest way to learn more about the way that your behavior impacts others is to listen to them when they attempt to express how you make them feel. Often, when people tell us that we’ve hurt or offended them, we are quick to go into defense mode. Instead, try to have an open mind and listen to understand as opposed to listening to respond.
TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR NATURAL REACTION TO OTHER PEOPLE’S PAIN
Individuals with toxic characteristics are known to minimize and gloss over the pain of others. Although you may not feel that you’re a person who tries to shut down others when they express pain, pay attention to what your knee-jerk reaction is.
CONSIDER HOW YOU EXPRESS HURT OR ANGER
How do you react when someone has upset you? Do you fly into a rage? Do you handle the situation by being passive-aggressive and making snark comments? Do you dismiss people for a while without explanation? Instead of relying on these tactics to punish those who have hurt you, work towards having calm and direct conversations in which you address how a loved one has hurt you.
MONITOR YOUR TENDENCY TO BE CRITICAL OF OTHERS
Are you quick to pass harsh judgment on others? When you come in contact with loved ones, are the first words that leave your mouth critical? Do you tend to pick at people you care about under the guise of tough love? Stop it. Immediately! Ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to say helpful? How will this make my loved one feel? What would be the harm in keeping this comment to myself?”
REFLECT ON HOW YOU’RE DEALING WITH PERSONAL TRAUMA
If you’ve had a deeply distressing emotional or physical experience during childhood or adulthood for which you have not sought professional, consider doing so. Oftentimes we are under the impression that we have dealt with and healed from incidences from the past when we have not. There is no shame in sitting down with a qualified professional to talk through your past and begin the journey towards becoming a better person.
Self-work isn’t easy, and pinpointing your faults requires an immense level of honesty and self-awareness, but if you’re committed to having better relationships with those around you then it’s worth the painful effort