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The place you are at in your life is largely determined by the decisions you make, the way you treat others (and yourself) and the energy that you welcome into your life. Choosing to engage in toxic behaviors will create an environment in which this type of thinking is considered to be ‘normal’ or welcome, inviting similar energies from those that meet. There is good news – this IS a choice.

It’s not always easy to step back and genuinely reassess the decision that you are making, however, taking an honest, hard look at your life may empower you to turn the tides on negativity creating a happy, successful and joyous environment. The power is in your hands and your hands alone.


Eliminate these 32 toxic behaviors from your life for a happier, successful future:

#1 – Negative Self Talk

Stop for a second and seriously think about the way you talk to yourself. Would you use that language on a friend, co-worker or family member? No? Far too many of us allow permit toxic, hurtful, degrading and self-depreciating self talk, tearing ourselves down rather than taking the steps to build ourselves up and prepare ourselves for success. Turn that conversation around – you deserve far better!

#2 – Not Speaking Out

Don’t sit back in the role of bystander in your life. If you don’t agree with something that someone else is doing, or if you need something more from them then speak up. You ultimately run your own life, and you know what you want and need most. Don’t shy away from voicing your opinion, even if it may be difficult to say.

#3 – Arrogance

Always believe in yourself, a lesson that we are first taught as children and carry into our adult lives. There is, however, a point where you can believe too much in yourself, which leads to a lack of compassion and understanding of those around you. You don’t always have the best answer, so be open to hearing the opinions of others.

#4 – Holding on to Loss

It is through some of the most challenging and trying losses in our lives that we learn valuable lessons and grow into the person that we are meant to be. Loss is inevitable, whether it is the result of loss of life of someone we care about, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job – you have two choices. You can either learn through this experience, becoming a better and stronger person long term, or you can allow it to break you. Don’t hold onto this pain, feel it, acknowledge it and let it go, opening your heart for great things to come.

#5 – Seeking the Validation of Others

Handing someone else the key to your happiness can only end in failure. If you are constantly seeking validation and approval from everyone else around you, then you will never find true happiness. Instead, you will spend your life consistently on the search for the next validation, with no real end in sight. Focus instead on your own feelings of self-worth.

#6 – Insincerity

Far too many people are convinced that they can put on an act, hiding their true nature and protecting themselves from the world, unnoticed by those that they interact with. The truth is that this decision never goes unnoticed. In fact, people not only pick up on your lack of sincerity, but it then calls your integrity and trustworthiness into question. If you want to establish genuine connections with the world, start by acting with honesty and integrity, allowing the world to see who you really are.

#7 – Dwelling on the Past

There are many good things about our pasts – great memories, lessons we have learned and experiences we have enjoyed, for example. There are also many things that we may be not so proud of, or wish that we could forget. Once these things have happened, they are behind us and there is nothing that we can do to change them. Don’t waste your energy dwelling on the past. Instead, focus on what you can do better here and now.

#8 – Cruelty

While cruelty is sometimes a momentary lapse in judgement, lashing out in response to a trigger or upsetting, for others this is a chosen way of life. If you rely on this type of negativity and hateful outlook on life, you are sabotaging any chance of establishing a meaningful relationship as the people around you create distance and put up barriers in an effort to protect themselves from your cruelty. Your life will be far more positive and connected if you allow yourself to be positive and uplifting.

#9 – Being Overly Competitive

Competition is a building block to success, but only when you avoid allowing it to take over your life. If you become too competitive then you will begin to make everything a competition, which will, in turn, cause this need to compete to take over your life. Celebrate your strengths, but keep in mind your weaknesses, and the fact that there are people who excel in those areas as well. You aren’t the best at everything.

#10 – Comparing Yourself

An incredibly common behavior over the years, this has only been made more common with the increased use of social media, making it easier than ever for people to share all the best moments of their lives. The truth is that they are sharing just that, their best moments. Comparing your life to theirs is only going to leave your hurt and disappointed, so don’t do it.

