Note: This is a guest post by JoLynn Braley of The Fit Shack
The human potential is limitless and when you consciously choose to work on your personal growth you will not only improve your life but also benefit the entire world. Every bit you do to raise your own consciousness contributes to the level of global consciousness.
When you look at your personal growth path like this you might not think that your self-improvement could result in uncovering some unwelcome issues in your life, however this can and does occur for many people.
One result of improving yourself is that you will begin to see your relationships with new eyes. Either you will come to appreciate the people in your life even more than you used to because you will see how truly loving and supportive they are, or you will wake up and see that you have some people in your life who do not have your highest good in mind.
Uncovering a Toxic Relationship
Let’s take a common area of personal growth, a place where many begin their path to improvement: the physical self. I’m a strong believer that if you truly desire to ascend the scale of consciousness that the overall health of your physical being plays a large role in this, so the physical is a great place to start your personal growth process.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at things!), beginning a weight loss and fitness regime can quickly uncover a toxic relationship if you weren’t already aware that you were in one. And even though we’re talking about building a healthy lifestyle in order to gain fitness in body, mind, and spirit, even people who are solely focused on weight loss to improve their looks can uncover toxic relationships.
A Good Example
If you were previously stuck in an unhealthy lifestyle rut of junk food and inactivity and you begin to eat whole foods, getting outside for a 30-minute walk each day while your partner (spouse, lover, friend, the term doesn’t matter) is not on the same path as you are, you’ll probably begin to notice some “feedback”. Maybe they were your eating partner, your partner in an inactive and non-nurturing lifestyle and if so, there are a couple of things that can occur:
- They will become inspired by your healthy changes and begin to make changes to their own lifestyle. They will express their love and support for you and take actions to support your healthy changes while you also support theirs.
- They will become threatened by your changes and criticize your improvements. They will heap negative statements on you discouraging your steps, telling you that it won’t last and that your changes will never last. They will continue to bring home all of your favorite junk foods even after you ask them not to.
Number 2 is an example of toxic relationship. A toxic relationship does not support your highest good in life and is controlling, manipulative, and critical. A toxic relationship is jealous, threatened, insecure, and abusive.
Toxic = Major Negativity
Toxic relationships are negative, draining, and abusive, and abusive not necessarily in a physical manner but in a mental, emotional, and spiritual manner. I believe that verbal and emotional abuse can often be even more damaging than physical abuse because if you internalize that negativity and believe it you may continue to “beat yourself up” with those same negative words and thoughts long after the toxic relationship is out of your life.
Usually it’s very easy to realize that you’re involved in a toxic relationship however if you have been in the relationship long term you may have become used to the negativity. If you are noticing that your partner is not supportive of your positive changes and wondering if you might be involved in an unhealthy, toxic relationship, here’s an easy quiz you can take to find out.
Don’t Make This Mistake
Sure, miracles can happen and people do change but only if they want to change for their own reasons. The only person you can change is yourself and if you are not getting the positive support that you need in your relationship you can ask for it and communicate how you’re feeling but in the end you cannot expect your partner to change.
Since it’s true that often people do not change (at least not per your timetable), the mistake that some make is that they stop their own personal growth out of fear of losing the toxic relationship even though they intellectually know that it is not healthy for them. They may fear being alone or believe that they are too old and cannot change their relationship status. They think that they may as well resign themselves to “their lot in life” and hang in there, even though they will never receive positive support from the toxic relationship.
A Toxic Relationship Will Bring You Down
The problem is that if you stay in the toxic relationship it will more than likely drag you down. If you think that you can “bring it up” to a higher level, there is still the simple fact that you cannot change anyone except yourself and if your partner does not want to change (which is their right), you cannot expect them to.
I don’t think that a negative, unhealthy, toxic relationship is worth hanging on to for either party. At the same time though, I cannot say that it’s always an easy thing to choose your own health (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) above a relationship and it does take a strong person to do so, but it can certainly be done.
It is also very possible to leave the toxic relationship with love and while your partner may not be happy with this, above all you must love and respect yourself. If staying in the relationship takes you out of integrity with yourself you are not treating yourself with respect, which will create and attract more negativity in your life.
There Are No Victims – Another Possible Outcome
Something else that can stop you from pursuing your positive path is the fear of looking at your own contribution to the toxic relationship. We cannot blame everything on the other person since it does take two to be in a toxic relationship. If you’ve woken up and can see that you’re in one it can be challenging to take responsibility for your part in creating the relationship.
Something else to consider is that you just might find that you are the main source of the toxic relationship! Perhaps you got together with a great person and they have stayed with you even though they have been brought down by the negativity in the relationship.
While it still takes two if your partner forgives you and by working on your physical self (which will effect your mental, emotional, and spiritual self) you detoxify the relationship, you may be able to restore it to it’s original state of health and even eclipse it with your partner’s help.
It Doesn’t Have to be All Bad
No matter what stage of personal growth you are in be aware of whether your relationships are supportive or toxic and don’t let fear of loss of a relationship hold you back from going forward in your journey of self-growth. If it’s truly meant to be your partner will choose to come along with you but if not and they do not support your positive improvements then they are not interested in your highest good here on Earth.
In the end though, just because your personal growth uncovers a toxic relationship in your life it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing. Whether you stay together and “clean it up” or you part because that is what you need to do for your highest good, as long as where you end up is the most supportive place for you then life is bringing you the good stuff – the good stuff that is always waiting for you to allow it into your life.
JoLynn Braley blogs at The Fit Shack about creating a healthy lifestyle to lose weight and get fit. She takes a holistic approach to weight loss and fitness, the end goal being fitness for body, mind, and spirit, not just weight loss.
This article is part of August 2008 theme: Relationships
Photo by DerrickT