If there were two little words that I’ve probably used more than any other two words, it would be these:
You might already know where I’m going with this, especially because of the title, but I want speak on this topic anyway.
And I’m not going to say anything mind-blowingly new here. Several have said this before me, while several more will continue on to repeat this message, but I just want to reiterate to those who’ve maybe not heard this message, or even those who may need to hear it again.
So when does apologizing actually become toxic?
I think it becomes most toxic when we’re in relationships whether that be a romantic one, or even a platonic one. Many of us begin to apologize for who we are. We begin to lose our identity and try to become someone we’re not, usually in fear of losing the other person.
And I don’t want to make this post about relationship advice, because quite frankly, I’ve not had a good track record with my past relationships.
The good part is, because of these failed relationships, I’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do.
Now, while it’s good to be flexible and adaptable, you have to know where your limits are. There has to be a point where once you cross that boundary, you have to cut it off, no matter how bad it might hurt you or your partner, friend, even family member.
And, maybe it doesn’t have to be a completely severance of the relationship (though in some cases it does), it may just simply mean spending less time with said person, in turn, giving yourself more time to be true to who you are.
I’m reading a book called “Becoming Supernatural”. While it definitely is a bit too “mystical” for most people, I want to touch on some points he outlines in a way I think everyone can find some value in.
Think of your self not as a person, but rather as a life force, or an “energy” for that matter. It’s not hard to do, but it is a bit unconventional thinking as compared to how we think on a day to day basis.
But try with me, please.
Again, imagine yourself not as a person, but as energy, and if you’d rather use a different word, let’s use the word potential, and I think I like that word better, too.
We all feel like we have the potential to do something. Most of us even feel like we have the potential to do something big; something world changing. We chase this idea we’re gonna be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Though, realistically, we know we’re not going to be like them, it’s nice to dream big.
So if you think of yourself as this “potential” waiting to become, then would you want to spend a significant amount of your time with anyone who isn’t going to help you achieve this?
The thing is, we need to keep this same exact mindset when we’re trying to form relationships. There’s this idea of your “potential self”, as well. It’s this person, with this identity you’ve not yet become.
And you can feel yourself straying away from the course to becoming your future self when you encounter those which make you “change“, but not in a “growth mindset” kind of way.
These are the individuals that make you compromise on your core values, make you doubt yourself, and ultimately, make you feel less than who you are.
Sometimes these individuals are easy to spot, and we immediately avoid them. But what I’ve found is they’re not so easy to spot, at least not at first. And this is dangerous because once we begin to invest our time and energy into forming these relationships, to simply cut them off, it’s as if we’re killing a small (even large) part of ourselves.
In essence, it hurts.
And I hate this analogy because of how overused it is, but I love it because it portrays this idea perfectly. When you go to the gym and you want to build muscle, you actually have to break down and tear your muscles apart for them to get bigger and stronger. And at the same time, you also have to feed yourself with the right nutrients and rest in order for them to grow.
In the same way, on this journey to becoming this “future self” of yours, you may need to tear down and break off relationships…and it’s painful. But at the same time, you need to supply yourself with the correct people and correct habits in order to achieve this.
So if you went gym and tore down your muscles, then directly after, went and had a Big Mac and fries, it wouldn’t end up being too helpful for growing. So why do we do this with the people we spend time with? Why do we allow ourselves to be surrounded by those who only end up bringing us down?
The takeaway of all of this is, while it’s good to forgive and apologize to those of which you feel need to do so, as well as adapting and changing who you are in order to fit in, be careful of how much of yourself you let change, because one day, you may look in the mirror and you won’t be able recognize who’s standing there in front you.
And that’s not a place you want to be at. Ever.
thanks for reading,