Raise your hand if you've seen a "What's your toxic trait?" post on Twitter, IG or Facebook this year.
Every few weeks one pops up inviting the masses to comment on what "toxic" traits or habits they think they posses. I always scroll through the conversations wondering why most of the comments don't seem to be acknowledging any real fault or wrongdoing. I wonder whether or not those of us who are aware of our potentially toxic traits are actually doing anything to remedy the fact that they exist. How many people avoid those posts and convince themselves that nothing they do could possibly be toxic. After all, why would we be okay with walking around being toxic?
I don't believe that any level of toxicity is defined by the traits or bad habits we may sometimes display as a result of bad experiences or trauma. I think in order for something to be defined as a toxic trait, it has to be something that is done with no set course for correction. A toxic trait has to be something that is directly harming you or someone else. Okay, so your toxic trait is that you "love too hard." How or why is that toxic? Are you "loving" people correctly and in a healthy manner? Are you giving them the space to decide whether or not they can reciprocate? Are you absolutely positive that you were always the "right" person in your relationship?
I know not everyone will agree with this, and some people who have used that phrase before might even be offended. I'm okay with disagreements, but I do firmly believe that there is a trend among us in this social media sphere of not being willing to admit that we have the potential to not be the best people. Everyone loves the view from their glass houses. Everyone loves to throw stones.
Many of us don't want to admit that we may have habits that are directly harming or hurting ourselves or others. We never want to admit fault in any situation. We are willing to openly discuss the existence of these traits or carry on with life as if none of those habits exist yet so unwilling to do the emotional work required to change those habits. Realistically though - what is the probability that you've never been wrong? Or hurtful? Or deceitful? What is the likelihood that in someone's version of your story you might be the toxic one?
A few weeks ago I wrote a post on not accepting apologies without changed behavior. The post resonated with so many people, and now I wonder - how many of the folks who shared that post are walking around continuing behavior that may have hurt someone in their path?
A part of growing up and developing any sort of self-awareness means accepting all of the beautiful things about you while also acknowledging the not-so-good things you may have said or done in your life. Each of us has habits or traits that define who we are to others - and more than likely those traits don't always look so beautiful to every single person you meet. The next time you list the things that someone toxic has done to you in life, maybe try writing down the times when you may have been toxic to someone else.