Are You Toxic?

The comic below is from “Oddballs” Issue 7 and gives you, dear reader, some insight into toxicity in our culture.

Other than a few psychopaths, no one wants to believe they are toxic. We all have this feeling that we’re doing the best with what we have; treating people in a just and fair way. Yet, that simply cannot be true.

Think about it: there is always a percentage of people above average and below average, with a few on the extreme ends. I made this handy little graph to help illustrate my point:

Your average person is not average

By definition, “average” would mean (“mean,” HA!) that there are equal amounts on each side of the apex of the curve, or something to that extent. And, since we know that only a few individuals are at the extreme ends, the majority of us are in the meaty center of the curve.

That said, half of ALL people would be sliding down the toxic curve! How do you know you’re not on that dreadful side of things? And, no, you can’t simply state that you and you alone are that sole average person.

Perk@Work: “Smarter Than Average”

Gauging your toxicity level

There exists no over-the-counter measuring strips to determine one’s level of social toxicity. Oh, if that were true! In lieu of such a product, we have to be introspective; and attempt to be objective in the process.

One way to determine whether you are toxic or not is to evaluate how many times people invite you out for coffee or such. If never, you may be toxic. Of course, you may live in the hills, surrounded by nature and two banjo-playing weirdos, but even then, you may still get an invite to a moonshine soirée down in the hollow.

Of course, there are many popular toxic people. Still, these folks usually have some value that others want to extract from them – people around the toxic person tolerate their toxicity because they get something from the interaction or relationship. You’ll see this with highly attractive women who are nasty but others still put up with them. In this equation, people are attracted to beauty, even if it comes with the sting of venom. Other examples of “value” are power, money, and influence. They may still get the moonshine party invite, but it’s not because of their happy social banter.

How to properly detox

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you happen to be toxic. Now, both you and I know that’s not the case, but bear with me here and play along. After all, playing along only proves you’re not toxic right? (See what I did there?)

Reducing your toxicity level is simple, yet difficult. It’s summed up in three words: humility, consideration, and patience. Now, dear reader, you may be thinking I bet Jason doesn’t exhibit these traits all the time! I agree. In fact, it’s a constant battle for me to be humble, considerate, and patient. It doesn’t come naturally to me nor to you nor to any human. That’s why all the sages throughout history have instructed us to practice these things in myriad texts and teachings. Few, if any, have achieved such Jesus-like status (with the exception of Jesus, of course).

Detoxing other people

As you can imagine, this is impossible. No one can change another person’s behavior. Yet, there are things that can be done. Remember, toxic behavior is, well, behavior. The person isn’t toxic, just their thoughts and actions… and those can change.

It’s easy to simply abandon the relationship and perhaps that division can be justified and warranted. Yet, there’s a problem with this. If you find that you’re cutting yourself off from everyone because they are toxic, you may actually be the toxic one; judgmental and/or obstinate. If I’m too sensitive or proud, I could perceive that others are toxic for simply stating the truth or giving constructive criticism. How dare they!

Now, if there’s a truly toxic person in your life and you feel as though you’re in danger, then distance yourself. No sense in cuddling up to a viper.

Toxic no more

It is impossible to avoid all toxic behavior in humans. We are humans and that crud comes with the territory; inside each of us. I’ll leave you with a great quote I heard recently. Share the quote and, if you’re so inclined, share this article too!

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained”

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

Found on GoodReads

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