“Toxic” has become a buzz win the last few decades, and we are continually encouraged to rid ourselves and protect ourselves from toxic people, situations, and relationships. That may be good advice, but it isn’t always practical. Why? Because sometimes, it isn’t easy to leave your job or relationship, and people with e generational are all around us no matter how much positive energy we exude; they are part of the landscape. So unless we self-isolate, we’re going to get exposed to people with a certain amount of negative vibes, and yes toxicity.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who haven’t learned strategies for living a positive life, managing stress or up overcoming their past trauma (I should know I lived with these toxic behaviors for years), Sometimes, they don’t behave like nice people. We should avoid toxicity when possible, but when you happen to be in a negative environment with negative people, you can try and reap the benefits.
As with everything else seemly negative there are benefits to toxic interactions.
Here are some that you can consider:
1. Learning A Lesson
Ask yourself: “what can I learn from this? Some, it’s patience, sometimes compassion and sometimes it’s how to rectify the same quality in ourselves.
A Rabbi named Baal Shem Tov, speaks of how a fault we see in another should serve as a manner in which we should seek the same fault – perhaps in a more subtle guise in ourselves. Otherwise, we would not have perceived it in another.
Ask your what the reason is and how you can apply it. It’s the theater of life, and the Director is putting you in the show. Try to respond the way you would if toy had an audience watching you. And you usually do. Everyone watches to see how others deal with difficult people. If we learn from one another how to do this, we might have fewer difficulties.
2. Give Of Yourself.
Try to discover what you can teach/give the other person. Challenge yourself to find something you can share with the other person that will make them better or happier.
Difficult people are often expressing a surfeit of pain and bitterness. Try and sweeten their life a little bit by understanding their pain, where it comes from and what you can do about it.
3. Embrace Gratitude.
It’s important sometimes to be exposed to the negativity in the world in order to appreciate the value of good in our own lives. Thank God, our situation has not reached some points of toxicity, and that we are not that grouchy, dismal person. (A least thank God, I’m not like that anymore).
4. Create More Good In The World.
Another benefit is that although exposure to toxic people can be stressful, it acts as a stimulus to make you more positive almost in self-defense. It’s sort of like an oyster secreting more pearl over the irritant that had entered its shell.
You may find that you are trying to cancel out the other person’s negativity with your own positivity, generating more positivity. Some, you may even succeed in rubbing off on them.
A Rabbi named Menachen Mendak once said: The loftier the soul, the greater the challenges and darkness surrounding it, like the most valuable pearl which is set in the largest encasement.
5. Uncover The Good.
Sometimes, people are very negative because they’re projecting their own feeling of low self-worth out into the world. If you can find something good about the person and reflect it back to them, that will soothe and temper their irascibility.
You can always find something nice to say about a person if you play detective and look good and hard.
I was listening to a speaker, a few years back, He told of a time when he was in his office and a man, visited his office every day to try and stir up trouble with him. The speaker said it was so bad, he felt like leaving every time the man would enter. One day he decided to try a different approach toward him. He starting saying the man “ You are sure a nice dresser, you’re always dressed in nice clothing.” Every time he seen the man he would compliment him on his clothing. After a while the man wasn’t as annoying as he was before. The speaker actually got him a job at a Taylor shop in the town he lived.
6.￼ Speak Creativity.
Although you can’t always take a pause from someone, you can often take a break from them. If you take the initiative to find strategies to spend less time with them, it may ease the situation. Like the speaker that found something good to say to the annoying man by finding him a job. It sometimes calls on us to be creative and sensitive, and take initiative. Think of it like a sort of a game,
7. Learn To Protect Your Boundaries And Shine Your Sunshine.
There is a very important service that toxic people perform for you. They teach you to understand your limitations and protect your borders. They reinforce the idea that we have to be kind to ourselves in order to help others. And once we give ourselves the self-love we need, we are more flexible about being able to give it to others, even difficult people.
So accept the fact that someone you know might bother you or bring you down. But having taken steps to protect yourself from their negative influence with kindness, you will then be able to open yourself up a little bit and give them some of your own light.
It might not work all the time, but we are called to be a light.
As a people, we are exhorted to be a light among the nations (Isaiah 42:6). As individuals, we can be a light to one another.