10 Tips to Find Motivation When In A Toxic Environment

Have you said it before? “Every single time I try to _______, ______ happens.” Proving to yourself over and over and over again that you just can't break free from the cycle that binds you. For many people, their toxic environment perpetuates excuses why they just can't win. And that begs the question… can you find motivation when in a toxic environment?

I was recently asked if it is possible to push through domestic abuse, poverty, and having virtually no support system, and still pull yourself up to be successful and independent. I've been asked this before with a variety of ages as well for women in their 20s through their 50s. The short answer: 100% yes. You can absolutely overcome living in a toxic environment and achieve success. Just because it is possible, does not mean it will be easy. No doubt about it, having a solid support system is massively beneficial. Living or working in a toxic environment makes achieving success much more difficult, especially when your mindset has adapted to accept your circumstances.

My father once told me; “Negative people are like crabs in a bucket. What is the fastest way to keep a crab in a bucket? Add a second crab. They'll send the entire time they're in there pulling each other down.” This was a profound thought for me that enabled me to break free of my victim mindset and realize that when certain people attempted to drag me down through verbal (or at times physical) abuse, it wasn't about me. It was them battling their own mindset being stuck in negativity, acting like a crab, allowing their negativity to compound.

1. Mentally remove yourself from the toxicity

Once you realize that your stress and toxic environment isn't bigger than yourself, you'll no longer succumb to the stress, and join your environment in beating yourself down.

There are a few ways to help remove your mindset from your toxic environment.

  1. Positive affirmations
  2. Essential oils
  3. Setting strong boundaries
  4. Increasing your confidence and self esteem
  5. Visualization
  6. Dream building
  7. Recreate each day in your mind
  8. Meditation
  9. Exploring creative outlooks
  10. Spending more time in nature

Your mindset is crucial. This is especially true if your environment (work, home, community, family) is something you do not have the capacity to change.

Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations may help you break through mental blocks that are keeping you stuck in your toxic situation. Some of my favorites include:

  • I am worthy of living a healthier life filled with happiness and abundance
  • Blessings flow freely through me
  • My life has meaning and purpose the world needs
  • I am open and willing to receive abundance and love

They don't always work by themselves, but there are techniques you can add to them in your daily routine to make them much more effective… such as visualization and using essential oils.

Essential Oils

I absolutely love essential oils. They are so much more than just “pretty smells.” Some of my favorite uses for essential oils are to sustain improved mental health, healthier perspectives, and spiritual growth.

My favorite essential oils to use for mindset assistance and motivation include:

Just make sure you're getting the real thing because many companies do not use ethical marketing practices.

Setting Strong Boundaries

It is ok to say no. In fact, it is healthy.

If you're forcing yourself to go into stressful situations with people who are arguably abusive to you, you do have permission to say no.

Remember, as Wayne Dryer said, “you get treated in life the way you teach people how to treat you.” Often this means you do need to stand up for yourself, set boundaries, and expect people to respect those boundaries. If they don't, then it may be time to look into lessons you can learn and distance yourself for a while.

Yes, this sounds like a difficult task, especially when setting boundaries in relationships or with family, but you and those relationships will be better because of it in the long run.

Increasing Confidence and Self Esteem

There are several ways you can develop and increase your confidence and self-esteem, even during difficult situations and while in toxic environments. The initial change takes place from within you.

  • Celebrate every little accomplishment
  • Praise yourself when you complete a task or do something well, even if no one else sees what you do
  • Rewrite narcissistic criticism using your imagination to feel more supportive


Your imagination is a powerful tool. Whatever you can imagine, you are capable of creating (with the right support and knowledge). Visualizing the life you want is just the beginning and first step. Once that is visualized, use your toxic environment to give you the motivational shove to create an action plan.

Dream Building

Dream building goes along with visualization. Take those visualizations and dream bigger. The bigger and more motivating your dream is, the more you will find ways to feel worthy of making it happen and take action.


Praying is asking. Meditating is listening. All the answers you need are within you, waiting to be accessed. Through meditation, you're able to quiet your mind, listen on a deeper level, and find motivation and answers you never realized were within you this whole time.

Exploring Creative Outlets

Creativity is the key to strategy and critical thinking skills. The more creative you allow yourself to become, the more you will be able to see opportunities that resonate with you.

Plus using your creative mind is incredibly therapeutic.

Don't worry about being good at anything creative at first. Over time you'll find your style and break through any lingering perfectionism and into just loving to create.

Spending More Time in Nature

I'm a firm believer in Nature being the best remedy for everything stress. It's amazing what happens to your mental wellness when spending some time surrounded by trees, flowers, animals, and rocks.

Time in nature helps us achieve a deeper spiritual connection, which helps us realize who we truly are and stop living in someone else's box of ideals. When you embrace who you really are, it becomes easier to learn the unspoken lessons you need, empower yourself, and walk away from toxic situations.

2. Re-evaluating who you spend time with

There is a saying… “you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most amount of your time with.”

Not everyone has a total of 5 people they spend time with regularly, especially outside of work. You can bridge the gap by following inspirational innovative thinkers through social media. Over time, their positive influence and ingenuity rubs off on you, helping you cultivate a healthier way of thinking that kickstarts your creativity, and encourages you to realize your true limitless potential.

