Understanding Toxic Patterns


Though I think it can be difficult and unpleasant at times, I find it incredibly important to be mindful and aware of our own toxic patterns and behaviors. We all have them. We get wrapped up in life and it’s crazy circumstances, and then, behave in ways that are not the most aligned.

Because it is true that we all have these traits, it doesn’t make us bad for being this way. We don’t have to beat ourselves up when we mess up, or get totally down when we know better and still don’t do better. We are humans, it’s lifelong work to unpack and uncover who we are and why we act the way we do. 

One of the most meaningful and impactful practices I have incorporated into my life, has been to really understand my own toxic patterns, witness them when they are playing out, and consciously choose to act differently, in a more aligned way, all the while holding the space and grace for myself and for my own missteps.

Toxic patterns can show up anywhere in our lives, from romantic relationships to colleagues to family. For me personally, I know that in certain circumstances when it comes to romantic relationships, I get triggered and act completely out of character. It’s almost like an out of body experience, where I look back and have to ask myself, “who even was that?”. The feelings of regret and remorse when we do and say things that are out of alignment never feel great, so it’s my hope for this week’s blog to help us all understand these dynamics at play in our lives, so maybe, we can choose differently, and treat ourselves more compassionately.

When it comes to toxic patterns and behaviors it’s important to……..

Know your triggers–Are there certain people or places or circumstances that make you feel like you’re automatically in fight or flight mode? Do you feel like you act out of impulse rather than rationale? Take note of these specific kinds of situations, the more knowledge you have of yourself, the better.

Notice the red flags–Red flags are tiny signs and sirens happening in our lives to let us know that something isn’t right. It could be the behavior of someone you’ve just let into your life, it could be manipulations, it could be actions that cause you to feel triggered. It’s incredibly important to notice the red flags, and make sure you don’t make excuses for them and deny that they are there.

Set aligned boundaries–Boundaries are massive when it comes to releasing toxicity, and the funny thing is, boundaries don’t have to be a bad thing. Setting boundaries is not about keeping people away, rather it is a powerful act of self-care. If you know that something or someone will bring out unpleasant behavior, set standards for yourself and those around you, to set yourself up for success.

Acknowledge your own behavior–It’s always helpful to take responsibility for yourself and your behaviors if you feel like you’ve acted out of character. People love people who own their actions, and you’ll feel better about yourself when you own it, too.

I say this often, but I believe it to be true so I’ll say it again, awareness is the true key to change. When we are aware, we can make shifts, big and small, to create a life that feels more aligned and less toxic. So here’s to doing just that!

xo, Michelle


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The Practice by Barb Schmidt

Barb offers readers life-changing spiritual guidance in an easy to follow format, and what makes this book so magnificent is that she has infused her own stories and struggles to help readers connect and learn.
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