Recently, I’ve been dealing with uncomfortable situations. Ones in which I’m surrounded by grey shadows of oppressors. It can be incredibly difficult to be around dark souls and hateful words and although I think that it’s always in one’s best interest to remove themselves from bad situations. Sometimes, this can be out of our control. There are times when we can all but simply, ‘grin and bear it’. Yet, we can find our own souls turning darker then; mirroring that of the ones around our own. Those morbid souls start leaching onto the light one. Tainting it. Trying to morph it, until, it is one of them.
What is a toxic person?
There’s an old myth that frogs will pull down other frogs trying to escape a pot of boiling water. That’s likely an old wives tale, however, the dynamic is real: In everyone’s life, there will always be someone who will try and bring you down and sabotage any happiness, until they’re satisfied with your distress and misery.
This someone can be defined best as a toxic person. Their effects can take the form of anger, resentment, frustration, manipulation or cruelty. Furthermore, this person can be anyone; a friend, a colleague or a family member. Having someone toxic in your life can be incredibly difficult. They can become so embedded, so comfortably placed with in your life that their toxicity seems almost normal. You don’t realize you’re being poisoned until your laying on the ground, gasping out for oxygen, desperately trying to breathe.
Toxic Vs The undesirable
It’s worth noting the difference between a toxic person and an undesirable one. If someone is trying to control and manipulate you then they are toxic. If they disregard your boundaries, lack the capability to be honest, are never in the wrong and and love to play victim then they are toxic. If, however, they are irritating, unpleasant or difficult then they are simply undesirable- not toxic.
Toxic people are best placed as the furthest distance possible. However, cutting toxic people out of your life can blow up in your face. That’s part of the disease. Furthermore, it can be an incredibly difficult battle. Despite this, it results in you becoming a much better and stronger person.
I remember a distinct moment when I truly understood how I had allowed toxicity to become a normal part of my life. It was during this very shoot taken as part of my Alice in Wonderland series. I was twirling around in this beautiful white baby doll dress, floating on a blissful cloud and trying to capture the essence of Tim Burton’s ‘White Queen’. We certainly had a few failures in attempts to achieve the character which is why these particular photos were not included in the official blog post.
Since achieving an amazing level of body confidence, we often shoot in public areas and we’ve done it so many times that it’s almost second-nature to block out any audience we may attract or people passing by. There was one, young, teenage, girl that managed to wiggle her way through our bubble, however.
After watching us shooting for a few moments, she’d turned to her mother and stated that I looked really beautiful.
There was this unfamiliar sense of admiration that had me reeling in shock but not at what happened next. Her mother’s reply was instant and simple; ‘ you’re beautiful too’.
It was in that very moment that I had come to yet another unfortunate conclusion… There was abuse in my life which I had deemed as incredibly normal.
The mother’s statement seemed so significant to me. She didn’t put someone else down to make her daughter feel better. She didn’t tell her daughter that she’d never be as pretty as the girl in the white dress and then continue to point out the teenagers flaws. She was honest and positive. More than likely, that comment would be shrugged off by any one else but to me it represented a strong person that didn’t oppress, abuse or exude any kind of toxicity onto others. It was how things were supposed to be. Kind, considerate, positive; normal.
What I’ve learnt through my own recent experiences is to understand and know your worth. To not give these people any power over you or feel like you deserve their negativity. You don’t owe them an explanation and no matter who they are, they don’t have a magical license to taint or warp your happiness and life. Furthermore, don’t ever feel guilty about this action of removal. If others are judging you for eliminating a toxic person then they most likely don’t understand. You don’t need to explain your decision to anyone and it’s really none of their business anyway.
Cutting toxic people out sends a key message to yourself. You’re saying: “I have value, I respect myself enough to walk away from anything that threatens my own joy.” You’re prioritizing your happiness over someone else’s dysfunction. Eliminating toxic people is not an act of cruelty but one of self care.