Toxic

It’s the little things that inject poison into your life.

There’s a particular flavor of soda that I really like. I often absentmindedly buy a bottle or two of it when I have an opportunity. I’ll drink them in rapid succession, enjoy them in the moment, and then find that I have a headache within a day or two and I don’t feel all that great.

There’s an old acquaintance of mine who posts hate-filled diatribes on Facebook. If the ranting and raving came from someone I didn’t know, they wouldn’t bother me. The fact that it’s a person who I’ve known for so long and always thought had more sense than that somehow bothers me very deeply.

There’s a particular team-based computer game that I enjoy playing with friends. The only problem is that if I play three or four games of it, I usually wind up getting really irritated with the people on my team and come away with some negative feelings towards myself and towards the people I was playing with.

There’s one particular person in my life who seems to take pleasure in informing me that I’m doing things wrong with my life. In this person’s eyes, I’m wasting my life and damaging my children by not having a “normal” job, and this is on top of criticisms about my marriage, my parenting style, and other issues.

There’s a shop in a nearby town that’s run by an old friend. Whenever I’m near it, I feel guilty and sometimes go in there. Whenever I’m in there, I feel guilty about not supporting my friend and wind up buying something I don’t need.

These five things (and many more) are toxic elements in my life. Each of them consistently bring down my attitude, my self-esteem, my financial well-being, and other aspects of my life.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve started taking actions on them, one by one.

I used a trick from a friend and added a bunch of vinegar, dill, and hot pepper to a bottle of the soda, then drank it. At this point, the thought of drinking another bottle of it sounds disgusting, and I’m not going to spend my money on it any more.

I left a brief note for my friend saying that a lot of his friends don’t agree with him on those issues. It received a bunch of likes and then was deleted. Since then, there have been no crazy rants, and in fact there was something of an apology.

I uninstalled the computer game and instead keep up with those friends using other means.

I told the life critic that I’m comfortable with the choices I’ve made and I can live with the mistakes I’ve made, and left it at that.

I made the simple decision to shop at my friend’s store only when I actually had a reason to buy an item from there, but that I would make sure that my friend would be the vendor of choice for those items.

These changes felt good, not just in the moment at which I took action, but in the positive effects that carried over in my life. There are fewer elements bringing down my day, fewer dollars leaving my pocket, and a greater sense of well-being when I reflect on my day.

I challenge you to do the same thing. Think of five small things that are an irritant in your life. They can be financially related or not. They just need to be little things that bother you on a consistent basis.

Then, use them as a checklist. Come up with a way to lessen or eliminate the irritation from each of those things. You’ll be able to eliminate some, but with others you’ll find improvement from just reducing the impact it has on you.

What you’ll find is that your entire day-to-day life subtly improves. You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll also find it easier to make great decisions each day.

Do a subtle detox on your life. You’ll be surprised as to what it can change.

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