December 6, 2022

Ever had someone who disappoints you repeatedly to the extent that you lose trust and respect for them? Ah you experienced the rush of hatred and sullen emotions that question the humanity of such acts? It is the time of the year where compassion should be portrayed all the more. Even if the person does not deserve it, Jesus’ compassion is a present freely given.
“Toxic” is the buzzkill and buzzword nowadays. It becomes an adjective followed by a person’s name, a situation, or anything upsetting. It is described as something poisonous, unpleasantly pervasive, or very harmful. To be clear, I do not mistake toxicity from abuse and mistreatment in my examples. I am aware that the latter is a contradiction to my stand.
If I had a list of words that speak death, the word “toxic” will complete the list. Frankly, the word is a limiting representation and a general judgment. It is an overstatement that does more harm than a sense of relief when used. I mean why would we want to stress something despair with another negativity. It ultimately wears us down.
Over the past week, I was devastated over a petty scenario that led me to ask if the person who did the act knows the nostalgic pain it engendered. I was ready to rant and lash out my dismay. But, thank God for other priorities and a busy schedule that I end up having no time to rant.
As I ponder about it, a Christmas song was playing in the background. The words “let your heart be light, from now on your troubles will be out of sight” was a turning moment. It made me realize that I do not want to celebrate Christmas and end the year being resentful and unforgiving.
My peers and I exchange unpleasant stories which add up to the bond. The empowering “take something with a grain of salt” is what I keep in mind as I communicate.
This is suspending my judgment and entitling the benefit of the doubt. I gently speak out “what if’s” or “maybes”.
This does not make me an unsupportive friend but I seek to empathize through facts and rationality. I see this as an optimistic approach to replace the adjective with misunderstood, miscommunicated, or any word that explains why it happened. It is understanding that the person is dealing with their own traumas and stresses. They too are a victim of manifested toxicity.
It is ambitious to make the best out of a bad situation more so when we are clouded with frustration. Toxic scenarios are the awareness that pessimistic feelings are welcomed. No one wants to delight in misery and be all cheery while being constantly uncomfortable. Toxic positivity is not to be considered. It is human to be hurt and act on the hurt. But our actions must be sincere. If you are hurt, verbally communicate your feelings. Rolling your eyes will not do the explaining. If you are dismayed, take time to process what you feel. Lashing out will not solve it. If you are certain to cut off the toxic relationship or scenario, weigh your decision. In a way that it gives you solace and comfort not regret.
In school, I am taught to take my stand which is the truth and to not portray neutrality. This is complementary to my relationship with people. I take my stand and practice compassion by believing that people who had done terrible or unspeakable acts, though repeatedly, are worthy of redemption. That they are not defined by it and they have real hidden altruism. Labeling them as toxic is being shortsighted of the good things the person has done or will be doing.
After all, maybe it is me or you who is toxic and we are worthy of redemption too. Compassion in all seasons creates a ripple that will make everybody merry and joyous. (CLEEVIMAE S. OYAN)