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The best way to deal with toxic people || Acharya Prashant, with NIT-Calicut (2022)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
142 reads

Questioner (Q): Namaste Sir. My question is, how to deal with the toxic people in our daily life, where sometimes their behaviour adds negativity and upsets my life? And how to deal with such situation and how to stay positive when I am dealing with such personalities?

Acharya Prashant (Q): How did you, first of all, manage to accommodate so many toxic people in your daily life? Like attracts like. My question to you is: how did you, first of all, have so many toxic people gravitated to you, how did that happen? It’s a miracle.

Q: Not so many, Sir. One or two people, they are always manipulating.

AP: Even those two people, how are they managing to stick around. Why are they still in your sensory or mental domain? Why do you see them? Why do you think of them?

Q: Because I can’t avoid them.

AP: That’s exactly what toxicity is—something that cannot be avoided. That’s everybody’s apology and explanation, just as you say you cannot avoid toxic people, similarly, the toxic people say they cannot avoid being toxic. That’s everybody’s apology, now what do you do? Tell me.

Q: My problem is, I always react to them, especially when they are manipulating, when they are there behaving wrongly. Sometimes I am not able to… I used to think that I will be silent, but some situation I can’t so…

AP: No, no, we need to stick to my question. Why are these people there in your life at all?

Q: Like, of course, they are family members. So…

AP: Why do they need to be necessarily there in your life? Who told you that the family is bigger than everything else? You are not born to be a family woman. You born to be liberated. Liberation is bigger than everything. Your gender, your identities, your roles, your relationships, all of these are subservient to your existential purpose. You do not exist to be a family member. You are born alone, you’ll die alone, what is this thing about family?

The only thing that remains with you is the height of consciousness that you could reach. In fact, the ones who have known have told us, that if you could reach great heights and even transcend the heights, those heights remain so much with you that, even your death does not matter, you become immortal. Will the family remain with you always? They are already bothering you so much.

Q: Not everyone, but some people because just two days back, they were judging and manipulating, and I couldn’t control myself, so I said something, I reacted, but that affected me.

AP: You are not being fully willing to consider my question. If there are such people, what compulsion do you have to have interactions with them? Please, tell me. And it is these compulsions that fuel the toxicity. If toxicity knew that it would be thrown out of the widow, then it would change its ways, but it does not mend itself because it knows that it would be accommodated. Why do you accommodate it so much? And by accommodating it, are you doing yourself any good? Are you doing the other person any good? That person will continue to remain toxic; you will continue to suffer. You will continue to feel like a victim. He will continue to be himself. Who is gaining?

Nobody is gaining, right? You know what is the fundamental problem? This feeling of obligation, this feeling of compulsiveness, this feeling that you are indebted, that there is a great responsibility to bear all nonsense, and all of this arises from an ignorance of one’s true nature. Since we do not know who we really are, therefore, we take on all kinds of needless roles, responsibilities and identities. Every ‘second’ loss to mischief, is a ‘second’ that you owed to your own inner progress. Every ‘second’ lost to toxicity, is a movement stolen away from its right utilization. Do you see what kind of loss that is? Also remember, we are talking of just one side of the story. If we managed to bring those two so-called toxic people into this conversation, they will have their own tales to tell.

Toxicity is not something necessarily present in a person, it breeds in an environment. And if it is there in an environment, there are many people responsible for it. Stop being one of those, who are responsible for that toxicity. You can support toxicity actively by displaying toxic behaviour or you can support toxicity passively by tolerating toxic behaviour. Active or passive, support is support. Is it not? And there is fun in portraying oneself as the victim of toxicity. We are not just victims of toxicity; we are supporters of toxicity.

Please understand, all these concepts that have been implanted in our minds—that cohesion is of prime importance, that staying together is a prime importance, that being a good mannered and dainty girl or a woman is of prime importance—are junk principles. The real principles of life have never been taught to us. What really matters in life, is not your good etiquette, but your deep wisdom. But wisdom is something we never respected, never quite cultivated with intent, and instead, we value a lot of other things and those other things, they are actually valueless. We have just been taught to value them. Stop giving values to things that have none.

Call a ‘spade’ a spade (10:00). And it’s not about being vindictive, its not about retribution, in some sense, it is also about helping that other toxic person. Somebody has to call him out and that need not be done with a lot of anger, that has to be done as an exercise in fact-fullness. Why not tell it to the other person that he or she is displaying sick behaviour, that that person’s behaviour is adversely affecting the mental well-being of lot of other people, at least, one other person? You do that honestly, and you do that without any violence. If the other person is his own well-wisher, he will listen to you. That must be your intention. And if he does not listen, then you cannot foist yourself on someone. People improve by their own consent. If you tell the right things to a person and he does not want to improve, you cannot force him to, right? That not in your hands, but your own well-being is definitely in your hands. I repeat, there is no obligation, no responsibility to stay put in an environment or with people, who adversely impact your mental health.

Q: Thank you, Sir.

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