A Look at the 6 Deadly Habits That Drive Others Away — and What You Can Do About It

Whether toxic behaviour is a constant part of your life or something you only experience occasionally, it's important to be able to recognise it in yourself and make adjustments as needed. This is crucial to your development and satisfaction.

A Look at the 6 Deadly Habits That Drive Others Away — and What You Can Do About It

In my area of business, I am in constant contact with hundreds of people every month, and I am able to freely discuss issues with working professionals in a more open forum than ever before. Through this, I have witnessed several undesirable actions that turn people away (including me). And I have seen firsthand the damage that negative behaviours like these can do to a person's relationships, career, and overall happiness and well-being.

Whether your negative actions are frequent or rare, you must learn to recognise them and make appropriate adjustments for the sake of your pleasure and development.

The top six most harmful behaviours we encounter daily are:

1. Taking everything to heart and doing it personally

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is a short but powerful read about the importance of not taking things personally. There is a lot of resistance to what I teach about this in my coaching programmes and in my book Breakdown, Breakthrough. Please don't take it to heart, Kathy.

People who see everything that happens in life as personal attack or as if it were all about them are extremely poisonous. People's words and actions reveal more about them than they do about you. People's responses to you reveal something about their own emotions, worldviews, traumas, and histories. Once again, it's all about the audience, whether they believe you're the greatest or the worst. Not that I believe we should be narcissistic and immune to criticism. What I mean is that it is much more effective and healthy to let go of caring what other people think of you and instead let your own spirit, intuition, and experience lead you through life rather than taking things personally. To reiterate, do not steal something for yourself.

2. Preoccupation with unfavourable ideas and emotions

It's frustrating to spend time with folks who can't or won't stop dwelling on the negative—the horrible things that might happen, the slights they've experienced, the unfairness of life. They refuse to look at the bright side of life or learn from their experiences. Pessimism is one thing, but becoming stuck in a negative mental cycle is quite another. Negative thinking and acting, in which you assume that everyone and everything is out to get you, is a learned behaviour that may be altered.

3. Taking up the role of a victim for oneself

Complaining constantly and giving yourself a victim complex is another negative habit to break. A victim mentality is a toxic one that keeps you small and stuck because it leads you to believe you have little power to exercise and no control over the course your life takes. Working as a career coach and before that as a marriage and family therapist, I've seen firsthand how people who've overcome tremendous adversity can achieve remarkable success. If you stop whining and refuse to consider yourself as a helpless victim of circumstance, chance, or prejudice, you may come to realise that you are more capable than you give yourself credit for.

4. Cruelty can be defined as a lack of empathy or an inability to imagine oneself in the position of another.

Cruelty is one of the most poisonous and destructive behaviours since it is the outcome of a complete absence of empathy, caring, or compassion toward other people. Every day, we see it in the headlines and on the internet: people being heartbreakingly vicious and destructive to one another for no other reason than the fact that they can. They criticise others in a malicious manner while hiding behind their online anonymity and doing so on the internet. It is harmful to be harsh, to stab others in the back, or to rip others to shreds, as it not only harms you but also the person you are attacking. A significant educational opportunity presented itself to me some years ago. One day, while I was in a foul attitude, I came into the home and made a caustic and cutting remark to my husband about how a neighbor's mother was handling things with her son when he was going through one of his difficult phases. In fewer than twenty-four hours, the very same issue that the parent was worried about manifested itself in the form of my child sleeping in my bed. It was almost as if the universe had sent me a message saying, "Ah, if you want someone to be harsh and insulting, we're going to give you the same experience that you've assessed so severely, so that you might learn some kind of compassion."

Put a stop to it right where you are if you discover yourself engaging in backstabbing or putting someone else down. Try to go deep into your own heart to discover compassion, and keep in mind that we are all the same.

5. Excessive sensitivity to stimuli

An inability to regulate one's emotions can be extremely harmful to one's relationships. We've all encountered those men and women who lose their cool at the first sign of trouble. Losing your cool with the bank teller after a long queue, your assistant after he botches a PowerPoint presentation, or your child after he spills milk on the driveway. If you discover that you are overly reactive and easily angered, professional therapy is recommended so that you can learn to regulate your emotions and understand their origins. You can't just look at the surface level and draw any conclusions. Getting a fresh perspective and some innovative support is crucial.

6. Having a continual need for approval

Last but not least, it's draining to be in the company of those who seek approval and value themselves based on the opinions of others and the results they produce. Persons who feel they need to constantly "win" or "prove" themselves to their peers are damaging and stressful.

Being too attached to how things "have to appear" and "have to be" and to achieving those goals and successes rather than going with the flow and simplifying your life can cause you and others around you a lot of stress. Neither your current successes nor your current difficulties are the whole story of your life. It's not just about the destination; it's about the path you take to get there, the lessons you take away from them, the people you help along the way, and the personal development you actively seek out.

Put your focus elsewhere and stop telling yourself things like, "I need to get promoted now!" or "My house has to be bigger and better than my neighbor's." The fact that you're trying too hard to boost your sense of self-worth through external accomplishments is (sadly) clear to everyone else but you, and it's keeping you from finding the joy you're after.


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