#11 – Attention Seeking

If you have fallen into the trap of associating attention from others with genuine care and connection, then you may feel as though you are threatened by anything that may take this attention away from you. At this point, attention seekers will act out or go to great lengths in order to demand the attention of the people around them – adopting self destructive behaviors with the sole purpose of catching the attention of the people in their lives. Don’t allow the attention of others to determine your self-worth. Instead, focus on building your own self-confidence.

#12 – Worrying About the Future

There are steps that you can take to better prepare yourself for the future ahead, however, it is important to note that this time is not yet here. The future is always out of our reach, which can cause a great deal of anxiety, stress and worry for some. You can’t predict the future, so try not to stress yourself out trying. Keep your mind on things that you can do today to work towards where you ultimately want to be.

#13 – Jealousy

Jealousy refers to a situation in which you feel as though someone else is ‘encroaching on your territory,’ creating a potential threat to your overall happiness. You may be on a similar life path and they have discovered a new way of approaching it, or have taken steps before you did to reach a goal first. Rather than acknowledging that they are also worthy of happiness and success, you view it as an attack on your happiness and this can lead to taking steps to try to derail their plans or deny them the happiness that you have discovered. Don’t be that petty person. Learn to celebrate the success of others while continuing to work towards your own.

#14 – People Pleasing

There is nothing inherently wrong with putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own from time to time, however, if this becomes a regular thing where you are constantly on the back burner in your own life, then you need to reassess your priorities. In many cases, people pleasers are taken advantage of leaving them feeling hurt, disrespected and unloved.

#15 – Resisting New Experiences

Many people view anything new or different as frightening – an unknown element that they are not fully comfortable accepting and welcoming in their lives. This may mean the opportunity for a career change, a new relationship, or a change to your usual daily routine. It is only by stepping out of your comfort zone that you are going to be able to grow and evolve in this world, and resisting this idea will leave you trapped and restricted in life. Push your fear aside long enough to take that first step, you will thank yourself for it in the long run.


#16 – Passing Judgment on Others

Each of us in this world are unique, with our own set of skills, experiences, strengths, and beliefs. If you choose to entertain a sense of judgment over those around you, then you are overlooking the great differences that make each of you your own unique individual, instead pushing your own beliefs on another person. Remember, they may have strengths where you have weaknesses and visa versa, you wouldn’t want them judging your weaker moments.

#17 – Dependence on Technology

Once believed to be something from the future, the future is here, alive and well today. We are more dependant on technology and innovation than ever before with our Wi-Fi, smartphones, and streaming services. The downside is that this technology can be addictive, with activities like social media and gaming taking over many people’s lives. Leverage technology but be careful not to allow it to take over your life.

#18 – Lying

True honesty can be difficult, uncomfortable or even hurtful at times, and as such we are tempted to lie to the people that we love most, convinced that we are ‘sparing their feelings.’ Unfortunately, while the truth may hurt, the long-term effect of lying is far more hurtful both to yourself and to the person you are lying to when they find out the truth (and they will). Honesty is always the best policy. This is true both in relation to lying to others and lying to yourself.

#19 – Engaging in Drama

There is nothing good that can come from welcoming drama into your life. Largely perpetuated by toxic individuals who find joy and happiness in the pain of others, drama is literally designed to bring hurt feelings, upset and pain. Why would you invite that into your life?

#20 – Cheating

There are two different areas in which cheating can welcome negativity into your life. First, if you are cheating yourself in your efforts and attempt to accomplish goals and dreams you may find that it is effective, but know that it will always be in the back of your mind. You will never feel the true joy of accomplishment, as it will always be tainted by the way in which you achieved it. Secondly, while it may seem obvious it is important to note that cheating on someone that you love, be it a romantic relationship, a friend or a business partner, can have incredibly negative consequences.

