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Daily Share – How Do I Keep My Cool Around Toxic People?

TDL_FB-iconHi all!

I’m having a spiritual dilemma.

I am a singer/songwriter embarking on the interesting journey of making my music heard by a vast amount of people. I’m finding it disheartening, though, because the music industry is wrought with people with a lot of toxic attitudes. They are RUN by their ego, 100%. I’m finding that a lot of people I’m surrounding myself with suffer from these limiting beliefs, self worth issues, and a thirst for fame and approval. This is bothering me because it’s starting to rub off on me. I’m routinely laughed at or looked at weird when I say things like “The Uni-verse will forge a path for me.”

They are of the belief that the music industry works a certain way, and if you don’t do X, Y and Z, you won’t make it- which to me is putting limits on the Uni-verse. A lot of people are telling me to change my music, change my appearance, or change my personality, and while I can see how that could MAYBE help, I’m finding it is making me very upset.

I really do believe I can do things MY OWN WAY, and that the Uni-verse WILL rise up to meet me where I am. It knows my desires.

How do I reconcile this?! I understand music is a business, and business requires logic. But music is such a spiritual thing to me, I just don’t want to put it in some music industry prison with all these rules and egos.

What can I do to keep my spiritual cool while working around these toxic people???

A TDL Reader

  • Beth Wright

    I stick out by butt and laugh when my ego perceives that which it sees as dangerous to me. Happens allllll the time. If I can get ahead of it and realize it’s my perception that this sniggly little “me” MIGHT harm me psychically, I can get silly and regain my balance. Dorothy Hamill said when she feels out of balance on her skates, she sticks out her butt. If it’s good enough for an Olympian, shoot! It’s good enough for me. Big Hugs!! B.

  • cinnamon

    It is one thing to create your own path and journey and another to assume the universe will do it for you because it knows your desires. We are not here to fulfill our desires alone but to interact with others with compassion. While they may well have limiting beliefs, they speak from their experience and life and that is valid for them. And while any industry will have a lot of toxic people who sacrificed a lot to achieve a goal, you seem of two minds – you want to “make it” which implies a certain outward goal – and you want to share/have your music heard as a spiritual path – those two are not the same path – one is economic and maybe ego driven and the other is creative outlet but could also be ego driven in some people. Work on your music and message and focus on that and not the other people.

  • Ellen

    Change the people you surround yourself with. If you truly want to change, then limit your time around the toxics and keep searching for people who share your philosophy. They exist. It’s easy to make sweeping generalizations when that is all you know, but if anything what you’ve learned via TDL and life experiences is that we attract who we are, and if we want the situation to change we have to take action and make it happen.

    I’m an actress and have had to do the same thing and it’s working out better than I imagined. At first I interacted with a lot of casting and producing folks who insisted on putting me ‘in my place’ as an actress and insisted that I ‘needed them’ in order to ‘make it’, so I quit for a few years and now I’m back, creating my own material, surrounding myself with positive, like-minded people and doing very, very well. There is no set formula or timeline for success – everyone has their own path and time, and you will find yours.

  • AnKi

    Wow this is the first time I clicked on the Daily Share, but I guess that’s not a coincidence :) I’m struggling with the exact same thing.

    I’m also a singer/songwriter, studying vocals at a Conservatory. I know what you mean, a lot of young musicians and people in the business are focused on their egos. We had a student party just the other day and I went home feeling depressed because I felt I hardly had a single ‘real’ conversation. Everyone was trying to promote themselves, competing to be the best.

    So yes, it makes me sad sometimes but I realize that I can’t or shouldn’t try to change other people, I only have to focus on my own spiritual growth. As long as I’m still judging them as superficial or egotistic I am not being loving… it means I don’t see the whole picture. A lot of people in my school seem to be trying hard to be “the best” and to get their “break” because somehow that’s gonna make them feel worthy and good enough. So what does that mean? That they’re scared. If I can see their behavior in that light it means I don’t have to judge them, I can see through it.

