If you do travel, you’re going to encounter people in varying stages of life who may or may not be the best to engage with. When considering those who have a “toxic” quality, it’s helpful to take in the larger picture. The question is this: does toxicity exist apart from most people, or is there some aspect of the toxic in all of us?
Strategies To Handle People Who Have Become “Toxic”
Toxicity Begets Toxicity
First, let’s get an idea of what “toxic” is. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, that which is toxic is “poisonous”. Poison will give your body a reaction if you ingest it, and have no prior experience. That reaction could kill you. However, some poisons that are very strong have little effect on certain individuals owing to aspects of their life which have helped them to build up an immunity.
This may not be the best example, but it’s certainly a dramatic one: alcoholism enables the body to resist cyanide. Russian mystical “medicine man” of Czar Nicholas II Rasputin was deliberately poisoned, and owing to his alcoholism, he took so little notice the conspirators panicked and shot him. That didn’t work either so they threw him in a frozen river.
Now this is an example of toxicity reacting with toxicity, perhaps, but here’s the point: you can insure yourself to certain types of toxic personalities in people by taking certain precautions. It’s certainly better to grow a “thicker skin” than it is to become an alcoholic—you want to fortify yourself in a way which matches your situation. And while drinking a bit can help you rebuff the real poison of cyanide, taking personal responsibility and having proper empathy metered by caution can help you handle many toxic personalities.
Responsibility Deferral is Toxic
As a traveler, you’ve got to understand a few things about humanity in general. Those who are toxic don’t become that way from nothing. All people are imperfect, and all people go through things in life which have the propensity to induce toxicity.
Attitude, willpower, and simple faith can help you avoid becoming toxic to those around you, but even the best stumble sometimes. It’s notable that often, toxicity results from circumstance. The individual becomes poisoned by influential features surrounding them they can’t control. It’s also notable that sometimes perfect circumstances produce people “poisoned” into toxicity by their own choices.
A great example of this might be a spoiled aristocrat, raised with a silver spoon, and adopting an arrogant prideful attitude which exalts itself above people who weren’t born in such pristine circumstances. But the same type of toxicity exists in the individual who styles themselves the victim of circumstance, rather than taking responsibility for their own actions. Both poisonous attitudes “pass the buck”.
Perhaps this is a core component of that which is toxic: people refusing to take responsibility for their own actions, and thus mentally rationalizing away terrible behavior which negatively impacts others. As you travel, you’ve got to take these things into account, and take steps to avoid them.
Strategies to Dispel Toxicity
Firstly, avoid known areas of toxicity. How are you traveling? Are you traveling on a bicycle and sleeping out of a tent? Perhaps avoid indigent encampments when possible. Are you traveling in an RV? Be smart when you park. You might want to find RV communities where you can pay to stay for a night and enjoy full hookups; but then again, some of these can be brimming with toxicity.
Another strategy is finding a good part of town with no parking restrictions. Are you traveling in a hotel? Well, then you’ve got the resources to avoid aspects of toxic personalities emanating from economic difficulty, but now you’ve got to deal with people trying to cheat you.
In all these scenarios, you need to have the greatest level of personal flexibility you can attain. If you want to avoid being undermined by poisons psychological and even sometimes physical, you want your own body and mind to be at their peak. Try to avoid becoming dependent on intoxicating substances—sobriety gives you greater ability to deal with the toxic.
Additionally, you want to ensure you eat right and exercise regularly. This makes you flourish physically and mentally, giving you further strength on the road. Also, ensure you get the right amount of sleep; sometimes you might want to consider Nootropics. When you’re rested, healthy, and physically fit, this enables you to handle more.
You can’t control other people, or what season they are in as they go about their lives. But you can control yourself, and how you react. And this brings us to the third consideration: personal attitude.
You need to be careful that you don’t pass a sentence on these people; the truth is, they’ve been through things you don’t know, just as you have. If you don’t care personally, then you yourself have a level of toxicity which will naturally react with the poisonous personalities of others, and things will compound.
It makes sense to seek out known wise people who can give you shortcuts to life through proverbs and other observations that are easy to ingest, yet have wide implication. Check out these properly cited sources from Dr. Seuss for some inspiration. You might consider this sage little line from The Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Toxicity isn’t avoided or assuaged through apathy. Effort is required, or that which is poisonous accomplishes its mission: to spread degradation. Travel is exciting, and you’re going to meet some of the finest people you’ve ever encountered. You’ll hear stories dark and inspiring, strange and astonishing. Thicken your skin, enable yourself to rebuff toxicity, and even to some degree counteract it through your own goodness.