Erase Toxicity: How to Stop Being Toxic

how to stop being toxic

Toxicity seems to surround us lately. That’s why it can be hard to figure out how to stop being toxic.

Sometimes, it seems like you’re the only one who even wants to figure it all out. Toxic behavior can be a hard thing to stop when it’s hard to identify the toxic habits you have. However, if you want to stop being toxic and become more positive in your life, these tips will help!

What is Considered Toxic Behavior?

There are many ways to be toxic, whether it is through gossiping or negative thinking. Generally, toxic behavior can be defined as anything that spreads negativity and is harmful to your wellbeing.

When someone comes into your life that has a lot of toxicity there will be moments where this person tears down all the positivity around them. When you feel like you need positivity, be mindful of the people you surround yourself with.

Despite circumstances where one may be tempted to engage in negative behaviors with others, practice mindfulness. Even with a close friend, you don’t have to give in to their negative actions. While this may be difficult at times, it’s necessary for personal growth and a more positive outlook on life.

What Are Some Examples of Toxic Behavior?

There are many different types of toxicity, such as:

• Negative thinking and pessimistic attitudes. When you notice yourself feeling negative, stop and think about why you’re feeling this way before reacting negatively.

• Gossiping. You’ll always be tempted to talk about other people, but gossip creates a negative environment for everyone involved. Instead of talking bad about other people, focus on how you can improve your own life.

• Complaining and focusing too much on the negative. Instead of complaining about how bad your life is, focus on the things you are grateful for.

• Putting others down or being mean to other people. You don’t need to be mean or negative towards others.

• Holding grudges and being resentful of others. It’s important to put your ego aside and move past the behavior of others.

• Not taking care of yourself or establishing healthy boundaries with other people. Being conscious of your thoughts and actions will help you to stop the toxicity before it starts.

What Can We Do to Stop Being Toxic?

Once you identify your toxic behaviors, you can start working towards improvement.

• Acknowledge your negative thoughts and work to replace them with positive ones. Make a list of the things you are grateful for. You can also write down positive thoughts onto sticky notes to remind yourself of the good things in life.

• Learn how to forgive, whether it be forgiving yourself or others. Holding onto negative feelings towards someone can cause mental illness and stress over time. Forgiveness is necessary for your own personal growth.

• Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and try new things! Taking risks can help you to change your perspective on life and give you a new outlook on your life.

• Stop worrying about what other people think of you and focus more on yourself!

• Spend time with positive people and make an effort to improve your relationships.

Remember Your Sense of Self

Sometimes, we take on a toxic mindset due to a low self-image. I wrote a book, Life After Low Self-Esteem, where I talked about my self-esteem struggles and how I overcame them. Check it out, and let me know how it helps you!

Polyamory Wasn’t for Me, and That’s Okay

I tried polyamory. It didn’t work for me.

Like every breakup, I took it pretty hard. I convinced myself I wasn’t mentally or emotionally strong enough to handle a polyamorous relationship. So, I sat back and truly analyzed my emotions until I realized something.

I am not wired for polyamory, and that’s okay.

Like many, I had a lot of misconceptions about why I needed to open myself to poly relationships and consider giving up my monogamous ways. I quickly found that I have limits. And if nothing else I’m a person who wants his limits respected.

So what led me to discovering this epiphany? Let’s examine a few points that resound with me.

Polyamory Isn’t a Cure-All

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered a couple on a dating app seeking to “open up” their relationship to a third party. One partner initiated the idea, while the other reluctantly agreed to be open-minded about it.

One couple in particular stands out in my memory. Todd (bisexual man) wanted to explore relationships with other men. Meanwhile, Linda (heterosexual woman) wanted to exclusively date her boyfriend.

Underneath all this was a myriad of miscommunication, issues with trust, and little respect for boundaries. We’ll get to boundaries later.

Todd had a tendency to cheat on Linda and cover up the fact. Todd suggested to Linda after multiple incidents that they explore polyamory. Linda gave in because she wanted the relationship to work.

Even though Linda consented to being in a poly relationship, Todd previously broke her trust multiple times. Opening up a relationship doesn’t eliminate cheating. In fact, in some cases, cheating can be increased.

Todd could decide that he now has free reign to have sex with, go on dates with, and become involved with whoever he wants, neglecting his original partner in the process. This is self-centered and not rooted in love and respect.

Monogamy Doesn’t Always Mean Selfish

I often heard that phrase, “Monogamy is inherently selfish. You can’t be someone’s everything, and you can’t expect them to be yours.”

Okay, let’s dissect that a bit.

