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  • Writer's pictureHayley Marcus

The Power of Walking Away From Toxicity

This is a topic I knew I wanted to share with you guys, but one that scares me all the same. For years I have been on a personal journey of self-development and learning what serves my life, but with that came 5 years of being surrounded by the toxic environment of a Multi-Level Marketing Company. Here is my story on how I recognized the toxicity of an MLM and more importantly, how I learned to walk away.

These days most of us 20-something-year-olds have thousands in student loan debt that we incurred trying to better our lives (how ironic, right?!). The drowning number of my own student loan debt is what made me reach out to ask a friend about the business she kept posting about. Let’s be honest, every single one of us would love to make more money. We all want to be debt free. The idea of being debt free and financially free is what led me to joining an MLM. I genuinely loved the products the company I worked with produced and I loved the girls on my team. This love is what blinded me to the toxic behaviors that many of my “leaders” created.

I went into this chapter of my life craving more. I went into this chapter with genuine intentions, and let in-genuine intentions take over. I have always had the dream to create a life for my future family filled with happiness. I want my children to feel loved and to appreciate a life of abundance. This dream is what would drive me to what is to come in this story. The girl in the picture below may be smiling, but under that smile is a load of unhappiness that will eventually take WORK to fix.

Before we get into the dirty details of the toxic years of my life, let’s first start by defining what a leader is. A leader is someone who leads by example. A leader (in my eyes) is someone who teaches others how to be the best version of themselves. The "leaders" of this MLM were people who were making LOADS of money and portraying this “freedom” that came with working from your phone; which is something I deeply regret posting on social media about because it couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was made to feel guilty about not being on my phone during holidays. I was told that because I was not on my phone working and ignoring my family, I would never make the money I needed. I was told that in order to get the “freedom” we all wanted, I had to sacrifice more. There were many nights I would come home from my 9-5 to just sit on my phone until 2-3am “working”, but then told that this still was not enough work. Also, let’s discuss what I mean by “working”. The work I was taught to do in order to be “successful” at this whole MLM thing was essentially to bully others into doing the same.

As women, we already have a ton of guilt that comes with life. Work guilt, mom guilt, daughter guilt, guilt...guilt….guilt. I was too invested to realize how dangerous this toxicity was becoming to not only my life but my mental health. I would tell myself all the bad things that were happening in my life outside of the MLM were a result of my “lack of drive”. I would tell myself “if only I worked it more” than my life would be better. This mentality is what led me to gain over 40 pounds and what led me to being extremely unhappy.

These “leaders” told us we had to dive into self-development, which was the only piece of beneficial advice. I downloaded podcasts. I read books. I watched movies. This self-development was ironically what led me to realize how I was allowing toxicity into my life, and it was how I grew into a woman who would eventually walk away from it.

2020 has been a year of stress for many, but for me, I used 2020 to be the year I found myself. This year was the year that I removed anything in my life that didn’t serve me and I focused on the things that were blessings. I hit a point this year where I knew the dreams I had for my life were never going to happen if everything stayed the same. In January I hit a point where I knew I had to lose the extra weight I had gained, and mainly for my health. I made small lifestyle changes that led to me stepping on the scale in July and seeing a 30 pound loss. I had never felt better, and I was so proud that I put in the work...AND STUCK WITH IT!

In September is when the biggest sign of all came. A good friend of mine (who I met through the MLM) texted me to warn me she was about to announce she is leaving the MLM for something better. After an hour of chatting about life, I too left the MLM. That night is when I felt a HUGE weight lifted. I felt the cloud that was hanging over my head dissipate, and for the first time in 5 years….I felt genuinely hopeful. That night was the first of many that I slept despite the scary unknown of what was to come. I removed anyone that would be negative about this life change from my social media. I removed them from my life completely, and focused on those who supported me wholeheartedly. Since that night in September, every single area of my life has improved. My 9-5 job has exploded with blessings. My family is happy and healthy. I have the best group of friends who love me for me and never judge me. I have a life that I am SO proud of. I look in the mirror daily and LOVE the woman looking back at me. Once I truly took the steps to become the best version of myself, every aspect of my life fell into place. I even took the steps to making our house a completely non-toxic house, mentally and physically. The girl in the picture below is smiling and her happiness radiates.

So what do I hope this post does for you? For those who read this post and can currently relate to the toxicity of an MLM, I hope you know you deserve better. I hope you know there are better ways to reach your goals, and I NEED you to know you are more than enough. For those who have toxicity in their lives in any way, you need to know the same. You need to know it is okay to distance yourself from people who bring negativity into your life. You need to know it is okay to un-apologetically do whatever you need to do to be happy. I hope you all read this and take the night to deeply evaluate your life. I hope you read this post and let tonight be the night that changes it all for you too. Make tonight the night you walk away from anything that is not serving you. Make tonight the night to start a beautiful next chapter. Always remember that you are worthy and enough, and never let anything/anyone make you feel otherwise.

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