Why You Are Toxic (And How To Change)

Moshood Abiolu Written by Moshood Abiolu · 2 min read >

Dr. Gabor, a psychologist once said, “human beings have two psychological needs namely attachment and authenticity. Of the two, authenticity is greater.”

Attachment comes in the form of relationship with others whether that is at work, romantic, family, or friendships. Our authenticity is how true we are to our core values.

Out of a fear of being alone, people attach to anyone or group pretending to be who and what they are not. This shedding of our true selves cause us to act in ways that is opposite to our self-image. This is the beginning of toxicity.

I Am Not Who I Think I Am

“I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am.” – Thich Nhat Tat

How many times have you hidden your core value to “fit in?” Many people are shamed for revealing their true self in their friendships. You hear sentences like,

  • “You aren’t smart.”
  • “You aren’t sharp.”
  • “You aren’t manly.”
  • etc.

These words hurt people deeply and to soothe that pain, they give in to the pressure. However, their conscience eats them up inside.

This happens in friendships where the glue that keeps everyone together is something irresponsible. When someone with a different value joins the group, he or she is shamed for not upholding that value. With that, the group begins to ostracise that person from its activities, simply because that person is “not cool enough.” Out of desperation, that person begins to shed his or her core value and starts incorporating the group’s value.

In our current relationship and social climate, the more toxic you are, the more celebrated you are. Think I am lying? I am willing to bet that the most celebrated person in your relationships are:

  • The best alcohol drinker
  • The best smoker
  • The most promiscuous
  • Etc

Nobody grows up aiming to be any of this. However, we are shamed or seduced into it. 

The Way Out

People with the greatest vices have the loudest voices.

The way out of your toxicity is to become as authentic as possible. This is the reason Dr. Gabor said that authenticity is greater than attachment. When you are unapologetically authentic, the people who love you do so wholeheartedly. They know who and what you are, from your flaws to your strength and they are completely in awe of it. When you start living this way, you begin to attract people of the same value and beliefs.

I am not saying the journey to authenticity is easy – far from it. If you have spent 5 or 6 years pretending to be who you are not, you can’t undo that in two weeks. The first step however, is to begin. How do you begin?

  • Write down the complete morals and beliefs that’s been guiding your life.
  • In front of each, write the people who influenced the belief or moral.
  • Cross out the values and morals that doesn’t sit well with you.
  • Start living life from the values and morals that’s yours.

Research has found that people who sacrifice relationships to stay authentic attract people with the same values, morals, beliefs, and have more satisfying and healthier romantic relationships than those who do the opposite. Isn’t that the kind of relationships we all desire? Relationships where we are seen for who we are and don’t have to hide a thing.

I want that. Don’t you?



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