Toxic Positivity. Have you heard of this term before? I guess you probably heard it once you decided approaching a positive mindset is what you need. When I first heard of it, I was instantly curious. I mean, how can a good thing be bad? I thought to myself.
If you’re looking to be a positive person and you don’t want to fall into the trap where the world may fall apart around you and you’re just turning a blind eye, hiding behind all these “positive vibes” and “motivations” without addressing serious issues or identifying ways to better yourself in certain situations.
I soon discovered it’s a fine line …
Defining toxic positivity
It is the concept of being positive and believing solely in positive… all the time. It focuses on positive feelings and rejects the negative emotions.
Toxic-Positive people, despite being in a difficult situation, or emotional pain, have a mindset that they should keep it positive. No matter what. It may sound like a pretty good thing, but is it really?
Toxic positivity should not be confused with genuine optimism, happiness, or even toxic negativity.
Here is the difference:
Genuine optimism means that you are not to blame for everything that happens to you. You understand you cannot control everything in your surroundings. (and isn’t that a relief!) In this case, you will recognize when you’re in a bad situation, you start finding solutions and even ask for help when needed. Happiness is a feeling, a mood, an emotion. It is a state of mind where you appreciate all the good things in your life, even the simple things and you feel grateful for it all.
Toxic positivity: on the other hand is a mindset that dwells on positive vibes only. It keeps you in denial and robs you of your feelings and experiencing real human emotion.
Toxic negativity: unlike toxic positivity, is obviously harmful, whereas toxic positivity is deceiving. You see it when a person talks solely of the bad or the negative of every situation. These people are not satisfied with what they have or what others have to give. They will manipulate you into thinking that you are the problem in cases you are going through. They are simply never happy or satisfied with their jobs, friendships, relationships, etc.
How do we avoid toxic positivity?
Here are 7 ways of thinking that will help.
Have self-compassion: Recognize how you are feeling and greet it with self-companion. Accepting your bad feelings and dealing with it, takes away its power.
Understand that it’s ok to feel: What you are feeling is part of being human, and you are not alone. People feel negative emotions often.
Journal: Just write it down, all your negative feelings to shows you are accepting the emotion. Journaling acts as an outlet for your bad feelings rather than letting them sit in your mind. It works for me, might work for you as well.
Avoid ignoring your feelings: you need to avoid ignoring the destructive emotions because avoiding the feelings prolongs your discomfort.
It is okay not to be okay: This means that when you feel debauched or tired about something, just have a rest and free of the guilt.
Change how you talk to yourself: Self-talk is a powerful tool for curbing negative emotions and building or blundering your self-confidence.
Be couscious of Social Media platform: People post their best part of life on social media, and almost no one posts their flaws or sadness. Including me. Thus, it might give you the wrong impressions that your peers live a better life than you; instead, remember that all of us go through difficulties but we rarely choose to share that side with the world.
Now that we know how to deal with toxic positivity, what about the negative emotions?
Now that we understand that being positive all the time is not right, are negative emotions important?
The answer is simple. Yes, experiencing negative emotions is important. It offers us valuable information about ourselves and others in different situations. These emotions help us make informed decisions based on the information we have gathered.
Forced positivity is harmful to ourselves and others. This is because it sets a logical thought that feeling negative about ourselves is evil. (which is ridiculous!)
Instead, we avoid negative feelings that carry essential information for our decision making and self-growth.
Have you ever fallen into the trap of toxic positivity without realizing it? Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences. I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time…