How Toxic Are You?

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Reflecting on your own outlook can help you in a lot of ways, as well as realizing that your negativity is counterproductive.

Standing in the break room, I couldn’t help but think it was unbelievable. I just started a new job at a fantastic dental practice, and I am speechless. My new co-worker–the one who is supposed to help acclimate me to my new job–is a terror. I am walking on eggshells here, but figure this is a safe place to share my nightmare.

My hours at my previous job were cut because business slowed up. I could go into a rant about how poorly the business was run and how the dentist would close the shop and head to the gym instead of looking at how to get more patients through the door. But what is the point? I rely on my job to pay the bills and keep a roof over our head. When you are a single parent, cutting hours is a catastrophe.

I decided to play it smart and not wait for the other shoe to drop. As I dusted off my resume, my search began. And here I am. Two days into what I thought was going to be a great opportunity, I am not sure I want to come back tomorrow. But do I really have a choice?

I realized there was a bigger picture. There are people who are just toxic. Some are at work. Others may be at the gym or grocery store. Today, another swimmer came into the locker room spitting fire, complaining that she had left her expensive shampoo in the shower the day before and now it is gone. Could housekeeping have dumped a semi-empty forgotten shampoo container in the garbage while cleaning? When she came back for it, it was gone. When I returned to the locker room after my workout, she picked up right where she left off spewing anger on another topic.

That bothered the heck out of me that her negativity was impeding my tranquil workout. Some of us workout to deal with stress. I was thinking a few choice words about her and wonder what her problem is. Life is so short and can change on a dime, yet we waste so much time being unhappy. And then, that unhappiness spews forth whether training a new person or violating the sanctity of a locker room.


I took this idea even deeper and started to question whether I am a negative person. I started a journal for 2 weeks and was surprised about my self-awareness. The purpose of the journal was to keep track of how negative or positive I am. I learned that I tend to only document my feelings when I am in a good place, but that doesn’t mean negative things don’t happen. I had a heck of a week and yet, those feelings did not make it into the journal. How bizarre.

I processed my thoughts and realized that even though some terrible things happened to my family this past week, we did not give up hope. Some things improved, yet others did not, but my mindset was what interested me the most. You see, I am awesome going through a crisis, but then I melt down. I ended up silent and watched an entire streaming series on Hulu. That was how I was able to decompress.

I walked away thinking about how lucky we are. Yes, the nightmare situation continues, but what matters is how I deal with it.

How do you deal with the trauma in your life? Loss of a job? An obnoxious coworker? Do not get me wrong, the trauma is real. Stress and pain are the real things. But how you cope, how you choose to look at the world, and how you live your life is what matters.

I know I am not toxic. With the co-worker, I am not going to let her diminish my optimism. She is not important in the grand scheme of things. Instead, I am choosing to live my best life and plan to be happy at my new job. Besides, karma has a way of handling things in its own time. Just be patient.

How toxic are you? Are you caught up in nonsense that you continue to carry? Or are you someone who can “let things go?” I would love to hear your answer! Email me at