You’re Toxic!

woman shadow sadly sits crying in red sunset sky
by Vance Larson

There is an old Zen saying- “Everyone should meditate for 20 minutes a day. If you’re too busy to meditate for 20 minutes, you should probably meditate for an hour.”

I started working with a client 2 months ago. They were very well off and excelled in every area except one. Their dating life. They reached out because they were trying to get back with a past love interest. Over the next 2 months, I tried my best to provide extensive work for them. But despite my best efforts, they continued to go against my advice and making extremely unhealthy decisions. Not that I was upset that they acted on their on accord. {We all should take full responsibility for our actions.} But clearly acting in the most destructive manner is cause for a pause.

During the next two months my client experienced more misfortune. A family member took ill. A business partner found themselves in legal trouble. And now they find themselves in the mist of the perfect storm. After not hearing from my client for 2 weeks, they sent me an email bringing me up to speed on what has been happening. They requested a phone consultation. I gladly obliged. Date and time was set, and once again they missed the appointment. {3 out of the last 4 appointments were no shows.} So at this point I had to charge for services rendered. They asked to reschedule the following day. I sent an invoice for prepayment and made myself available within their time parameter. In the morning I awoke to an email stating that they were just too busy for even a 30 minute conversation. To which I responded-

There is an old Zen saying- “Everyone should meditate for 20 minutes a day. If you’re too busy to meditate for 20 minutes, you should probably meditate for an hour.”

There will come a time when we are just toxic. I think we have all heard the phrase that some people will just be toxic for you. But what happens when we find ourselves being toxic? I’m guilty of it too. While it hasn’t happened in years for me, there was a time where I was so toxic, that the whole trajectory of my life changed forever. To this day I am still trying to recover. So what do we do?

First we must understand that we are caught in a negative cycle. Many of us find this hard to do, or simply lack this skill. But what happens when your inner circle intervenes? Do we open our minds to their words and concerns? Or do we think we are on top of the situation? I’ll use another client example. I recently started working with a young adult who was fresh in recovery {from drinking.} After our initial conversation, I asked them why they were reaching out for help now? They explained that there was a family history of alcoholism, but recently their friends started making backhanded comments about their drinking. After hearing this from several sources, they took action and ended up in a meeting.

After a month and a half of meetings, they determined that a 12 step approach was not a good fit for them. But with some healthy internal dialog, they knew they needed support and accountability. For that reason, they ended up seeking the help of a professional. But how many of us would have gone the other way. The answer? Quite a few. Which is why in these type of situations, interventions are often the last resort.

My point being this. Why do we let it get to a last resort? When life is off balance and you continue to find yourself deeper in the hole, you’re probably toxic. If a coworker, spouse, family member or friend has made mention of your behaviors or choices lately, there may be a ring of truth to it. What happens if you don’t trust these people. Think about it. You chose them, so what does that say about how you feel about yourself? Trust them. Or if they’re the toxicity in your life, cut them out. But it all starts with recognizing that you maybe toxic. And sometimes the best action is no action at all.

So when everything seems to be off. Forget the 20 minutes. Take the hour.

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