Let others take responsibility for their words, thoughts, and actions in the same way you are best served by taking responsibility for yours.

If someone is intentionally (or “unintentionally”) disrespectful, hateful, abusive, racist, sexist, or harmful to you in any way, this reflects their lack of love, acceptance, and/or control of themselves; it is not an invitation for you to feel inadequate or defective if you have not done anything to them, or have not done anything wrong, it is an indicator that they could do/be better than they currently are.

Never allow other people’s inner venom/garbage to inflict damage on you by overidentifying with, or taking on, their harmful thoughts, words, or actions.

Give yourself the grace of Love and respect that another may be delusional enough to think that they have the right to deny you.

If you need a good example of what this means in action, draw inspiration from the Freedom Fighters sitting at lunch counters or trying to gain access to other public spaces during the Civil Rights Movement, or even from how women, and other groups, have had to use basic common sense to deal with toxic oppression and reclaim their right to be treated as equal members of our species and societies.

Much of the time, other people’s treatment of you has nothing to do with you or anything that you are, are not, have done, or have not done. Other people’s disrespectful or hurtful behaviors are only a reflection of their uncultivated inner landscape (their conditioning, biases/hatreds, lack of self-awareness and control, their ignorance, etc). And, also, keep in mind that some people’s behaviors are consciously chosen to inflict harm in many cases as well.

If someone treats you a disrespectfully because of your skin color, sex, sexual orientation, age, weight/body-shape, clothing, unharmful preferences, etc, (things outside of your control and most likely that are not affecting them in any way), or chose to use your defense of their abuse as an excuse to create more harm, “hit them back,” not with fists or vulgarity, but with common sense, right action, and compassion if you can truly muster it up within yourself.

Bring light to their actions through awareness, and transform what is thrown at you from there.

Remember that you have the power to make it so that other people’s poisons end with them when you do not allow it to spread within you nor allow them to get away with attempting to poison others.

When it comes to your interactions with others, think of everything that comes your way (like is done in some schools of Buddhism) as a gift to either accept or respectfully decline; this includes all opinions, intentions, ideas, words, and actions that are generated by and within others (including these words) as well as those that are generated by and within you.

While you cannot control the world or others, you do have control (or can gain control) of yourself.

Once you fully utilize this power over yourself, you can more effectively navigate through life with less stress and more of the joy that you rightfully deserve.

In toxic social environments/situations, work on releasing any venomous damage within you that may have been injected by others (or by yourself in response to the behaviors of the others), and if you are in a professional or another setting where you can report an issue of abuse, racism, or violence, speak up about it; call awareness to it!

Call hateful/harmful behavior what it is; name it, and then release the responsibility for it to the person (or people) who generated it to begin with by standing in your power of awareness and utilizing your power to choose what you accept in your body and being.

This process of naming, and then releasing responsibility for, aggressive (or passive/micro-aggressive) behaviors that are hurled at you, is a form of fully utilizing your personal power in order to shine a light on darkness, which through awareness, will make it a little easier to transform even the heaviest toxicity into something more benign (and maybe even also into something beautiful when you are able to use these experiences for your growth, purification, deeper understanding/knowledge, self, and “other” compassion, etc).

Even if you do this simply through self-forgiveness (for holding on to internal hurt and hurting yourself because of the hurt inflicted by another) that brings you peace (which is different from excuse-making that creates internal hell), never take or take on what is not yours in life; this is essential for effectively practicing your Yamas of ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), brahmacharya (self-control), and asteya (non-stealing) in your Yoga practice.

Practice this

If you happen to be confronted with bullying, violence, or a hurtful “ism” of any kind, visualize the harm being blocked by a bright radiant light around your body, a light that incorporates colors that help you to feel protected and safe.

Visualize your light absorbing the blows of violence as they travel towards you in black blobs spewed by another through words, looks, actions etc. Observe, and feel, the light transforming the violence into peace, logic, and love within you and coloring your response in the moment.

If you have already taken on some of the toxicity of another and feel it stirring up with you at any time in the form of negative emotions and thoughts. Visualize this negativity being released, through a dark exhalation of smoke into the cosmos to be dissolved, as you close your eyes and breathe deeply for 2-3 minutes in a safe place.

Protect your peace and sacred inner sanctuary.

Never allow the ignorant behaviors of others to lead you to the ignorance of causing harm to yourself; doing so is the most effective way to stop the spread of hatred and other forms of stupidity in the world.

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