Yes, we push this magical belief that we’ll one day meet the man/girl of our dreams, who will complete us in every way imaginable. Yes, said belief/goal fails to live up to our expectations most of the time.

However, most of that can be tied back to co-dependence rather than just monogamy. And co-dependence can manifest in poly relationships too.

Think about it like this. Is it not possible for someone to want multiple partners because they’re also trying to fill something within themselves and feel completed?

Your main partner can’t satisfy you in X,Y,Z ways, so you decide to date or seek as many people as it takes in order to feel fulfilled in those areas. Such a mindset can also devolve into co-dependence just like monogamy. It just looks different.

You Are Allowed to Have Boundaries & Expectations

No matter your dating preference, you’re allowed to have boundaries. Not only that, you should expect those boundaries to be respected.

For example, sexual health and safety should be important whether you’re poly or monogamous. Poly doesn’t mean everyone gets to do whatever they want. There are still consequences to be considered.

So, then what if you can’t emotionally, physically, or spiritually handle being involved with more than one person? Is that also a boundary? Yes, and it should be respected.

To put it simply, I chose not to engage with partners with multiple relationships because:

1. Emotionally, the relationship overwhelms me.

2. I wanted to reduce the chance STI exposure.

STI’s obviously aren’t exclusive to poly relationships, but things happen. In fact, the gap between monogamous and non-mongamous STI rates is smaller than you think.

Negative Emotions Don’t Make You Weak

I recently posted about addressing negative emotions. It’s important to express any misgivings or general unease. You are not weak or mentally-fragile because you get upset. Our experiences and personalities form the paradigms that shape our preferences.

No matter what route you take, you need to communicate, listen to understand, and set clear boundaries. Poly works for many people, and I truly believe it’s an amazing alternative for many. But it’s not for everyone, and that’s okay too.

Give People the Same Energy They Give You

Stop accepting bread crumbs from people while giving them endless amounts of your time, patience, and energy. You are human, and humans have limits. You deserve better than what you’re getting back in terms of reciprocity. Give people the same energy they give you.

Our culture teaches us that we must be altruistic, 100% selfless human beings at all times. So, we strut around giving our energy away freely to anyone who asks for it, and we wonder why we’re endlessly exhausted.

Lets explore ways to conserve that energy and apply it to aspects of your life that will yield a bigger and more satisfying return for you.

Re-Discover What You Want Out of Life & Love

You expect yourself to always be giving and altruistic, but it’s perfectly fine (or not fine) for others to give you almost nothing in return. Stop doing that to yourself. You deserve better.

Start by writing down any goals, dreams, and aspirations you may have. Then, consider your core values as a person. What do you believe in? What makes you happy? What do you have to have in order to function as a person?

Personally, I recommend creating a vision board. Not sure how to start one? You can click here for an easy how-to guide. I’ve also got some worksheets you can use if you need a confidence boost. Once completed, you can move on to something that’s a little more challenging.

Set Boundaries & Manage Expectations

What’s the difference between expectations and standards?

Start managing your expectations. I don’t mean standards. I mean expectations of people. Standards are like boundaries. They’re the things you don’t budge on. Expectations are more flexible. If you are a person who goes out of their way for people on instinct, you need to learn to adjust according to what you are given in return.

It seems petty, and at times it will appear to be. But it’s also being fair to yourself. If you don’t know how to be fair to yourself, how can you truly be fair to anyone else?

Any relationship requires a healthy balance of energy. A one-sided friendship, for example, isn’t really much of a friendship at all. You make all the arrangements, you plan the birthday parties, buy the presents, listen to them when they’re down, help them move, etc.

How do I manage my expectations?

Do your friends do any of the above-mentioned for you? If not, you need to change your expectations. Instead of doing all of the above, you should only do what your friend reciprocates. Nothing more.

That is now what you expect out of YOURSELF when it comes to that person. If that becomes an issue, then state why you’ve changed your behavior to match theirs. By stating it, you’ve expressed the expectation you have of THEM and the ball is in their court to figure out what they expect from the friendship. It should ALWAYS be fair.

What if they don’t meet my expectation?

The friend may decide not to meet your expectations, and that’s fine. That’s what compromise is for. You have to decide if the compromise is worth keeping the friendship.

That’s where your standards/boundaries come in, the things you’re not willing to budge on. They should always be realistic. If it all works out, then great! If not, it’s not your fault. You still did the right thing. This thought process also works for marriages and long-term/short-term relationships.

Check Your Balance

Imagine you have a bank filled with your energy. Every day you withdraw funds in order to power your relationships. Now, every bank account has a specific limit, right? At a certain point, that account needs to be filled up, or it will overdraft.