3. Focus on your internal wellness

This is crucial for your ability to digest and release stress. Especially if you are or were previously in an emotionally or physically abusive situation. Adrenal Fatigue is a very real thing, although not recognized by mainstream medical schools, and not widely understood by modern health professionals (they're starting to catch on, but not quite there).

Burnout is one of those things that actually may impact your health negatively. When you're supporting your body by eating healthy, supplementing with quality supplements, exercising, and de-stressing, your body and mind both function better. This helps increase your physical health as much as it does help you feel more capable and more confident.

Where you choose to start leading a healthier lifestyle depends on you're priorities.

For me, I started with cleaning up my diet, and then I started cleaning up the products I used around the house (most haircare, skincare, cosmetics, cleaners, and air fresheners are in fact highly toxic). Seeing the results where those lifestyle shifts stopped my seizures, put my autoimmune diagnoses into remission, and enabled me to be physically independent and later to realize I had the potential to work from home. Having had an abusive roommate and employment situations in the past, being physically and financially independent has completely changed my life… and it started with taking the chance on myself by investing in my health. I strongly encourage you to give it a try too.

4. Support your “inner world” through personal and spiritual growth

When I first dipped into personal development, I realized how much our outer environments are direct reflections of our inner environment (thoughts, beliefs, habits).

When you spend more time being conscious of the things we say to ourselves (both verbally and in our thoughts), you realize how much you speak down to yourself. Nothing will change for the better when you're joining in on bashing yourself at every turn. This is among the most unmotivating things you can do to yourself… and most often is done habitually, not even realizing it.

Motivation in a toxic envorinment pin
Be sure to pin this to your favorite quote or personal development Pinterest board

5. Clean up your outer world

“As within, so without.” What does that even mean? Your outer world directly reflects your inner world (think subconscious and spiritual health). By cleaning up your outer world, you subconsciously clean up your inner world too.

This may mean going on a cleaning rampage through your home, removing anything that no longer serves you, removing any clutter, and embracing more of a minimalist approach to your living environment.

This could also mean spring cleaning, yard work, or reorganizing how your home is arranged.

Just the act of cleaning your surroundings and reorganizing helps on a subconscious level to reorganize and clean your inner thoughts.

6. Believe you're the kind of person who is worthy of and deserves success, love, and happiness

Can I let you in on a secret? You are worthy. No matter what has happened in your past that may have indicated otherwise, you are, in fact, 100% worthy of success, love, and happiness. You are precisely the type of person who deserves to be successful, loved, and happy. And you deserve to be worthy of being successful, loved, and happy. How do I know? Well… for one… if you weren't or were 100% convinced that you weren't, then you wouldn't have made it this far through this article.

Also, I don't believe in coincidences. There is a reason you landed on this page. Everything happens for a reason. If you weren't worthy or deserving of the life you wish you had or dream about, you wouldn't be here reading this now.

7. Be brave enough to suck at something new

One of the most paralyzing reasons I've heard for one of my clients to not change their circumstances is that they aren't good at anything, so what is the point in trying something new? This keeps so many people stuck, truly believing there are no opportunities available for them to be able to change their circumstances… and when one nearly hits them in the forehead, they disregard it believing it would just be another failed attempt.

When you're brave enough to suck at doing something new, you open yourself up to acknowledging and receiving limitless opportunities.

8. Use your toxic situation to provide the motivation to change

Discomfort opens doors to motivation and the ability to recreate our beliefs.

Nicole Graber

I'm a firm believer in the theory that every single event we experience is designed to teach us something. When we don't use those moments to learn lessons our souls need to learn, then the issues become bigger until it becomes intolerable and no longer able to ignore. From there you either learn, adjust what you can (even if it is subconsciously), and move forward, or give up and succumb to allowing our environments to control you. More often than not, we learn bigger lessons through pain and discomfort.

9. Explore your true self

“Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.”

Albert Einstein

If you spend your live trying to live by other people's expectations, desires, and convenience, you will never value who you are.

10. Know you're not alone

I firmly believe we all experience toxic environments at some point in our life. I've personally had the ability to take with numerous 6- and 7-figure entrepreneurs, and a few 8-figure earners as well. Every single one of them has endured some sort of childhood trauma or endured living in traumatic conditions as an adult. Many of which have experienced childhood poverty and abusive relationships or toxic work environments.

While not all successful entrepreneurs talk about it, traumatic experiences still haunt past experiences of even the most successful people. Some people use it as motivation to break free and create their visions for their future. Others succumb to it, embrace “the suck,” and seek out coping mechanisms.

I hear all the time that success is so much more difficult to achieve, and motivation is impossible when you're living in a toxic, unsupportive environment. That those success stories we occasionally hear about are “rare.” However… I believe that is what you PERCEIVE because so many successful entrepreneurs don't openly share about their traumatic pasts. Often you feel it is impossible and convince yourself that those success stories are rare because you don't see yourself being capable, deserving, and worthy enough to take on the commitment, grit, and consistent actions needed to make the necessary changes.

On the flip side of the coin, every single person I've met with pristine childhood and adolescent years grew up to be adults who endured some sort of major struggle or submerged in some sort of toxic environment before pulling themselves back up into a life where they feel successful.

I truly believe this is part of the Human duality that our souls need to experience to learn, heal karmic and generational trauma, and grow in who we are, even if it is entirely an unconscious process.

Mindset truly is everything. But it is much easier to shift your mindset when you realize you're not alone.

A Note From Nicole

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