Step Back

1 Simple Strategy to Avoid Toxic People and Situations

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
Jill Sylvester, LMHC

People can be tough. Situations can be tough. Especially right now, what with all the divisiveness, the rigidity of thought, the difficult feelings.

When you find yourself on overload, whether it’s in a conversation with someone, or simply feeling the heavy, dense feelings of the world, step back.

Literally, step back. Step away from the person or situation, or feeling, and take space.

Then, breathe.

Note how you feel.

Is the difficult feeling as strong? Is it diminishing? Maybe the intensity of the feeling wasn’t even yours- it might have been the other person’s energy and you were picking up on their heaviness, their combativeness, their insecurity, their fears.


Note how you are feeling now, with these new thoughts once you step away and assess what just happened. Do you still feel upset? What is there for you to do? What do you feel is the next best step now that you are standing in your own space and can make a more powerful decision? Is there something you need to own?

Note that.

Is there something for you to see more clearly, more compassionately?

Be brave. Absorb that.

Is there action for you to take, such as perhaps moving toward helping the situation, whether that be speaking up vocally or silently sending light to other person or situation through through your own version prayer?

Your intention is what matters.

Action taken in the highest of intention, whether for all to see or in the privacy of your own space, holds equal power.

What if though, you step back and begin to feel lighter, clearer as a result of removing yourself from the situation. You might begin to realize, like the shades being pulled up in the morning, that the tough energy you just experienced, the heavy energy you just encountered a moment ago wasn’t even yours. You know this, because once you stepped away, you felt just fine.

What then?

Consider sending light to the person or situation you just held space with so that they too can gain clarity and make note of what frequency they are emitting into the world. Set your intention that they come to see that by choosing negativity, and ultimately toxicity, they are only adding to the negativity and toxicity that already exists.

We don’t need garbage piled on top of garbage.

What we need is pure reflection so that we can right the darkness within ourselves and put forth more powerful, clearer, lighter energy in order to create a different space. What we put forth in our relationships, in our homes, in our situations, is what is reflected back to us from the world.

You have this power to contribute what you want to see. It starts with you.

Step back and then choose.

Jill Sylvester is a licensed mental health counselor, author of the Nautilus award winning book,”Trust Your Intuition: 100 Ways to Transform Anxiety and Depression for Stronger Mental Health,” and host of the “Trust Your Intuition Podcast.” Her work has been featured in Well+Good, Bustle, SheKnows, WorkingMother, Parenthood, TeenMentor, and To receive her weekly blog offering strategies to better your life, subscribe

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


It's Possible To Stop Taking Things Personally

by Caroline Jordan

How To Stop Taking Things Personally

by Caroline Jordan

5 Ways to Overcome Toxic Thinking

by Kerrian Fournier
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.