What is toxic positivity?
Think about it. We all try our hardest to remain positive. The news is full of negativity, work may be full of negativity, your friends may be negative — but we try! We try to remain positive yet we still encounter toxic positivity.
But here’s the thing. When you, or someone else, is trying so hard to remain positive that you are pushing down true feelings that need to be looked at and processed the “positivity” becomes toxic. Because now you (and me!) are wiring our brain to think, “No, that feeling is just hooplah! It’ll go away. Push it further down. Just keeping smiling. . .” those feelings are trapped. Trapped feelings lead to anxiety, worrying, and even depression.
What do you do when you encounter it?
The best thing to do to counteract toxic positivity is to remind yourself that not being happy all the time is normal. It is normal to be sad, mad, annoyed, exasperated, etc. Feelings are normal. If someone you know is happy all of the time they are hiding something. I promise. The “happiest” people I know that have actually opened up to me have a slew of problems they don’t want to talk about.
It is also okay to vent. Speaking up and talking to a friend or co-worker about the obstacles and problems you’re facing is okay. Don’t sit and complain about things constantly though. There is a clear difference between actually being negative and escaping toxic positivity. They’re lightyears away.
I have had so many people tell me all I need to do is look on the bright side and act happy and then I will be. When, in reality, they just couldn’t look at the big picture and see that to be a healthy human being you must look at and process negative feelings to be truly happy. I have had those same people encourage me, SERIOUSLY, to push away bad feelings and act as if they aren’t there. This, frankly, is not healthy in any sense. And that particular comment sparked something in me. I am not sure if toxic positivity is a coined phrase, but it is exactly what it sounds like. Too much of anything is a bad thing, folks. There must be a balance in life, in emotions, in diet, in anything.
I truly hope that this opens your eyes to some things that may be happening in your life and how to conquer them. If you haven’t experienced toxic positivity I am so glad for you. It’s an extremely strange and bizarre thing to encounter. The words themselves clash. But positivity can be just as toxic as negativity. They both ask the person to look at only one side of something and honestly, that just never works.