Can a person excel under toxicity? I doubt that. One thing that is certain is that people find it hard to be creative and progressive under toxic environments. Children that grow up in homes or neighbourhoods, where they are constantly harassed and abused (whether physically or verbally) usually turn out wrong. Women, and even men, that endure toxic marriages do not perform well in their careers or businesses. People that make friends and enter relationships with toxic people also end up toxic and destructive. This is just to tell you how bad it is to be around and/or within harmful and negatively-minded people that can influence you negatively.
The problem here is that toxicity is affecting a lot of Nigerians and it is stopping them from harnessing the opportunities around them. If you want to find out how toxic the Nigerian social environment is, engage people in simple conversations and be ready to endure their complaints and accusations, even when the things they complain about were caused by them.
Another good way you can get this experience is on the Nigerian roads, where drivers throw insults and threats at one another as their way of showing displeasure at the other persons’ driving skills or style. How about engaging in an argument, where you hold an opinion different from that of the majority? Believe me, someone from the other side will not only insult you but threaten to deal with you. The least they can do is rain curses on you and promise you hail and hell. These are just some of the scenarios that can show how deep in trouble we are.
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If you are wondering why the nation is filled with negatively-minded persons, I’ll suggest you look at the agents of socialisation. Consider the type of children that will be raised in families, where parents tell their children they have enemies in the villages or that their neighbours are witches and wizards. Look at the type of persons our religious leaders are pushing into the society after telling them that people from other religious organisations are heading to hellfire or that they are not meant to be related with because they are “sinners” or “infidels”. Imagine the type of students our schools produce after teaching them how to look down on the weak students. How about peers that influence members negatively? Do I need to talk about the press, where negative news sells faster than positive ones? The truth is, it is difficult to live in Nigeria without becoming toxic.
The impact of the toxicity this country is enmeshed in is taking its toll on everyone but the youths feel its brunt the more. It is becoming more difficult these days to find Nigerian youths that know what they want except to make money and “live large”. Ask them how they plan to do so and they will come out empty, except for those that have guides. But many of us are here accusing our youths of being lazy and greedy without understanding what they are passing through. I am not saying we should excuse those that go into crime, but I think we should try to understand why many youths in Nigeria cannot plan their lives ahead of time.
As I mentioned earlier, it is difficult to be creative and progressive under toxic conditions. Nobody thinks straight when he’s angry or when he believes everybody around him is dangerous and wants to kill him. People do not progress when they are divided and in enmity. It is also almost impossible for people to believe in themselves when they are made to see only the negative sides of life. This is the bane of Nigeria, where negativity clouds people’s reasoning and robs them of the good things of life.
Can we change the Nigerian social environment from being toxic? Of course, it is possible. But then, those that reap out of it will do all within their power to maintain the status quo. It is only left for individuals to find ways to block out the toxic people around them. But then, that could be another mission impossible.