The Hardest Pill to Swallow: You Have Toxic Traits Too


I’m sorry, but it’s true. 

My toxic traits? Well for starters, I solve every heartache by eating my weight in sweets. I also have this habit of lying to myself when it comes to wine. I tell myself I’ll only have a glass. But let’s face it, it’s never really just one glass. I don’t see a problem with the latter, but apparently my therapist does. What does she know anyway?

Jokes aside, I too have toxic traits. Some worse than others. Somewhere during my childhood I developed a very unhealthy pattern; potentially my most toxic trait. I became a runner.

As a child, I endured a string of traumatic events. In order to cope with my trauma, I would disconnect from my reality. I would let my mind wander and pretend none of it happened. Instead of letting myself feel negative emotions, I would push them away.  I developed a pattern of pretending I was somewhere else. Somewhere I couldn’t be hurt. A place where my soul was separate from the physical reality around me.

Later in life I learned there is a psychological term for what I had done; dissociation. In layman’s terms, it is a way the brain preserves itself from emotional trauma; a survival mechanism. The brain uses avoidance in order to cope with extreme feelings of fear, shame, hurt, helplessness, and pain. 

While I am fortunate enough that these moments of dissociation did not lead to a lifelong disorder, it still impacted me in a negative way. Since I had never taught myself healthy problem solving skills, I developed a pattern of fleeing from my problems. In midst of difficult or confusing situations, I would avoid them. If someone had hurt me, I was quick to leave them behind instead of communicating how I felt. If I hurt another, instead of apologizing, I would act as if it didn’t happen. If an employer offered constructive criticism, I’d look for a new one instead of looking to improve at the one I was at. Every conflict resulted in withdrawal all because I never taught myself how to sit down with my feelings.

This is my toxic trait. What once was a tool of survival turned into self destructive behavior. For so long I neglected myself. I denied myself the right to work through these negative emotions. My escapism stemmed from my unhealed inner child. There was a deeply wounded little girl inside of me. She came out every time I refused to face my feelings, begging to be acknowledged. Pleading to be healed.

I never saw a problem with how I coped, until I noticed it was a reoccurring pattern which brought me more emotional distraught than healthy solace. 

Most of the time our toxic traits stem from an unhealed part of us. 

Negative self talk stems from a time someone made you feel that way about yourself. 

Fear stems from a time something did not work out ideally, resulting in discomfort. 

Impulsively doubting others stems from a trust which was betrayed. 

Building walls up stems from a hurt we endured by someone we loved.

Co-dependency and clinginess stems from a childhood emotional neglect. 

Most of our toxic behaviors are adopted through great hardship. This does not excuse our behavior, but it helps us understand the wounds which need healing. 

We must learn to be comfortable in seeing our faults. We grow when we accept we are not always our best selves. Sometimes certain behaviors no longer serve us, so we need to be open to correcting them. 

This is how we find and correct our toxic behaviors; 

1.) Look at the seasons in your life which were plagued by hurt, discomfort, or stagnation. 

2.) Dissect your reactionary patterns which welcomed this season. 

3.) Take hold of what did not feel good in your season, then asses why it didn’t feel good. How did you cope with the negative emotion? How did you react to your emotion?

4.) Pin point the first time you reacted in this way, or the first time you felt as though you needed to act this way. 

5.) Reflect on similar situations which influenced this kind of behavior. Look at what resulted because of this behavior. 

6.) Follow this through with deciding whether the behavior is worth continuing or worth correcting. Is the result hindering you more than it is helping you?

Finding your toxic traits is not an easy process. Sometimes it takes a lot of hurt to realize we are the ones self sabotaging. It is so hard to be self aware when our reactions come from our subconscious. But friends, self awareness is the first step taken down the road of self improvement.

For it is only when we are courageous enough to delve deep inside the darkest parts of us, we become exposed to the healing power of our light. 