#21 – A Sense of Entitlement

Always remember that you need to work and earn anything that you hope to gain out of this life, nothing is given for free. The second that you start to experience a sense of entitlement, expecting others to cater to your every need, you are already holding yourself back from actually obtaining it as you are preventing yourself from putting in the work that is necessary.

#22 – Manipulation of Others

While you may believe that manipulating the people you meet is a relatively innocent way to achieve that which you seek in the world while causing little to no harm to anyone else, the harm that manipulation brings is often unnoticed and understated. The truth is that you may be tearing apart the true sense of self that this person experiences, which creates a level of negativity, grief, and misery that will inevitably bleed into your own life as the one responsible. If you want to live a life of respect, start by respecting others.

#23 – Taking Things Personally

There are plenty of times in your life that you are going to be the subject of someone’s frustration, upset and anger, we all are at one time or another. Knowing this, why would you intentionally take on more hurt and disappointment? Take responsibility for your own mistakes, but remember that not everything that happens is your fault.

#24 – Holding a Grudge

It has been said that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for it to hurt someone else. The person you are holding the grudge for may not even realize that you are still holding these negative and toxic feelings so close, meanwhile they will eat away at your mind, heart, and soul. Practice forgiveness and free yourself from the hurt that a grudge will ultimately cause.

#25 – Stubbornness

There is only one thing that is guaranteed in this life, and that is the fact that it will be forever changing. While some of these changes may work in your favor, it’s important to note that not everything is going to go your way every time. Learn to stay flexible and roll with the punches, and you will set yourself up for success in the future.

#26 – Selfishness

You need to ensure that you are a priority in your own life, however, you shouldn’t be the only priority in your life. If you want to create meaningful connections and relationships, you need to learn to consider the thoughts, feelings, and well-being of others as well as your own. This will ultimately lead to a more fulfilling and happier life.

#27 – Excessive Reactivity

Expressing your emotions is a positive thing, something that everyone should learn to do on a regular basis rather than keeping your thoughts and feelings bottled up, hidden from the world. There is, however, a point in which you can take this too far, failing to manage your emotions in a healthy way. If you are the person who always overreacts, yelling at a cashier for having to wait to long in line or screaming at your spouse for spilling their coffee on your clean countertop, it is time to reassess the control in your life. Gaining control over your emotions will allow you to determine the reasons why you feel the need to react in such an extreme fashion. Allow yourself to view this through an outside perspective.

#28 – Blaming Others

There will be times in your life that you have been wronged at the hands of another, however it is also important to note that there will be times when you are responsible. If you have done something to hurt another, or hurt yourself, don’t try to pass the blame in order to avoid responsibility. Instead, acknowledge our role and begin to take steps to correct your actions and to forgive yourself for the errors that you have made – whether intentional or not.

#29 – Perfectionism

You should always strive to be the best version of yourself that you can be, however, there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Understand that no one can truly be perfect, so while you may work towards mastery and perfection in something that you do, expect bumps, flaws and challenges along the way. Acknowledge your limits and weaknesses, keeping in mind that we all have them.

#30 – Obsessing Over Negativity

You are going to encounter negativity at one time or another in your life, it is inevitable. What you choose to do with that information is in your hands. While some people look past the negativity in the world to find the positive side of each experience, the silver lining if you will, others will obsess over the negative feelings, vibes, thoughts and actions, even if they are out of their control. Doing so will only compound this negativity, trapping it in your life and denying you the joy that lies just on the others side.

#31 – Playing the Victim

We have all experienced struggles, challenges and hard times in our lives. You can either use these challenges to move you forward and build a better, stronger version of yourself, or you can choose to play the role of victim, accepting defeat. Remember that identifying yourself as the victim now may mean that you are more prone to be the victim moving forward, preventing you from reaching your full potential.

#32 – Ignoring Self Care

There are many aspects to your own care and well-being that you, and only you, have the power to influence. This includes, but is not limited to, a proper nutrition based diet, adequate exercise and a goo night’s sleep. Don’t overlook the power of these items in your life.

Featured Image via Elephant Journal