5 ways to remove toxicity from your world

5 ways to remove toxicity from your world | via The Spirited Violet
Spending time with yourself to reflect isn't a punishment' it is a privilege. | via The Spirited Violet

I was looking at tank tops this weekend in the store when a woman said they were slutty to her husband about two feet away from me.  She then said: “I don’t know why anyone would wear them.” I looked her in the eye and told her that I wear them to be modest, so I can lean over students, and so I can bend over to pick up things without showing skin. She looked very uncomfortable/sheepish and walked away with her husband.  However, even if it wasn’t for modesty purposes, we live in Georgia- not Antarctica. There are days in the summer here that I question how people wear any clothing outside, period.  After this experience though, I’ve had a lot of prevailing feelings about society and what I see around me.

I often wonder: can’t we use kinder words with each other?  I see such patronizing, polarizing, and generalizing language used all around me and everywhere I turn.  My thoughts aren’t about political correctness, rather, they are about the lack of kindness I see.  I may or may not agree or disagree with people, but I care more about how people go about things and treat each other anyway.

We’re better than this.

I’ve found myself repeating this over and over since before November even came around.  Facebook, other social medias, and the news have become a toxic cesspool for people to voice their dissatisfaction for life.  People just aren’t happy and I feel like the world could use a little more happiness and less toxicity.  Below are things that I have done to feel happier and have less toxic influences in my life and I definitely recommend them.

1 | SPEND TIME BY YOURSELF

Some people may not be the reflective type, but I think everyone can benefit from this exercise.  Take some some time and disconnect to figure out what it is that is actually bothering you.  Things that are toxic in your life could very easily be internally or externally generated.  When your life feels like it is full of chaos, it is often really difficult to pinpoint where it is coming from.  When I spend time by myself, I often just start writing to see what comes out.  I am often surprised at what I realize is bothering me.  For others, maybe you need to talk out loud.  Where is your brain going when it has the space to be free?

2 | TAKE OFFENDING SOCIAL MEDIA OFF YOUR PHONE

While this may seem simple, it took me a while to figure out that I needed to remove Facebook from my phone.  Out of habit, I still find myself looking at it, but not having the notifications has given me a much more distraction free day.  When I have found that someone’s post continuously is negative, political, or just unkind (regardless of whether I agree with the root opinion or not), I unfollow them.  I have unfollowed hundreds of people on my Facebook feed and I’m not going back.

There are days when I happily take Twitter or Instagram off of my phone.  If needs be, just unfriend people.  Your happiness is worth it.  Social media friendship is a privilege and not a right.

if your toxicity isn’t external, but rather is how you compare yourself to others from social media, then it is okay to just disconnect from it!  There have been times when I have had to unfollow people on Instagram when life just felt very difficult and when I could handle it, I readded them; that’s okay.  However, allowing yourself to do nothing to help solve the problem is not.  When we were in Europe, we had extremely limited internet connection or none and I found it to be one of the biggest times in my life that I was generating ideas.

3 | WRITE A GRATITUDE JOURNAL

I used to write a daily gratitude journal and post them monthly.  I stopped posting them because they were more for me than my reader, but there were some months they really helped me kind of survive.  You know those months when you feel like you literally can’t crawl out of bed because things seem so bad?  Those are the times a gratitude journal really can help give you perspective.  While it won’t erase the things that are not going well in your life, I do believe that having gratitude will at least help you realize that amidst the chaos that is life- there is so much good too.  Some days it was a struggle to come up with one and other days it was easy to write out 20 things that made me happy.

4 | MAKE A BOX OF HAPPY MEMORIES

I mentioned once that greeting cards and the messages people write them are probably my love language- I wasn’t kidding.  Although I am not one to keep a lot of extra things that have no decorative value in my home, I normally keep a small box of cards people have sent me.  My favorite thing to do when I have a bad day is to find the notes people wrote me in college and what they said about me.  I always feel so incredibly special when I read these.

For you, your box might be full of photos of family.  Mine has some of those.

Maybe a box isn’t your thing because it is just extra stuff.  Well, I have another solution for you: in my first year of teaching, I kept a private blog online where I wrote down the praise or compliments I received from students and parents.  On days when things were tough with teaching, I found myself perusing through those messages and they helped buoy me up.  Maybe this would be a resource you would like.

5 | DECIDE IF YOU CAN DO SOMETHING

In the situation I shared above, I could do something: I stated how I felt to the woman.  I chose to do so because I was calm, I was in person so my message wouldn’t be misconstrued, and because I felt my opinion was worth the possible negative implications that it could cause.

These are some questions to ask yourself if you realize a situation is toxic in your life and you want to do something about it:

  1. Can you remove yourself from the situation or do you have to stay with it?
  2. Are you making this decision while you are calm or are you emotionally reactive?
  3. Do the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term consequences of doing something about it?

If you can’t do something about the situation, then now is your time to really dig deep and decide how you will further handle the toxicity in your life.

  • Is there a hobby you haven’t pursued in a long time?
  •  Is there a movie that makes you unabashedly laugh?  
  • Are there little things that make your world feel brighter that you have been neglecting?

………………………………….

