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Overcoming Toxicity at Work

27 Oct 2016   Shanti Gowans
Staying sane, composed and maintaining strong spiritual sense of self worth in a toxic work environment can be difficult but is not impossible if you follow a few simple ehtical and spiritual principles. 
Everything and everyone else around you can affect you, if you let it. Other people can deliberately or inadvertently damage your self image. Unchecked people and circumstances can ultimately destroy your self esteem and pull you down in ways you won’t even notice. To overcome these influences getting the best of you, here’s what should you consider, and how you can contribute…
The Work Environment
Beware of a ‘dog eat dog’ environment where everyone else is fighting just to get ahead. This is where non-appreciative people usually thrive, and working extra is expected and not rewarded. In this environment no one will appreciate your contributions even if you miss lunch, dinner, and stay at work late into the night. Unless you are very fortunate most of the time you will work too hard with no help from others around you. This type of atmosphere will ruin your health and morale when it is not just healthy competition, but at its worst it is brutal and very damaging. Make sure that you appreciate others, sincerely and often.
Bulldozers, brown nosers, gossipmongers, whiners, backstabbers, snipers, people walking wounded, controllers, naggers, complainers, exploders, patronisers, sluffers - however you want to describe them, all have one thing in common - an overriding desire to prosper at the expense of others. Avoid them and especially do not be tempted to join them. They may have some short term ‘advantage’ with their behaviour, but deep down most of them are very insecure, unhappy and ashamed of their behaviour. Their self esteem disappeared a long time ago. Seeing someone like this prosper can be confronting but do not join them - you are better than that!
Optimising Change
In today’s fast moving society it is difficult if not impossible, to avoid change. Changes challenge our paradigms and tests our flexibility, adaptability and alter the way we think. Changes can make your life difficult and may cause stress but, if it’s inevitable, you must accept it. Do not fight change and all that it brings, and in time, find ways to improve your life. To manage change well, aim to avoid multiple changes all at the same time. When a particular change cannot be avoided welcome it. Change will be with us forever, we must learn to live and thrive with it.
The Past
We all carry “baggage” - past experiences which have moulded us into who we are today. However, some people live in their past experiences - usually something that hurt and still hurts. It’s okay to cry out when you experience pain, but don’t let pain dominate your life as it will transform itself into fears and phobias. If something painful happens, or has happened to you, find a way to minimise the effects. Discuss it with a friend, a family member or a professional if necessary, and move on. Don’t let it continue to dominate your life and dictate your future actions. Just because something bad has happened in the past does not mean it will happen again…and again! When you learn what you can from any ‘bad’ experience and move on it will no longer be a ‘bad’ experience.
Opmistic World View
The news is full of doom and gloom and it is true that around the world there are many people suffering war, famine or other natural or man-made disasters. Whilst we feel deeply and are troubed or disturbed, remember that there are many beautiful positive things happening too. Don’t wrap yourself up with all the negative aspects around the world. Learn to look for beauty too. To build a better workplace, or a better world we must learn how to be positive even in the most negative situations. 
Determination Theory
Are we a product of our biological inherited characteristics (nature) or a result of the influences we absorb throughout out lives (nurture)? Most of us are the outcome of a mixture of both nurture and nature, and as a result our behavioural traits are not fixed. Whilst it is true that some things are dictated by genetics (for example race, colour and many inherited conditions) your environment and the people in your life have a major effect on your behaviour. You are your own person, you have your own identity and can make your own choices. The characteristics your mother or father display are not your destiny. Learn from other people’s experience, so you don’t suffer the same mistakes.
Being positive, and staying positive is a choice. Building self esteem and drawing on positive experiences towards your contribution is a choice, not a rule or a talent. No one will come to you and give you permission to build your self esteem and improve your self. It is in your control. 
Whilst if can appear to be challenging to stay optimistic, especially when others and circumstances seem to be conspiring to pull you down, you need to protect yourself and give yourself a chance to stay uplifted. Improving your feelings of self esteem might just provide you with that protection.
One way to stay positive is to minimise your exposure to harmful influences while using yoga, meditation and affirmations to boost the positive influences in your life. Constantly reminding yourself of the good things in your life will keep the impact of negative influences to a minimum and help you enjoy the journey.


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About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography

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