Toxic. What a word these days, right? You don’t go too far without hearing stories told of toxic individuals and there seem to be many reasons why. I think as a whole, we are slowly becoming more and more open to talking about hurt and mistreatment, whereas before it was more hushed. Talking about dysfunction used to equate to being disloyal to one’s friends or family, and in many ways, this is evolving.
If we were to take that at its core and be reflective, it might be difficult to observe how many dysfunctional patterns we may still hold onto, even subconsciously. Does that then also make us toxic? This begs the question:
I’ve realized that I was never toxic. Instead, I carried toxic patterns. Patterns like gossiping, ghosting, using drugs, promiscuity, lying, gas lighting, etc. to protect myself from myself. Patterns that ran my world. I never felt worthy, good enough, or safe. So this was my way of manufacturing my own inner safety. I hurt a lot of people along the way. I knew this, but didn’t think I had another option.
We throw around the term “toxic people” whenever we see these harmful behaviors arise. But, people aren’t toxic, their patterns are. Some may never break free from them. However, I believe we can heal when we notice and begin to change these patterns. We simply can’t just stop or remove the old. We must replace it with new. New tools to communicate, to feel, to deal. New tools to unleash and preserve our authentic selves each day. Tools that really establish safety in our minds, bodies, and souls. Tools that repair the damage and contribute to a recovering nervous system. It isn’t easy, but it’s always worth it.
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