There’s been an immense shift in awareness and understanding around mental health.
We’re teaching people to see that one action does not define them. If you screw up today, you’re not a bad person; we all have those days. We all make mistakes.
The growth mindset explains that people can change their intelligence and personality through practice and effort. We just need to accept the fact that we can grow and change. Through activities like therapy, we can essentially rewire our brains.
However, we don’t always see the humanity in others. People are quick to label others without that same kindness and empathy. We’ll hear a story about someone and mark them as ‘toxic.’ We’ll tell our friends they should cut that person out of their lives.
Forgiveness and growth for us but not for them.
It’s a complex problem to solve because it’s well-meaning. Many people keep toxic people around too long, and they’d be better off without them. So how do we know when to support and cut and run?
The difference might be whether or not the person is working to change. Do they recognize their behavior as problematic? Are they working on changing it? How?
If they don’t believe they can change, they’re right.
If they want to change, and they’re doing the work, they can change their behavior to some degree.
I love our progress with mental health acceptance in many parts of society, but we still have a long way to go.
(I want to be clear: this post is about personal relationships, not “cancel culture.“)