I’d been mulling over the idea of a detox for a while. I believed it could benefit me. Last week when I found myself in the middle of something I’d always stayed away from, I knew it was time. I decided to tackle the problem head-on. It was time to walk away from the toxic people in my life.

I’ve known this person- let’s call him Argus Filch – for quite some time. He is a good person. But he has this insufferable need to take a dig at everyone (And he is nowhere near perfect!). You would begin to admire how he could use any situation to put others down! He started doing that to me. At first, I thought I read too much into casual conversations and offhand remarks. His comments were accompanied by a laugh. I wouldn’t know if he was serious or if he used a smile to camouflage his intent. He seemed like a good person. So I let it go.

A few weeks later, I realized his acerbic comments bothered me no end. He did not succeed in making me feel bad about myself but it was obvious he wouldn’t pass a chance to undermine me. I started getting annoyed. I’d fret over what he would say and imagine all the horrible ways the conversations could go. I would occasionally give him back whenever he crossed a line. Then I’d feel guilty about taking things personally. I wouldn’t respond every time as I did not want to stoop down to his level. I also noticed that he reserved this treatment only for a few people. I knew I had to put a stop to this. I had tolerated enough. I decided to stop talking with him.

I’m sure all of us have been in such situations in our lives. We come across people who sap our positive energy and drain us with their negativity. The kind of people who would take pleasure in putting others down to cover up for their insecurities. The kind of people who are just jealous of others and wouldn’t miss an opportunity to make themselves feel superior (losers!). Friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances – they’re everywhere. If you find yourself around people who criticize everything and everyone and can’t utter one good word- you need to rethink. Do you need that kind of a company? Most of us want to be polite and not hurt the other person’s feelings. This tends to work against us. If you think you’re being nice by not conveying your thoughts and hope that the other person would ‘get the message’- Forget it. People read what they want to and will ignore anything that isn’t convenient for them.

I’m not going to analyze why people are toxic. But one thing is certain; we need to stay away from toxic people. The sooner, the better. I took this as an opportunity to cut down toxic people from my life and in social media. And you know what, it was so liberating! This meant I couldn’t stay in touch with some people I’d known for a long time. Their friendship came with a price and I was not willing to trade my peace of mind for it. I’d had enough of the constant negativity and decided to clean my slate. I’d rather be alone with my positive thoughts than be a passive listener to all those negative talks.

If you are aware of the benefits of reveling in positivity, you would also know the detrimental consequences of negativity. You begin to question yourself and put yourself down. It would hurt your sense of self and your confidence takes a hit. Your mood is affected and it naturally impacts other aspects of your life. Never underestimate the power of a single thought. Before you realize, it will plague your mind beyond control.

If you’re looking for a reason why people turn out to be toxic, do yourself a favor and stop right there. People are people and they do what they want. That’s not your problem. But you know what becomes your problem? When you give people the power to influence you. It is up to you to either let their words/actions upset you or remain a step away from the mess. It’s up to you to decide if you should allow others to affect you. You always have a choice.

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