    It’s not easy and sometimes my energy levels are negatively influenced by certain people, but I’m working on turning it around. Instead of them getting me DOWN I’m trying to work on bringing forth my own light within myself and my music so that I might lift someone else UP. Again, I haven’t mastered this yet but to me it’s clear that the journey is about my own healing, not in trying to change someone else :)

    When it comes to my own career I am trying make a living as a vocal coach, just enough so that I can get by and make the music I want to make. If I get an offer from a label that starts telling me I should change or whatever, I know I’m not desparate to say yes, cause I’m already financially independant. If I really want to be free from music business people I have to accept that I might not reach a huge audience quickly, or that I might not quickly make a lot of money from it. But that’s OK as long as I can make the music that comes from my heart and maybe touch a few peoples hearts along the way.

    I recently saw Oprah’s interview with India Arie on Super Soul Sunday. She talks about the exact same thing. She fired her whole business team and took back complete control over her career. She also says that her mission is to make music that elevates consciousness. If you haven’t seen the interview yet, go check it out cause you might find it really inspiring as well :)

  • Denise

    Begin my removing the judgment (ego) of labeling them “toxic people.” They are not toxic, they are afraid. Their fear-based limiting beliefs, like yours, tell them they are not good enough, or they have to do things a certain way in order to be acceptable or worthy. When we can begin to see each person as a loveless, frightened child they are no longer scary or “toxic” to us. However, if you continue to experience them as toxic or negative in some way, then that is because of YOU and they are there to teach you something. Maybe they are showing you where you are out of alignment with your Higher Self, or where you still have doubts about how the Uni-Verse works, or feelings of unworthiness. Asking the Uni-Verse for what we want and trusting that it will provide is one thing. Being ready, wiling and open enough to receive, accept, hold onto and enjoy what it does provide is another. What we judge in others is what we judge (fear, hate, deny, reject) in ourselves. The Indigo Girls have a great lyric, “When you learn to love yourself, you will dissolve all the stones that are cast.” This includes the stones that YOU are casting. When you learn to love yourself you will either no longer attract these “toxic” people to you, or when they do appear you will no longer experience them as toxic. You will find compassion for them because you will have found compassion for yourself. Follow The Four Agreements (don Miguel Ruiz): “Don’t take anything personally.” What these people say about you is NOT about you; it is about them and how they see the world (or the music business). Don’t buy into their fears. Remember who you. And hold on to what you know to be true! Many blessings for peace and prosperity in all your endeavors.

  • Michael Banka

    Always follow your heart. It will lead you to the right people. I worked in the music business for six years. The egos are definitely there, but in the days of the Internet, they need you more than you need them. There are many successful writers and performers who cuts all ties with the labels (Radiohead discovered this years ago). You have the creative spark, not the egos. My experience is that the latter will often negate the former, but only if you buy into the false witness they offer. Hope this helps. Blessings, Mike

  • MarkAntonyD

    You posses one of the greatest of gifts…the ability to make music. You know what it takes to acquire, manage and give this gift to others. Many other people(me included) can’t begin to know what you know about your gift. In my case, I will just trust you to make your music and share it with the rest of us. If I like it, I’ll stick around for more. If not then I’ll find other music makers and see what they have to offer. Some people think they know more about your gift than you do but you know this is not the case.; They may know other things that may help you move your music to a higher place. Look for the people who are as sincere about their gift as you are about yours and want to share their gift with others. Together you will make beautiful music together and for the rest of us. Best hope and dreams for you -Mark D

  • Vivian

    Ohm! Everyone who shared just helped me immensely with my situation right now. Thank you for helping me find my center this morning. Loving it!

  • Sharron Swain

    Why not go take a look at Ani diFranco’s story (Righteous Babe Records) for some inspiration from someone who has truly forged her own path on her own terms?

  • Teresa

    When someone is a toxic individual it is usually pretty obvious that they are “Toxic”… I am a person who looks for the beauty in everyone and everything so with that being said, just because you see these people as toxic does not mean you have to look within yourself because you are seeing in someone else what could be within you… Yes, sometimes it could be but it isn’t automatic… I just recently removed the toxic people from my life. I have been working very hard on myself to be happy and at inner peace. This step I took to eliminate these people from my life was just part of my spiritual journey. Do I carry anger or resentment? Absolutely not. I send these people love and positive energy. I hope the best for them. Life is too short though to be around toxic people. So believe in yourself, your intuition, your inner voice, your gut instinct… These will NEVER let you down.

  • kelly

    I highly recommend you get the book “Produced By Faith” by DeVon Franklin. It is very much the same scenario that you are going through. I think it will help!