In my last article on Thursday, I accentuated the importance of having a sound mental health. It is obligatory to take care of our mind. There are so many effective ways to do so! But the problem is that we are social beings and neighboured by many kinds of people both virtually and physically. And our mental health also largely relies on our surroundings. Even when we say “who cares!” there is always something to take care of. Unfortunately, we often fail to understand people’s true nature. And when we realise some, it often gets too late. Some people have venomous personality. They add vitriol to our life and make it as miserable as they are. Our happy and happening life meets a tragic end for them. These are toxic people. Even during this lockdown, we should identify and effectively avoid these toxic people to live a better and healthier life.However, it is very important to locate and identify the toxic people around us. This is not an easy job. There are many toxic people among the close family members and relatives. We are too emotional to notice their toxicity and negativity, especially when they are very close to us. Apparently, they seem emotional and sensitive about us. You must know someone like this. They play the victim role to persuade your attention. They often try to win you by imposing their opinions and proving others wrong.
Toxic people try to control you by putting the blame on your shoulder. They love to make you feel guilty. Mothers of small children can relate to this more. Notice ladies, there are always a few people who are there to look for your shortcomings. “Why haven’t you done that?”, “You could have done this.”, “you know nothing”, “huh, we were moms too!”. Identifiable, aren’t they? This blame-game is their favourite thing to do. They will passionately garden their hobby and make you feel exhausted. After having an encounter with them, you will feel emotionally downtrodden.
After noticing these signs, now you know who the mephitic and noxious people are around you. You have to make sure you keep a distance with these pestilential people. Here comes the question “how?”. Simply by keeping yourself aware of these poisonous personalities, you can maintain a distance. After all, we are in the age of social distancing! Anyway, these people bring no good to your life. They put themselves first and try to use you for their success. If a relationship is a game of dice, the toxic people are the snakes. They will bite you when you are about to reach your goal. But they are cunning enough to use you for lading up their social and financial position. Don’t be a ladder for those who are snakes for you.
There are a few toxic people who we cannot avoid. They are the closed ones. Not everyone is fortunate enough of being blessed with a supportive and understanding family. There are dysfunctional families too where the members become jealous of each other and envy other’s success. Since we have to co-exist, we can still avoid them diplomatically. We can live under the same roof and still not get affected by their toxicity.
Not only in families, but also in workplaces, there are many maligns who love to backbite and talk bad about others in their absence. In this case, setting a boundary helps a lot. So, it is better to keep the connection to the professional level. If you set the boundaries at the beginning and make it clear, the toxic people themselves will understand their limit. At home or in office, the boundary formula works!Women, especially the married ones, in our country always face challenges to make their acquaintances happy when they reside with hard-to-please people. Dear ladies, the more you give, the more they will expect and literally want from you. Toxic people will not try to understand your realistic situation. So, it is better you be yourself. You are a human being, not an episode of a comedy show. You cannot and are not bound to please everyone at the same time. So, first of all, you need to think more practically and stop trying to entertain others.
So, what will you do during this lockdown? Perform your duties and responsibilities. Don’t pay attention to abusive and argumentative words. These will only make you feel unwell. Notice others, but do not get obsessed. Rather take care of yourself. Nurture all the good qualities in you. You cannot change others and so, don’t let others change you by belittling your self-esteem. Speak carefully. They will make you feel uncomfortable so that you raise your voice and everyone can mark you as a quarrelsome shrew. Remember, there is a proverb “bobar shotru nei”. So, speak as it is required. You have to survive this lockdown. Everyone is struggling with their sanity. So, excuse these toxicities with a simple smile. Being humorous is the key to avoid and redirect irksome conversations.
When we were kids, our parents used to warn us about people who talk bad, behave improperly and are good-for-nothing. They were right! When toxic people, especially the unavoidable ones, are taking a toll on you, talk to an empathizer who can lead you to the right path and can ease your distressed mind. In my personal experience, family members with sane and sensible minds are usually good listeners and advisors. In some cases, there can be good-hearted colleagues and generous teachers who also help to reduce anxiety. During lockdown, we are maintaining social distancing. So, it is hard to go and meet some good souls. But, you can always call them and connect with them via social media.
Finally, good people always help to create good memories. This lockdown has a long-lasting impact on our psyche. It is very important to remain sane. Therefore, even in lockdown, we must avoid the in-house and virtual toxic and negative people. And it is also necessary not to be toxic for someone. So, be kind, be generous, be happy and stay away from toxic people.
The writer is Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University Chittagong