Toxic people poison those around them. They gain satisfaction creating disorganization and a stressful atmosphere. Life is stressful enough for most of us. Allowing a toxic individual to ravage your immediate environment can cause havoc in your mental well-being, and can lead to physical challenges. A bad state of mind not only affects your physical well-being but makes it difficult for you to respond calmly under pressure. Ninety percent of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions, so your ability to perform effectively requires that you adopt strategies to deal with toxic people.

  1. Successful People Establish Boundaries. There is a fine line between being friendly and allowing somebody to jeopardize your ability to remain effective. Successful people understand this and do not allow the toxic among them to take charge, and opt to set effective boundaries.

  2. No One Limits Their Joy. How much do the words of those around you affect your state of mind? Successful people have mastered the ability to ensure that negative remarks do not affect their sense of accomplishment. Toxic people like to break you down with rude, hurtful comments, and gain satisfaction from watching you fall apart. Learn to react less to the opinions of others, especially those you know do not have your well-being at heart.

  3. They Have Mastered the Art of Rising Above. Those who master the act of rising above can remain rational and calm in the face of the irrational and chaotic under any circumstances.

  4. They Are Solution Focused. If you spend more time focused on the effect of the negative person than on achieving your goals, you have a problem. Focus on goals, not negatives.

  5. They Understand the Importance of Support. Reach out to your mentors. They have experienced what you are going through. Co-workers, team members, even family and friends may have tips to help you get by. The emotionally intelligent know how to tap into resources to get through the challenges of working with toxic people. Talk to SCORE.

  6. They Are Aware. Self-awareness is important: it knows which personal buttons to push to prevent reactions. Lack of emotional control empowers the toxic people in your life.

  7. Forget-Me-Nots. Being forgiving comes with being emotionally intelligent. It leaves you unburdened by the mistakes of others and gives peace of mind. It doesn’t require you to forget whom to trust. It lets you stop wasting energy on those you cannot trust.

  8. They Store Their Energy for Better Opportunities. The toxic thrive on chaos, and will do anything to take you down to their level. Understanding your limits will help you to avoid dangerous situations. Choose battles wisely; conserve your energy for bigger things.

Those we look up to as able to comport themselves well in challenging situations do not have a magic solution in their pocket. They worked hard to become emotionally intelligent. Consider the challenges you have had toxic people. Stop them. You’ll enjoy the difference.

We thank Drew Hendricks for these helpful comments.

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