The other day I was asked if I considered myself to be an altruistic person. I couldn’t help but blankly blink at the question. I used to be incredibly selfless in high school; I consistently carried this emotional weight of feeling like I was obligated to “fix” people. I now recognize my willingness to help others wasn’t what was deplorable but rather the fact that I never put myself first. You really can’t just “fix” people, nor is it anyone’s duty to. I still am very willing to listen to and assist in any way I can, but I can longer do so when it comes to the destruction of myself. Along with this epiphany came the liberating notion of cutting off anyone toxic. Some people call it selfish, whereas I can now only see it as self-love.
2016 has definitely been a year of noxious souls. I feel like classifying them as human isn’t quite fitting but that’s beside the point. There is a difference between helping people and trying to fix them. However, the second they become inimical to your well-being, flee the other direction and do not dare look back.
The question to ask is what exactly constitutes a toxic person. There are a couple of unquestionable red flags: constantly lying, using you when it’s convenient for them (they only acknowledge you in certain instances), never reciprocating any sort of respect or concern, manipulative behavior (ie. always blaming you for any sort of mishap and failing to take sight of their own mistakes), intense jealousy/possessiveness, you get the point. I had to ask myself was whether I would want my best friend to put up with this sort of misbehavior. The answer was a slamming hell no.
On the flip side, there is no guideline of what defines a poisonous person, especially if they don’t exactly fit any of the symptoms described above. In fact, I’ve found that it sometimes requires taking a break to understand whether or not this person is more positive than negative for you. That’s OK- that break is a time of reflection and understanding. If you do this, make sure you tell the other person; their reaction is also quite telling of whether or not they’re a bad seed in your life. (For the record, this specific person was definitely not worth cutting off, but there’s no way for me to have known that had we not taken time apart; so yes, a temporary break is absolutely worthwhile.)
I don’t appreciate any sort of halfness in my life. I’m intolerant when it comes to imbalanced relationships and consistent negativity. So in this regard, if I’m cutting you off, there is an impermeable wall created- can’t say I’m sorry for that. I pride myself on being able to quickly drop the relationship and walk away. When it comes to cutting people off, I go the whole nine yards. It took me unfollowing them on Instagram, unfriending them on Facebook, and the classic deleting and blocking their number. Call it intense or call it taking care of myself, I prefer the latter.
I think a number of people have taken note of this action as rather dramatic or something of the sort. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR well-being and YOU are the one dealing with the toxicity day in and day out. You owe it to yourself to move onto better things.
Letting go is sometimes much easier said than done, especially when you once thought the world of this person. I won’t promise unending happiness after; there may very well be weaker moments where you miss their presence. At those times, your body is begging you to remember how cruel or callous they once were to you. It’s those moments where you’ll take note of how much better off you are now that they’re gone.
In all honesty, doing this has hands down been my best move this entire year. I can’t lie, it took me multiple times of being hurt and destroyed to fully understand just how repugnant they were. It’s definitely not my place to ostracize anyone for forgiving someone for their mistakes and letting them back in, but after a certain point, it is alarmingly important for you to finally walk away.
“Sometimes you’re going to have to let one person go a thousand different times, a thousand different ways, and there’s nothing pathetic or abnormal about that. You are human.”
Walking away has been inexplicably liberating. I’ve been able to take up old hobbies I once adored and open up myself to new people. I’m constantly reminding myself I’m a work in progress but in cutting off these poisonous souls, I’ve made room for some old friends to return and new friendships to take place. You may envision yourself as completely debilitated if they’re no longer in your life- remember that if you were good before they became so important, you can be just as wonderful once they’ve gone.
I’m grateful to those two people, too, for teaching me what I’m unwilling to tolerate in the future and vividly painting the picture of who I never want to become- I’m also grateful to the new souls for reminding me that a few bad seeds don’t define humanity and for further inspiring me to be a better person.
I don’t regret these relationships; I regret letting myself stay in something so visibly vile to my well-being and not walking away sooner. I owe it to them for teaching me the sheer beauty in finally walking away, and I can only hope you have the same strength to do the same.