I want to leave you all with this; While we should always see the fault in our toxic behavior, we should never resent our self for it. There is nothing shameful in realizing our unhealthy behavior. There is everything dignified in ownership followed through with conscious change. There is nothing healing about punishing yourself for your mistakes. It’s okay to be a work in progress.  Love and honor yourself in midst of self realization. You are worth being patient with yourself. You are worthy of growth. You, my friend, will always be worthy of your light.  

xo,

Faith Edwards

Listening For the Words Unsaid

As someone who is continuing their educational journey, I am privileged enough to study the theories of some of the most influential minds that have been on this earth. These theories have encouraged me to think outside of my own self- continually searching for truths that go beyond surface level. Truths that lay in plain sight, but often go unnoticed. Today I want to dissect an issue that arises in our interpersonal relationships; defensiveness.

So often when we express unsatisfactory feelings based on the behavior of another, they respond in a manner of, “I didn’t do that!” Or, “well, I did that because of…” inevitably placing the blame on circumstances outside of them. And yes, it is sometimes infuriating. The lack of accountability, the disregard of the role they played. But today, I invite you to put on a different lens. 

What does defensiveness say? Yes, maybe a failure to see fault. But above this, defensiveness says, “I hold you and your opinion of me in such a high regard that I do not want you to view me in a poor manner. I know I am better than this, and that is why I am struggling with identifying myself with your truth.” Defensiveness is not always a failure of acknowledgement, it is a cry for understanding. Remember this the next time someone reacts in this way. Listen to the words they are not saying.

In moments where the other party reacts defensively, they are in need of reassurance. Offer it to them, this looks like; “you do so many things right by me, but in this moment I feel let down. I am raising awareness to this because I do not want either one of us to hold resentments. Let’s find a solution where we can better understand each other’s point of view.” More than likely, this will welcome the other party to open up instead of hiding behind their walls. This approach allows for a conversation that promotes conflict resolution without making the other party feel like their character is under attack.

This is not to say this is always the case. Victim mentality and narcissism is very much real, so it is up to you to decide whether their lack of accountability is coming from a place of genuine admiration or a character built upon a “I can do no wrong” foundation.

If you find yourself on the brink of reacting in a defensive way, I encourage you to take a moment and pause. Think, “Why do I believe this persons perception is not an accurate reflection of who I am?” No matter the reason, do not try to justify it in a way that blames anything other than yourself. Instead say, “I value the way you think of me. If my actions are falling short of my good intentions, than I must be disappointing you, which in return, disappointments me. What can I do differently to prevent this issue from repeating?”

It is in this approach we not only take accountability, but also comfort the person we may have let down. We welcome feedback to resolve the issue at hand.

So many minor mishaps have turned into a full fledged war due to defensiveness. We must learn to look past spoken words to understand the true message. It is through this kind of patience and understanding which allows for healthy long term commitments.

xo,

Faith Edwards

A New Chapter

    Twenty-one was a transformative year for me. I received a degree. I jumped out of a plane. I was honored a partial academic scholarship. I traveled to five different countries. I discovered a new life purpose through writing. I took another step closer into my becoming. Above all; I learned. I grew. Not every experience was easy. Some lessons came with a lot of hurt and confusion, but all lessons ended in a beautiful realization of self. Who I am. Who I want to be. Who I don’t want to be. I want to share what the teacher of 21 taught me, in hopes you may take away a thing or two. Or at the very least, relate to my lessons with your own. May this post serve as a reminder that even our toughest lessons can be turned into something good. So friends, without any further ado, here are 21 things I have learned from my chapter 21.

1.) Do not be afraid to embrace your creative mind. Not everyone will understand the complex mind of a creative, but that is okay. The world needs the creative mind just as it needs the math and science mind.

2.) To hold a grudge is to willingly chain ourselves to our past. We only hurt & imprison our own self. Let go of what no longer serves you. In return, you will be freed.

3.) How others treat you is a reflection of them. Not a reflection of you.

4.) There are few things in life more comforting than a parents embrace. There is no heartbreak that can not be mended by sharing a laugh with a good friend.