So what happens when you run out of funds? You not only won’t have enough “energy” to give out, but you won’t have any to give yourself either. So, how can manage your account when the funds you give out are never returned?

You’re always the one to initiate conversations, always the one offering emotional support, and always the one showing up for something. But when the time comes, those who are accepting your funds aren’t doing the same, so you’re always in the red.

Invest in people who will match the funds you’re giving out. Make time for individuals who aren’t emotionally selfish and self-centered, and watch how your outlook changes. You’ll feel supported, loved, and most of all appreciated.

Reclaim Yourself

Stop allowing yourself to be walked all over by people. Stop accepting bread crumbs when you’re worth an entire buffet. Know your worth and demand to be treated fairly. You have to stand your ground and give people the same energy they give you.

Remember that, no matter what, you are enough.

11 Gay Men Tell Their Horrible Gay Dating Stories

Look, dating is hard for everybody, especially gay guys. There aren’t very many of us to begin with (contrary to popular belief), and we’re notoriously picky. Not only that, some of us can be just plain weird at times.

We’ve all had a horrible dating experience, but these Reddit users and their stories take the cake. From witches summoning dragons to cause earthquakes to crazy sweater-stealing exes, there’s plenty of gay dating horror stories to get into below. Are you ready to feel better about your dating situation?

“Didn’t Know What Hermes Was”

The guy was wearing an Hermes belt, the one with the big H on it. At the time I knew nothing about fashion or what Hermes was, so I asked what the H stood for. He scoffed at that, said “I don’t think this is going to work out” and then straight up left.

He was right though, it probably wasn’t going to ever work out.

“He Wasn’t a Fan of Mutants”

Back during the dark ages of online dating – here I am thinking – I met up with a guy to spend some time in my town. We went downtown, to the mall, and I suggested a movie. We glanced into the the theater. I saw this one listing … called “Hills”. Turns out, it was The Hills Have Eyes.

The nuclear mutants eating people did not bother me so much. Until they started eating the baby while violating the mother and the daughter simultaneously. I became lightheaded, and recognized that I was about to pass out from the sudden anxiety and adrenaline. I had to sit Indian style in the hallway, breathe deeply, and I broke out in a cold sweat. The manager inquried if I was okay, I said it was just nerves and it would eventually pass. They took pity on me, giving me a free ticket. My date took pity on me, consoling me and asking me if I was ok (mind you I am like 6’2” football player , he was like 5’10”).

Needless to say, I was humiliated. The moral of the story? Dunno. I still got laid.

“Third Wheel, Much?”

About 8 years ago I met a guy online. We decided to meet for lunch. He brought a female friend and proceeded to spend the date talking to her and practically ignoring me. She seemed as uncomfortable as me. Very strange.

“Things Escalated Quickly”

A girl in my apartment building set me up on a date with one of her coworkers. We met up for drinks and about 5 minutes in he told me he invited a couple friends friends. Over the next half hour about a dozen people joined our group and the guy spent the night hanging out with them.

“Who Pays For Grindr?”

He asked me out, we went to grab some drinks. Then while we were talking, he busted out his iPad and played some games and occasionally chatting with someone else on Grindr (we also met on Grindr). For some retarded reason, he proudly told me that he was paying for Grindr Xtra on both his phone and his iPad. Wat. When I said I’m tired and should go home, he then offered to go back to his place 5 minutes away, to “cuddle.” Nope.

“Speaking of Grindr Though”

Met a guy on Grindr that looked pretty hot. The way that he was messaging me seemed really odd, like it was a thirteen year old kid writing them. I figured what the hell, we’ll see what happens. I met him at a bar pretty close to my place. Right from the beginning it was one of the most confusing interactions that I’ve had with another human being. Within the first few minutes he went on this whole political rant, and then halfway through it asked if he had a point. I didn’t. So after he realized that crashed and burned, he asked me if I liked amusement parks. I had no idea how to respond to the question, because we were two guys in our mid-twenties, at a dive bar, drinking cheap beer. I was so confused. I think after that he asked if I like roller coasters, fried food, and living in Seattle. He then went on to explain to me that every four years he decides to move to a new city to try and change things up. He did this by choosing two random cities on a list, flipping a coin between the two, and then moving to said city. After a while of talking to him I was struggling to keep up conversation, so I made up some excuse and left after my first beer. To this day I don’t know if I was on some hidden camera show.

“Would You Watch a Show Called Military Husbands?

Well, he wasn’t actually single, he had a boyfriend, but he was deployed to Iraq. I’ve heard the stereotypes about military wives, but apparently it applies to military boyfriends too.

edit: He didn’t tell me about the boyfriend until dinner. Mentioned it very casually like it was NBD that he lied about being single.

