Our first instinct as we enter a dirty and foul-smelling place is to walk out. As humans, we find it easy to understand our physical requirement, but we most often fail to comprehend the needs of our soul even when it’s screaming aloud.
Our relationship with certain people is one such example. At some point, we have all endured the company of people who bring us down by being unsupportive and unappreciative. It is sometimes overt, and sometimes it’s subtle and takes a long time to realise it. It does not stink but sting, but we keep overlooking.
It drains us more and more, and erodes our self-confidence, strength and courage, but we continue to maintain the relationship. Fault-finding, name-calling, abuse, fights, screams, manipulation and passive-aggressive behaviour continue to occur, but to save the relationship, we bite our tongue.
We hold onto the relationship because of the attachment and sometimes by looking at the person’s goodness and charm towards others. Instead, we blame ourselves for the poor working of the relationship. Eventually, we even begin to doubt ourselves and compromise everywhere.
It is important to understand that there is a difference between a relationship that needs effort and a person who is toxic for us. We can make a relationship work, but we can’t emotionally invest and damage ourselves, hoping for someone to feel and think differently for us.
A person bringing toxicity in your life may not necessarily be a bad human, but it does you no good, just like toxic air. You are breathing but not breathing well. It damages you inside. Every little cry of yours is like inhaling the polluted air. Here it’s your soul, if not the lungs, that feels the choking. If the air around is dirty, you leave the place to get some fresh air. Do the same. Just know, it’s not a choice, it’s an instant need to free oneself.
We don’t realise how and when we get attracted to such a person, but after recognising one, it is important to let go, for oneself and also for the other person as both are bringing out the worst in each other.
Be with those who bring out the best in you. The world needs the goodness that we each have within us and more of our positive energy. As crucial as it for the individual self, it is also for the greater good that we try to advance the positivity and compassion within ourselves and around us and not linger in the toxicity.
A version of this article appears in print on February 14, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.