Toxic noise doesn’t just blast out of your television or spew forth from your social media. We are profoundly impacted by all varieties of inputs in our lives. These inputs can alter our actions, our emotions, our perspective, and our attitude – even in the workplace. 

Studies have shown that employee’s attitudes can be altered based on their associates and who they interact with most frequently. This issue is so prevalent, that some HR professionals are taking care to examine personalities when it comes to building teams and departmental dynamics as a part of organizational development.

People’s behavior patterns, beliefs, and outlooks will be shaped by those that they are close to.

Be Careful of the Company You Keep

We tend to ‘rub off’ on the people we spend the most time with. Those you associate with will either lift you up or drag you down. Choosing who you spend time with is more important that you might think! People’s behavior patterns, beliefs, and outlooks will be shaped by those that they are close to. Think about the people you spend the most time with – are they ‘lifters’ or ‘downers’?

Most of us typically gravitate to those that possess naturally buoyant personalities and steer clear of those that have a toxic outlook on life. However, what if that negative quicksand lives with you, is a close relative or works right next to you – then what??

You either become the unselfconscious victim . . . or you wake up, realize how much the toxic noise impacts you and do your best to mitigate it. Living as a victim is optional. 

“Happiness is not a condition, it’s a decision”. – Unknown

Control & The Lies We Tell Ourselves

First, understand what you ARE in control of your life. Second: accept what you are NOT in control of (which is a lot). 

For example: you are not in control of the weather, traffic, and other people – including politics and whatever craziness is posted on social media. Yelling at the traffic won’t make it go away. You are only in control of YOU and your response to situations.

You cannot control other people. You may influence them, but there are no guarantees for change. The typical delusional things we will tell ourselves are:

If I can convince them of the facts they’ll see the light.

If you want a guarantee on something, buy a toaster. People don’t come with guarantees and won’t necessarily change regardless of ‘facts’.

I can’t be happy until this relationship is fixed.

Setting a negative condition on your happiness based on something that is largely out of your control is unhealthy. This is like handing someone else the keys to our happiness and deciding not to drive anymore.

If I’m patient and hang in there, they’ll eventually come around.

Patience is a virtue but false hope can damage both parties. If we think that we can affect some sort of change on another – we are taking responsibility for them. In truth: they are responsible for their choices and the consequences of those choices. 

The Power of Influence

Whether you realize it or not, you are being molded by those you are close to and look up to in life. Their very presence makes a difference. Humans naturally model the behavior they see. We have done this from childhood. 

By setting an example, you set the standard of behavior for others. Just remember that you cannot force people to change. Here are the keys to unlocking healthy relationships:

  • Choose how you respond instead of reacting through intentional awareness.
  • Accept what you can control and let go of what you cannot.
  • Learn how to influence without the expectation of change or reward.
  • Set respectful boundaries on behavior from others, your time and stick to your priorities.
  • Deal with situations with integrity and kindness – even if the other person doesn’t.
  • Don’t allow others to set the standard for your behavior.

How to Survive

Years ago I realized that I was becoming a victim of all the toxic noise bombarding me daily. In the morning it was the News on TV, traffic on the commute with negativity on the radio. In the evening: more traffic, more toxic noise, and more bad inputs.

I decided to mitigate the negative input. By being intentional, it allows me to remain emotionally centered so I could respond better to the people that really matter in my life. 

I refuse to watch TV in the morning. Instead, I will make an action plan for the day and meditate. On the way to and from work, I listen to something funny while driving. In the evening, I focus on my loved ones and take time before bed to write in my journal or read a book. I can catch up on News online and I’m not impacted every day by the toxic noise spewing forth into my life. I can respond and not react. I can THINK.

Daily Challenge

Try this for 3 days: observe the things you allow into your mind and that affects your ‘set point’. Are these things positive or negative and what is their origin? Observe the people you spend time with – are they ‘lifter’s or ‘downers’ and how do they impact you? 

The first step to unplugging from the toxic noise is observation and awareness. When we feel like craziness is controlling our lives and we can’t escape the negative quicksand – we need to check our inputs. Only then can we become aware and then respond appropriately to move forward into a life of freedom.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got” – Unknown

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