While our situations often aren’t as simplistic as the one I experienced at the store, I’ve had many situations in my life where I have had to evaluate.  From that, I had to decide if I was contributing to and or allowing toxicity into my life when I could otherwise help it.  I’ve found that even though the solutions aren’t always easy that the result is definitely worth it.

What are things you do to remove yourself from toxic situations?  How do you create more happiness in your life?

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    I love this post. People have gotten so crazy lately (I’m assuming something to do with ‘the last days’?), I’ve also just had to tell myself that I can’t be around certain people or else I start to feel my eyes twitch after a while.

    • I don’t know if it makes me optimistic or pessimistic, but I feel like it can get worse. And yes, learning that you just can’t be around some people sometimes is so huge and so hard to implement sometimes!

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    I love this post. People have gotten so crazy lately (I’m assuming something to do with ‘the last days’?), I’ve also just had to tell myself that I can’t be around certain people or else I start to feel my eyes twitch after a while.

    • I don’t know if it makes me optimistic or pessimistic, but I feel like it can get worse. And yes, learning that you just can’t be around some people sometimes is so huge and so hard to implement sometimes!

  • Making a box of memories and keeping a gratitude journal are things I could definitely incorporate into my life. I think it would instantly make me feel better and could turn a crappy day around!

    • I totally love opening my box! It really brightens my day when I feel like I’m not generating a lot of positivity on my own.

  • Making a box of memories and keeping a gratitude journal are things I could definitely incorporate into my life. I think it would instantly make me feel better and could turn a crappy day around!

    • I totally love opening my box! It really brightens my day when I feel like I’m not generating a lot of positivity on my own.

  • I have been staying off social media. It’s so negative and I am exhausted from all the debates. great tips!

    • Yes, yes, and yes. I think we should know all of the sides on stuff, but I am too exhausted here lately to feel like it is worth it.

  • I have been staying off social media. It’s so negative and I am exhausted from all the debates. great tips!

    • Yes, yes, and yes. I think we should know all of the sides on stuff, but I am too exhausted here lately to feel like it is worth it.

  • I definitely unfollow people when they are too negative and baiting. I love politics–I even blog about politics! I’m willing to dive into conversations with people genuinely interested in other points-of-view.

    But I had to leave a conversation on Facebook this week because it was full of rape apology. As a survivor of sexual assault and a staunch supporter of rape survivors, I couldn’t handle seeing so many people dismiss sexual violence. I said my piece, I cited my sources, and then I blocked the worst offender, turned off notifications from the thread, and unfollowed the person who posted initially.

    • I like discussing stuff with people too, but I don’t feel like people typically do that on facebook anymore. I feel like there has been a removed level of civility due to not being face to face. I can understand why you unfollowed/blocked.

  • I definitely unfollow people when they are too negative and baiting. I love politics–I even blog about politics! I’m willing to dive into conversations with people genuinely interested in other points-of-view.

    But I had to leave a conversation on Facebook this week because it was full of rape apology. As a survivor of sexual assault and a staunch supporter of rape survivors, I couldn’t handle seeing so many people dismiss sexual violence. I said my piece, I cited my sources, and then I blocked the worst offender, turned off notifications from the thread, and unfollowed the person who posted initially.

    • I like discussing stuff with people too, but I don’t feel like people typically do that on facebook anymore. I feel like there has been a removed level of civility due to not being face to face. I can understand why you unfollowed/blocked.

  • I really need to stop reading the news, especially about Trump….it’s so negative and it gets my blood boiling….but the only reason I keep doing it is to stay informed…so, if I know the news source is reliable, I’ll read it, but if it’s a random site or obviously biased, then I’ll just sigh and scroll past it.

    • I watched news about a hour before replying to comments and found myself crying about the refugee/immigration stuff. As an ESL teacher, I obviously have opinions on this. It was a good time to remember my own advice.

  • I really need to stop reading the news, especially about Trump….it’s so negative and it gets my blood boiling….but the only reason I keep doing it is to stay informed…so, if I know the news source is reliable, I’ll read it, but if it’s a random site or obviously biased, then I’ll just sigh and scroll past it.

    • I watched news about a hour before replying to comments and found myself crying about the refugee/immigration stuff. As an ESL teacher, I obviously have opinions on this. It was a good time to remember my own advice.

  • I love this! I’m consistently unfollowing or hiding things on social media – especially facebook because it just bogs me down!

    • I feel like I spend more time on social media unfollowing people than actually engaging. I still don’t have FB on my phone and it has been since October/November.

  • I love this! I’m consistently unfollowing or hiding things on social media – especially facebook because it just bogs me down!

    • I feel like I spend more time on social media unfollowing people than actually engaging. I still don’t have FB on my phone and it has been since October/November.

  • Lisa

    Great advice. I took the Facebook app off of my phone months ago. I’m trying to get in the habit of only getting on it for work and checking a few close friends and family members that don’t live near me.

    • I recently redownloaded it and took the notifications off so I would not be notified. I ended up taking it off again and I just don’t crave it as much as I used to.

  • Lisa

    Great advice. I took the Facebook app off of my phone months ago. I’m trying to get in the habit of only getting on it for work and checking a few close friends and family members that don’t live near me.

    • I recently redownloaded it and took the notifications off so I would not be notified. I ended up taking it off again and I just don’t crave it as much as I used to.