How To Be A Less Toxic Person

How To Be A Less Toxic Person

Curing the mean disease.

What makes a person toxic? I imagine it is someone who not only says and does harmful things to themselves, but to others as well. There are tons of articles advising people to avoid toxic people, but what if the toxic person is you? The first step to becoming a more decent human being is to recognize your own toxicity.

Being a toxic person generally means being an unpleasant person. So, if you notice that people ditch plans with lame excuses, answer you with one word texts, never contact you before you contact them, exclude you from plans, and show no interest in your well-being, well, it may be time to reflect.

Now that you've recognized that you are in fact a toxic person, take a minute and think about what you could do differently. Is everything you say negative? Do you whine and complain about things you have no right to, like being tired after a Netflix binge while your friend has just spent a bajillion hours in the library writing a paper? Are you just flat out mean to others? Do you say condescending things all the time or brag about yourself? Do you only talk about yourself? Nobody's perfect, but it's also important to realize how your actions may affect others.

All of the above criteria for being a toxic person can become habits, but there's no reason that they can't be broken. If you went to kindergarten and were taught the valuable lesson to treat others the way you want to be treated, you should be golden. It's not hard to withhold insults toward people who have only been nice to you. It's more difficult to emit negativity like the sun emits energy and light than it is to simply be a decent human being to other human beings.

So how do you fix yourself? Ask yourself how much you really know about the people you consider your close friends. If you don't at least know their favorite food, you probably haven't been paying much attention. Maybe ask how the other person is doing rather than rambling about yourself. Recognize when and how much you are complaining, and try to talk about something funny or positive for a change.

What you should take away from this completely serious article is that it's easy to not be a toxic person. If you have noticed some of the above things, the prescription for such a disease is simply to change the way you act and be nice. :)

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Whether Trump Said 'Shithole' Or 'Shithouse' Is Completely Irrelevant

Either word would have a racist connotation.

It is time for everyone to stop beating around the bush and face the music. The President of the United States is racist. After his statement where he called Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations shithole countries, it could not be more blatantly obvious that he views anyone that is not white as inferior. Even though Trump is shameless about his racism, his supporters continue to find a way to defend him until the very end.

The version of Trump’s words from the immigration meeting that are currently circulating is that he actually said shithouse countries and not shithole countries. Supposedly, a shithouse country refers to a country where you would have to walk outside to use an outhouse. This is being described as a non-racist word because it is being used to describe the inadequate plumbing in those nations. However, the use of either one of those words would further prove that Trump is a racist.

Calling El Salvador a shithole or shithouse country both have the same connotation of it being a country that is lesser than the United States. Even if Trump had said shithouse, it does not magically make him a non-racist person because his intention of using that word would not have been to discuss the state of plumbing in El Salvador but rather to emphasize his belief that the United States is far too good for any immigrants from those countries.

Americans are fixated on the fact that Trump used profanity in the meeting and not on the fact that the person leading our country is making decisions over immigration based solely on his own ignorant perceptions of people of color. He has only ever had negative comments to make when talking about countries where the citizens are mostly people of color.

In the same meeting where Trump said shithole countries, he mentioned that the United States should instead be bringing in immigrants from Norway, which is a mostly white country. Why is immigration suddenly acceptable when the immigrants that would be coming are white? Would Trump be up in arms over white immigrants wanting a path to citizenship? Of course not because he only sees white people as being an asset to the nation. Trump said that “the people of Norway work very hard,” as if Haitians, Salvadorans, and Africans are not hardworking. In fact, without Salvadorans, Haitians, and Hondurans in the U.S. labor force, the United States would lose $164 billion in gross domestic product over the next decade. Not only that, but the Los Angeles Times found that “of the 1.4 million [sub-Saharan African immigrants] who are 25 and older, 41% have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 30% of all immigrants and 32% of the U.S.-born population. Of the 19,000 U.S. immigrants from Norway — a country Trump reportedly told lawmakers is a good source of immigrants — 38% have college educations.”

The United States needs to stop ignoring the true issue at hand. The President cursing while in a meeting with lawmakers should not be the focus when the message he wanted to convey through his curse words was that the United States should only accept white people with open arms because any country with citizens that are mostly people of color are automatically shitholes.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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5 Decades Later, Is Dr. King's Dream Still Alive?

Let's set aside our differences and live in harmony.

“Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord why don't we?” For the past few days, this song has been playing to in my head and I am currently listening to it as I write this. When we listen to music time after time we dive deeper into the song to find the meaning. Whether it is Logic’s "1-800-273-8255 " — which, after researching, we learn is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and now know this song was a way for Logic to reach out and help — or Alessia Cara’s "Scars to Your Beautiful" — which is about body image and how everyone is beautiful, also contributes to a deep meaning argument.

Songs all have meaning and the meanings provided are something that could be beneficial to each and every one of us. Some songs make us emotional and some of them make us stop and think. I can hear a song and I’ll sit there and just wonder what did I just listen to. Obviously, when I heard the song “Ebony and Ivory ” for the first time I knew it was about living in a world where we can both get along but I didn’t know who wrote it or when it was written. It had meaning to me and that while there are times we might struggle to get along we must always fight to live together in perfect harmony.

This song was written and performed in 1982 by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, who without a doubt are two of the best songwriters and singers of the 20th century. It is a number one single but it also tackles a huge issue at the time and something still huge in our time and society.

Recently we observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day which is a day where we remember a leader of the Civil Rights Movement who worked for everyone to get along. With this song being written twenty years after MLK’s March on Washington it can be stated that this song went a long way. While it was common to sing with other famous artists and it still is, it might not have been as common for two people to sing about an issue such as race especially when it was in the 1980s.

It has been more than 50 years since the March on Washington and more than 60 years since the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. So much has been accomplished since that time but I feel there are times where everything we work for isn’t shown. Recently my university witnessed one of our own say a racial slur on one of her social networks. The University of Alabama responded by expelling her. While this event is still fresh in my mind I can't help but think about how this wasn’t the dream MLK had in mind. I know it is going to be difficult for everyone to get along but we need to understand that there is a time and place for saying some things and some things aren’t worth mentioning.

I strongly urge everyone to go listen to this song by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. I have been blessed enough to have friends from all backgrounds and being able to see two famous musicians make beautiful music makes me feel even better. Being able to see something like this continues to give me hope for the future.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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