Some people don’t know that they are the source of toxicity within their own company. They don’t recognize that they are the contagion and that they are spreading their own illness.
Negativity is the only cancer that spreads by contact. When you express your negativity to others, you are infecting them with your negativity. Most people are susceptible to negativity. Very few of us are immune.
The people you interact with already have fears and doubts, they are already battered by a constant stream of fear, negativity, and divisiveness through our media channels. In that environment, your negativity can become the source of toxicity.
Cynicism is a derivation of negativity. It’s one of your ego’s ways of protecting itself from being hurt; if you believe deeply and things don’t work out, your image will suffer a blow. It’s easy to be cynical, sarcastic, and snarky. But your cynicism causes others to doubt their belief, and they worry about your judgment. Since you don’t believe, they have doubts.
The people you interact with want to believe. They want to do meaningful work, and they want to make a difference. Your cynicism reduces them to something less than they might be.
Gossip is negativity, and it makes for a toxic environment. When you confess other people’s sins, you are giving people a preview as to how you are going to speak about them behind their backs. When you invite them to gossip with you, you are inviting them to damage their character. Gossip is a way to bring other people down so that you can feel better about yourself.
Gossip is sexy. It takes the focus off the areas where you need to improve by allowing you to believe that someone is somehow worse than you, less than you. That appeal is what allows the infection to spread so easily and so quickly.
There is no telling how you might have been infected. But if you have been infected, it’s your job to rid yourself of the disease and to take measures not to infect others. There is no benefit of being the source of toxicity.