“Was It Worth It, Though?”

Guy got so drunk he passed out in my car and couldn’t tell me where he lived so i could take him home. He woke up every 20 minutes or so to tell me which direction to turn, and then once to puke everywhere.

He gave good head though..

“Guy Obviously Has More Going On Than Butt Problems”

I met a guy at Caribou Coffee. It was his idea to grab coffee. Well, I get there, and he messaged me to let me know that he was going to be a little late. So, he showed up a half hour late. I already had my coffee. I asked him if he wanted anything, and he said, “I don’t like coffee.” So, I said he could get tea or something else. He refused. So, we started to just chat. He wouldn’t stop complaining about how loud the machines were there. But, worst of all, he told me that he couldn’t stay too long because sitting too long would bother his cyst. Yes, that’s right, he started talking about a cyst on his butt (This was our first and last date). He didn’t stop with just the mention of it. He continued to talk about it. He told me what kind it was (I can’t recall the name) and explained that it is the result of an ingrown hair developing to a cyst and that these are common in men who sit a lot. I have not had anyone top this one.

“Just Gonna Pull the Psychosis Card On This One”

I met a guy on OkCupid once, his profile seemed okay, so I agreed to meet him for dinner and movie. We both get to the movie about thirty-minutes early, so we decided to walk around the plaza and get to know each other a little better. We were making small talk when he suddenly tells me ‘I’m a wizard.’ I don’t much of it, I tell him I have some friends who are Wiccan and I’m cool with it, but then he goes on to tell me that he’s a real wizard and can control people minds and control fire and stuff like that.

At that point I was torn, part of me wanted to just call it a night and go home, but the other part of me really wanted to see the movie, so I decided to stay and see what happened. After that movie, it turns out that his idea of dinner was Burger Kind drive-thru, and since he didn’t have a car I had to get the food and then drive him home. As I’m driving him home, I start to realize that the way I’m taking looked really familiar. I finally realized that he lived in the same apartment that a good friend of mine did, we used to work together and I’d drive him home on nights that it was too cold to bike in, but all of a sudden he dropped all communication with me one year in February and stopped coming into work.

I asked to guy if he knew my old friend, who then laughed and said that they used to be roommates, until he got tired of him and decided to kick him out…by tossing all his stuff into the parking lot while he was at work one day. At that point I got really angry and kicked him out of my car, I remembered my friend told me that his family lived on the West Coast and wasn’t too happy with him, so now I have no clue where he went to.

After about a week or so we had a slight earthquake in town, which was kinda weird since I can’t ever remember having an earthquake in West Virginia, but later that day the douchebag texted me saying that the earthquake was caused by a dragon living under the city. I replied back with a ‘fuck you’ and never heard from him again.

“Play It Safe, Guys”

Okie doke, so I had recently stopped seeing this guy and decided to get back on the horse right away. I made an OKCupid and got a couple of hits over a few days. I do not photograph well and it is very rare that I like photos of me, but there was this one in particular of me and the ex that is just super flattering of me, so I put that one up too. This one cute guy in particular messaged me multiple times and was really interested in meeting up with me. He was really nice and we had some mutual Facebook friends, and he worked close to my apartment, so I invited him over for dinner and a movie.

So he comes over and is really nice and still seems super interested and is asking a bunch of questions about me and my past and eventually we get on the subject of our past boyfriends. That’s when it starts to get a llittle weird. At that point the movie was playing, but there was pretty much no attention being paid to it. It started out as a few innocent questions here and there and pretty soon I found out that my ex was his ex also and I actually thought it was really funny. At one point I even pulled out one of his favorite sweaters that he left at my place and it was confirmed.

I didn’t really care, but then it turned into a full on interview on when we met, what we did, when we did it, how fast it progressed, what the emotional connection was, if I ever met his family, if he ever met mine, how often he had been in my apartment. Every single question had something to do with this guy and it was not even subtle like it had been in the beginning. At that point it was super uncomfortable, but I had already told him that he could sleep over (spare bedroom) since he worked in the morning also AND he had been drinking and smoking so I wasn’t going to put him out even though I totally should have.

Next morning I woke up to find him and the sweater gone. Blocked on OKCupid, blocked on Facebook. Never heard from him again. I later found out from a mutual “friend” that our ex started seeing me when he was still with him, and that I was at fault for their relationship ending. So I’m just lucky I did not get stabbed. Worst date ever.

Yikes, right?And if you thought these stories were bad, think again. My dating life was even worse. Don’t believe me? Check out my new e-book My Horrible Gay Dating Life and find out for yourself. Don’t worry. It won’t take long for you to feel much better about your romantic history.