It’s easier said than done, I know.

I’ve had to fight some pretty big demons for the past 13 years. Demons in my family, demons in my school, demons in my head. But I’ve learned a lot from those demons. Maybe some of them weren’t “demons” after all. Maybe they were just angels in disguise, teaching me a few crucial life lessons at an early age.

They’ve taught me that you won’t get far by being negative, by thinking you’re no good for the world, by thinking that people don’t care about you. Because people do care — you’ve just got to find the right people. I had to wait a decade to find those people. I had to endure plenty of school holidays alone locked up in my house wondering if my “friends” (or as I now know were the “demons”) would ever speak to me outside of school. And for a long time, they didn’t talk to me unless they were forced to face me inside school walls.

Very few people bothered to find a way to contact me, the main reason being I didn’t have Facebook (I still don’t), as if I needed Facebook to have friends in school, an institution where I saw everybody every single weekday for an academic year. I didn’t ever need Facebook, but you need to get your head out of your arse and stop telling me you care about me so very much when you didn’t ever make the effort to get in touch with me for 2 lousy minutes. You have a phone, what happened to a simple text? Why do I need a social media platform for you to say hello?

Back to the topic of toxicity. As much as the people around you can be toxic, you can also be toxic to yourself. Negative thoughts and emotions can harm your happiness and ultimately your well-being. Being persistent in telling yourself something can make you believe it after a while. For example, convincing yourself that you’re worthless will cause you to genuinely believe you’re worthless. With time you’ll think that anyone who tells you you’re worth something is lying to shut you up.

But they’re not. They’re really not.

And I’m not just saying that either. Throughout the articles I’ve written so far, I have been pretty open with my experiences, if not very repetitive. But these experiences have moulded me and helped me become a better person. They’ve taught me that I don’t need particular people who I’ve always thought would be beside me through thick and thin, even when they’ve let me down time and time again.

I’ve also observed other people’s way of thinking negatively and how it affects them. Someone said only yesterday that people keep telling her to learn to do things for herself because she’s too dependent on other people for her happiness when clearly, certain people make her more unhappy than they do make her the opposite. But she’s convinced that she doesn’t know how to do things for herself, rather than thinking that she can battle through the rough and the tough on her own, with guidance from the people who are willing to give her a bit of advice.

That is what gave me the idea of this article topic. At the end of the day, we need to recognise the toxicity in our lives and sort it or get rid of it as soon as we can.

There’s also the possibility that you can be toxic to the people around you. That can easily be prevented if you’re a decent person. Which again, is easier said than done.

One way to be on the track of becoming a decent person, if you’re having doubts, is being mindful of what you say and how you react to your surroundings. A vibe can always be picked up from other people. Present yourself at all times with positivity in mind, something that will radiate onto others and make them feel positive as well. That can also craft you into a more likeable person, which obviously attracts people rather than repel them.

I had to wait until my school years finished to really get rid of the major part of the toxicity corroding me to nothing. I couldn’t be happier with the people left in my life and more excited for the people who will enter it in the future.

Here’s to a fresh start and happier years to come.

Originally posted on my blog: https://medium.com/@bshahriar, June 13th 2016

Published by Bushra Shahriar