Among the most challenging elements of growth is identifying the things that are holding you back from actually achieving your full potential. Not only in regards to your career and professional ambitions, but also through your personal growth as a healthy human being. Being able to break down our lives and look at everything we experience with clarity, can really help us become happier, and more productive.
Our lives are full of distractions that come in all forms. Whether social media, personal relationships, or responsibilities we have to account for, there are always things that come up that can hinder our ability to have clarity on a situation. Sometimes the things that hold us back the most are the things we actually spend the most time on without even knowing. We spend energy on situations, people, events, friendships, relationships and tasks that in the long run are actually holding us back, not on purpose, but because we are so invested in them. Being able to dissect all these forces is not easy, but it can help you prioritize what it is that actually matters in your life, and what you can do without. I’ve found that many people, myself included, spend too much of their energy on things that they think have a significant impact on their life, when the reality is that their focus on those things is in fact what brings them the anxiety that they feel.
I’d like to break this down into two segments. The first being the identification of toxicity in relation to our professional developmental goals. The second being toxicity in a social and mental health aspect.
Identifying toxicity in relation to our goals:
- The first step in actually removing toxicity from our lives is asking yourself what your goals are. If that is something you struggle with, check out my article on strategies for that process here. Many times we don’t actually know that toxic energy exists in our life we just experience this feeling that things are not happening the way we want them to. Once you’ve identified the goal, ask yourself what is preventing you from getting to that goal. At this point, many people will respond by saying “I don’t have time”, “I don’t have enough experience”, “I don’t have enough money”… etc. To all those answers, you are absolutely right. You may not have the time nor experience, and most people definitely know when they don’t have the money to act on something. So those excuses are absolutely justified.
- It’s at that point that many people stop. The next step, however, is the crucial one. Now that you’ve identified the things that are holding you back from the goal, ask yourself why those were your answers. You don’t have time because you’re spending too much of your day doing things that don’t add anything to achieving your goal. By interrogating what specific things you actually do with your day, and blocking out times for each you can start to identify large portions of time that can be invested in more productive actions. Experience is not something you download, it’s something you gain over time. So by simply trying new things, which entails sacrificing others, you will begin to gain experience. Maybe you don’t have enough money because you are spending it on things that are not helping you reach your goal. Thus, the toxicity around you takes the form of the energy you’re spending on things that are not helping you achieve the ambitions you’ve outlined for yourself.
- Once you’ve isolated these elements, re invest the time into the things you really want. That’s where you will begin to feel fulfillment.
Identifying social toxicity in relation to mental health:
This specific topic I wanted to write about because I find that many people feel tremendous sadness, stress, or anxiety over things in their lives that they can, with the right mindset, learn to regulate.
- Social media is a breeder for toxic thoughts and energy in our lives. Due to our very intense use of social media, and the reality of the society we live in, being able to identify these toxins is not easy, but once it is actually done can make a huge difference in our own happiness. So how do we learn to separate our use of such an influential part of our lives in a healthy way?
- Lose the expectation or assumption that everything you see on social media is real. Whether or not it is is another story, but in the context of your own life, it is not. Your emotions happen around you, through the things you see, the people you spend time with, and the ways you go through your reality, not your screen.
- Be open to the concept of questioning whether a situation you find yourself in is actually bringing you happiness or not. Often times we get dragged into situations with people or events that may seem incredibly childish or immature, learn to rise above them and detach yourself from such situations. Your energy is valuable, don’t waste it on things you can not control especially if those around you are unwilling to compromise.
- Do not be afraid to remove yourself from social circles that do not align with your values. Too often we allow peer pressure to govern our decisions, and the guilt that follows creates an energy within us that can eat away at us. Have the strength to hold your morals and values close to your heart, the people that share them will come to you in due time.
I know this article took on a different format than usual, and a big part of that is tied to specific topics I’ve been asked to address by some people. I decided to share them because I think we all have ways of letting these things get to us at times, and understanding that we are not alone in these struggles is a tremendous way to help us all move forward.
Anyone with a specific question or request please feel free to contact me.