5.) Don’t be complacent; explore the world. Push yourself outside your comfort zone. Never stop being curious. This is how we truly live.

6.) Be proud of your accomplishments; but always strive to be better. We can always be a better version of ourself.

7.) Fight for who and what you love. It may not  always work out, but it will always save you from the burden of regret.

8.) Your self worth comes from within. It does not stem from another’s inability to see it.

9.) Gratitude for what you currently have is the key to happiness. Take a moment each day to remind yourself one thing you are grateful for; family, friends, pets, lovers, children, employment, or health. We are all so incredibly fortunate.

10.) Let your empathy and love for others always be bigger than your ego.

11.) Education is the best gift you can give yourself.

12.) Do not let others convince you your sensitivity is a bad thing. People with sensitive natures are often the people with the most empathy. There is power in your softness.

13.) Establish healthy boundaries. Do not make excuses for the people who can not respect them.

14.) People, jobs, and circumstances come and go. But the lesson always stays.

15.) Celebrate your friends small victories. They too need to be reminded they aren’t doing too bad in life.

16.) Question your own thought process and morals more than you question others. Addendum; don’t be afraid to question what everyone blindly accepts.

17.) To live a life without self reflection is like expecting a tree to grow without sunlight.

18.) Travel is medicine for the soul.

19.) Don’t strive to be the person who gets the last word. Strive to be the person who respectively gets their message across. That’s the person who will always win.

20.) Forgive yourself for settling for less than you deserve. For your mistakes. For not knowing better at the time. For letting your emotions get the best of you. It is not your fault you did not have the tools beforehand. You will be better the next time around.

21.) Love yourself first. It will be the most beautiful love story you will have in your lifetime.

    I am so very fortunate for all of the people, lessons, and experiences this past year brought me. I am so eager to see where I will be this time next year. So with this, I welcome a new chapter with open arms. 22, I am so ready for you. Cheers 🥂

xo

Faith Edwards

Welcome

Hello friends,

First let me say thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Time is a commodity we can never get back. So, I sincerely thank you for choosing to spend your time on reading my little thought bubbles. Ever since I was a little girl I often found myself lost in daydreams, curious about what life had to offer. Many nights were spent looking at the stars wondering what it might feel like to hold such a light. As I got older, my mind wandered off to more existential questions pertaining to my role in the grand scheme of life. I have always spent more time in my head than I have in reality. Don’t let that fool you though, I am so captivated by this whole life thing. Somewhere in between painted pink sunsets and ocean tides that never get tired of kissing the shoreline, I fell in love with this beautiful little life. But I am also still learning to accept that sunsets don’t last. Life gets rough. And Eventually it rains. Days, sometimes even weeks, our skies turn painfully grey. When you find yourself engulfed in dreary clouds, it is so hard to remind yourself that the sky is still blue. But we all must endure grey skies, for it is the only way to remind our skin just how much it loves the warmth of the sun.

It is not always easy, and more often than not, we find ourselves at crossroads with no answer in plain sight. We are all students learning from the teacher that is life. It is our responsibility to ourselves to learn as much as we can. To constantly seek change and realize we can have so much more than complacency. My intention with this blog is to speak to the heart of others. To offer genuine advice from my own lessons learned. I will never claim to know all of life’s answers. In fact, I believe I still have so much to learn. But with each passing day I am discovering parts of the woman I was always destined to be. I am learning how to blossom as a daisy in a field full of thorns. Life can be rough, but you do not stand alone. You are allowed to feel lost in life, because at some point we all were. But just like all of us, you too will find yourself. Let the journey of self discovery be a beautiful one, because it truly can be if you let it.

This blog is for the people who strive to be better. To the ones who do not always have it figured out. To the people who think too much. The people who feel too much. Who lead their life with curious hearts. To the brave souls who continue to love fiercely despite past hurt. I admire you, and I stand with you. 

Let us always embrace all that this life gives us. May we never stop choosing to persevere farther down the road of self betterment. If we do chose to stop, may it only ever be to smell the flowers, or help another along the way. 

xoxo ,

Faith