Welcome aboard another journey to a Steady MIND!
Like I said before, this blog series not only caters to Generation Z. As a 23-year-old, I fall into that demographic and speak from the perspective of the culture I am surrounded in. Here we go.
Ahhhh! Toxicity. A word that has become so common in today's language and is seen so much in today's relationships. I believe it is safe to say that most of us have experienced toxic relationships and toxic people. In fact, many of us have been toxic to others and ourselves.
Let me start by saying this: toxic behavior is derived from perspective. Hurt people, hurt people. All you have is all you can possibly give. If you allow yourself to be consumed with hatred, hurt, perverse thoughts, and negativity, chances are that is what you will also present to others.
This message is not just for those in the dating scene. Friends can be toxic too; and so can family (and workspaces - but that's for another time). Many of us have been contaminated by the thorns of toxic people without even noticing.
Here are five telltale signs any relationship has become toxic:
1. Loss of Identity.
No relationship should cause you to lose yourself. All relationships should gear towards personal growth. Not being able to have a clear moral compass, acting in a manner that doesn't fit your character, and not being able to mentally process as you usually do are all signs of a loss of identity.
Any relationship that makes you feel that you are not being who you truly are or who you are trying to become is a sign of toxicity. All relationships should push you in some positive direction.
If you are wondering if this applies to a specific relationship in your life right now, ask yourself, who am I when I am around this person? If it's someone you don't want to be, then you are surrounded by someone you shouldn't want to be around.
No positive relationship ever wants you isolated from people that mean you well. If you find that the other party doesn't want you around others that positively affect you, run!
Granted, sometimes our family, friends and lovers see things in others that we can't. Every person that tries to pull you away from certain individuals isn't toxic; some are just looking out for you. But even that must be done in a way that doesn't seem controlling.
While relationships do not require publicity to survive, all relationships should be surrounded by some kind of community that can make sure you are bearing good fruit. Accountability helps our intentions to stay pure.
There is not much that I can say about this that you haven't already heard. Whether physical, mental, or emotional, no abuse should be tolerated. Let it be known that abuse isn't subjected to a particular gender, party, or grouping.
Abuse also shows the need for community. Sometimes we need others to give us insight when we are blinded. Find someone credible and be open to their advice. If you see someone being abused by a friend, family member or partner, speak up! Abuse should never be taken lightly.
4. Lack of appreciation
The lack of appreciation and affirmation can produce insecurities. In any relationship, we should never leave the other party wondering if their presence is appreciated. Though it may be challenging, we should make an effort to communicate our appreciation in some form.
If you are in a space where you feel as though you aren't being appreciated, assess the relationship and take the step of either moving on with conversation or moving on with distance.
Relationships should be an asset to our lives. Assets advance us. If you feel as though you are connected to a relationship or friendship that doesn't help you advance why stick around?
Just because some relationships progress slower than others doesn't mean that they aren't progressing. We must always watch for the signs. However, if you feel like you are in sinking sand or you are going around in circles don't play blind when God sends warnings the size of billboards.
Assessment is key.
We must genuinely take the time to assess who we are connected to. Whether family, friends, or lovers, no relationship is worth the mental peace. I pray that today you pick up the boldness to cut any relational ties that keep you in toxic spaces. May you move forward in strength and peace.