Can People Really Be Toxic?

Raise your standards, choose to be with happy and supportive people. Don’t let anyone belittle your dreams; they are real, fear is not.
— Unknown

There is a lot of talk these days about "toxic" people and how you should avoid being around them. They are those people who drain you and bring negative energy into your life. And while it is true that there are people who can seem to suck the life out of you, I'm not sure avoiding or excluding them from your life is the answer.

Happiness is an inside job. When you allow others to determine whether you are happy or not, you are giving away your power. 

Before raising your standards for others, try raising your standards for yourself. Are you a happy and supportive person? 

Can you hear the deep need being expressed by a so-called "toxic" person? How many of us would say we have a need to be unhappy?

Now I am not saying anyone should continue on in a relationship that is harmful or dangerous. Nor am I saying we should surround ourselves with negative, energy-draining people. Thankfully, my own nearest and dearest are happy and supportive. But my suspicion is that those "toxic" people who come to mind are not toxic at all; they are just deeply hurting people who need to be surrounded by happy and supportive people--just like the rest of us.

No one can be perfectly free ‘til all are free; no one can be perfectly moral ‘til all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy ‘til all are happy.
— Herbert Spencer