"Letting toxic people go is not an act of cruelty. It's an act of self-care." -Unknown

We are told to focus on the grand scheme of our lives in terms of bringing us happiness and wellbeing, but from my experience, it's the small parts of our everyday lives that have the most impact on ourselves. Reaching our larger goals is an immensely satisfying experience, but the process tends to be more important than the outcome. Our lives are not defined by outcomes, but by minute processes, by each moment, day, week, month, year that passes. And in order to develop the joyful flow of our existences, it's necessary to remove or reduce sources of toxicity as much as possible.

Until recently, I learned to bear the load of toxicity on my shoulders because of the outcomes I desired. I tolerated toxic people with the hope that they would change, I worked until I couldn't work anymore because I thought that was right, I checked social media, texts, emails all day long for the short-term gratification and feeling of fulfilling my responsibility to others even if it drained all of my energy. I had completely neglected myself with a false sense of what should be a part of my life. Each time I rid myself of another source of toxicity, I was able to take care of myself better in the present and move towards my future goals. You can do the same for yourself. Life is too short to tolerate toxicity.

Without further ado, here are 40 sources of toxicity in my life, both past and present:

1. Excessive checking of social media, email, texts 

2. Mindless TV and video watching

3. Staying with partners who didn't treat me well

4. Complaining without coming up with productive solutions

5. Putting others' wellbeing over mine

6. Neglecting to take breaks

7. Saying 'yes' to every opportunity that comes my way

8. The belief that I can predict what happens to me in the future

9. Making decisions out of fear

10. Underestimating myself

11. Giving second (or third or fourth) chances to people

12. Apologizing for who I am

13. Not allowing myself the time to heal from emotional and/or physical pain

14. Holding myself to impossible standards

15. Self-sabotage

16. Focusing on perceived failures, but not celebrating my many successes

17. Circular thoughts

18. Neglecting to take care of my basic needs

19. Saying "I'm fine" when I'm not

20. The belief that everything that happens to me is my fault--or my responsibility

21. Putting anyone on a pedestal

22. The premature conclusion that I really know someone

23. Self-deprecation

24. Trying to understand why a person treated me poorly, instead of simply moving on

25. 'What ifs'

26. Engaging with people who make me feel bad about myself

27. Passively accepting how people treat me, instead of confronting them about it

28. Taking on the pain of those around me

29. Feeling ashamed because of differences in beliefs of lifestyles

30. Searching the internet for questions that cannot be answered through the internet

31. The lack of courage to directly ask what I want to know

32. The fear of receiving a bad answer

33. The fear of ends and uncertain beginnings

34. Keeping my mouth shut when words need to be said

35. Letting other people determine my worth

36. Relying on others for gratification and validation

37. Using superficial means to find relationships (e.g. dating apps)

38. Generalizations

39. Automatic negative thoughts

40. Following the well-beaten path, instead of following my passions

There is no end to these sorts of lists the further and further you dive into yourself; however, do not allow yourself to be discouraged by unearthing sources of toxicity in your life. Use this as an opportunity to become more aware of places for self-growth and self-improvement in the future. We are all susceptible to all of these sources of toxicity, but with an increased awareness, you allow yourself to come up with better solutions and live a more joyful and happy life.