The longer I walk on my path, the deeper understandings I have. One thing is about using the word ‘toxic’. I have read article after article, post after post that speaks of “toxic people”. At first, I was cool with that word, as we all know bad apples, but now I’m not so sure. It seems there is a label for everything these days, and it feels this word just seems to fall in that place. Now, it’s the term ‘toxic people ‘ but let’s look at these more closely.
The definition of toxic is containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation (per Mariam Webster) and other dictionaries describe is as “extremely harmful or harsh, malicious, or a substance that can cause death or serious debilitation”, so basically not good for your health. And the word people are defined as human beings in general or considered collectively (per Oxford dictionary). So both mean human beings that are harmful to your health.
Let’s think about this for a moment. When I was growing up I wasn’t raised by a grandmother that was knowledgeable to the herbs, in fact, she wasn’t even really taught to cook with them. Now gardening veggies and certain flowers she taught me, but the uses of herbs not so much. There are some things (natural healing) that she did, but honestly, it was limited. It was when I moved to North Carolina (several years ago, brief stay) that I met some wonderful herbologists and I began learning the Wise Women Tradition that I really began my deep learning. Sure I had read books, but it was when I had a mentor that could show me and guide me that I really began to bloom. I was taught many wonderful things, one being is that we do not refer to herbs toxic, because herbs aren’t toxic just because they contain a certain substance doesn’t mean they are bad, remember everything does have a purpose. And as many wise herbalists will tell you, it is all about the dose; as even a little bit can do a lot of good.
Did you know that potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and goji berries are some of the nightshade plants that we eat? And some on a daily basis!
So this goes back to the tern “toxic people”, just because they contain certain qualities doesn’t make them bad, they just have certain qualities that may not be for your liking – or well being.
I feel that, in today’s world, we have gone from “don’t label me” to “label everything” and maybe that isn’t exactly the healthiest thing to do. Especially the word toxic, or in particular “toxic people” is just simply overused. Honestly, if you take a deeper look, by mainstream thinking, everyone is toxic. This label is not only inaccurate, but it is also regurgitated vocal sewage that is just tainting the true understanding of life.
But, going back to herbal studies, let’s look at the word dose. Honestly, too much of anything isn’t good for us. I know that Mark Twain is quoted as saying something along the lines of “too much of anything is bad, except good whiskey” but even that isn’t healthy for everyone.
When we find a plant that contains a certain substance that isn’t healthy for us, we simply avoid it; such as nightshades, we only consume/use a safe amount of the plant – dosage. And this goes for people as well. Some people have had different circumstances that have occurred in their lives so they can be too fearful, too angry, or just too much something that doesn’t agree with us and this can be caused by unprocessed traumas. This can cause them to act out in ways that may be unwanted to us, so we just need to be cautious of them if we choose to interact with them. Instead of jumping to these labels of division, why not just gain a better understanding. Are there people that act in ways that are not cohesive to our life? Well, yes, so just avoid them, or lower your dosage. But even still, everything has its place and its purpose. Maybe that person you call toxic is there to wake you up to something within you that you have been avoiding? Maybe they are crying out of help in their own way? I feel that people are here for lessons, good or bad. Some will say “People come into your life to bring you lessons or blessings”, but I feel that lessons and blessings as one and the same. These lessons can teach us many things about our Self that we probably wouldn’t have even realized had they not entered your life. There are reasons and purposes.
Now I do feel that certain titles/labels are appropriate as they can describe what we do, but I do not feel we need to get carried away and use words inappropriately. Sure, these are just my thoughts and I am sure others may think differently and that’s okay. But to me, with people just like with herbs, we need to practice caution and pay attention to the dosage.