The phrase “just be positive” is something that many of us have likely come across in our lives. Whether it’s a friend trying to cheer us up after a tough day or a motivational quote on Instagram. The message is clear: positivity is key to happiness and success. But what happens when this push for positivity becomes toxic? Welcome to the realm of toxic positivity.
What is Toxic Positivity?
Toxic positivity is the unhealthy and excessive emphasis on positivity to the point where it dismisses or invalidates someone’s negative emotions and experiences. It’s the idea that if you’re not constantly happy and upbeat – you’re not doing it right. It’s the pressure to always “look on the bright side” and suppress any negative thoughts or feelings.
The problem with toxic positivity is that it ignores the fact that negative emotions are a natural and necessary part of the human experience. It’s not healthy or realistic to expect ourselves or others to always be happy and positive. Life is full of ups and downs and it’s important to acknowledge and process those negative emotions in order to move through them and grow.
How Does Toxic Positivity Affect Us?
When we’re constantly being told to “just be positive” it can make us feel guilty or ashamed for having negative emotions. It can also make it difficult for us to connect with others and form genuine connections as we’re not being authentic about our true feelings.
Toxic positivity can also be harmful to our mental health. When we suppress our negative emotions, they don’t just disappear! They can manifest in other ways such as anxiety or depression. It’s important to recognize that it’s okay to not be okay and to give ourselves permission to feel whatever it is we’re feeling without judgment.
How to Practice Positive Thinking in a Healthy Way
So, if toxic positivity is harmful how can we practice positive thinking in a healthy way? The key is to find balance. It’s important to acknowledge and accept negative emotions when they come up rather than pushing them away. Recognize that it’s normal to have bad days and that it’s okay to not always be positive.
Another way to practice positive thinking in a healthy way is to focus on gratitude. Instead of trying to force positivity focus on the things in your life that you’re thankful for. This can help shift your perspective and make it easier to find the good in difficult situations.
Toxic positivity can be harmful to our emotional and mental well-being. It’s important to recognize that negative emotions are a natural part of life. It’s okay to not always be happy and positive. Instead of trying to suppress our emotions, we should practice positive thinking in a healthy way by acknowledging and accepting our feelings and focusing on gratitude.
Recognizing Negative Impact of Forced Positivity in Others
It’s not just ourselves that we need to be aware of when it comes to toxic positivity. it’s also important to recognize it in others. Sometimes, the people in our lives may not be aware that their words or actions are invalidating our feelings.
One way to recognize toxic positivity in others is when they dismiss or invalidate your feelings. For example, if you’re expressing that you’re feeling overwhelmed and someone responds with “just think positive” that’s an example of toxic positivity. Another example is when someone tells you to “just move on” from a traumatic experience that’s another form of toxic positivity.
Another way to recognize toxic positivity in others is when they always seem to be in a good mood no matter what’s happening in their life. This may be a sign that they’re bottling up negative emotions rather than dealing with them in a healthy way.
Recognizing toxic positivity in others doesn’t mean that you should distance yourself from them. it just means that you should be aware of it and take steps to protect yourself from it.
How to Respond to Toxic Positivity
So, when you encounter toxic positivity and you’re feeling invalidated or unsupported what are some things that you can do to take care of yourself and protect your emotional well-being? Consider these suggestions as they may prove to be helpful:
- Honesty is key when it comes to expressing your emotions, both to yourself and to others. Let people know when their words or actions are invalidating your feelings.
- Set boundaries. It’s okay to tell someone that you don’t want to hear their advice or opinions if it’s harmful.
- Practice self-care. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself emotionally and mentally, and surround yourself with people who support and validate your feelings.
- Remember that it’s okay to not be okay. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you’re feeling without judgment.
- Find a support system. Whether it’s a therapist, a support group, or a trusted friend, it’s important to have people in your life who will listen and support you without trying to push away your negative emotions.
Dealing with The Sources of Toxic Positivity
Toxic positivity doesn’t only come from the people in our lives, but also from the messages and sources in our surroundings. Social media, self-help books and even workplaces can sometimes promote toxic positivity.
It’s essential to be mindful of these sources and evaluate the messages they send. If a quote or message makes you feel guilty or ashamed for having negative emotions, it’s likely a form of toxic positivity. Similarly, sources that promote the idea of being happy and positive all the time, regardless of the situation, can also be toxic.
Instead of cutting off these sources entirely, a better approach is to be aware of it and take steps to protect yourself from it. Look for alternative sources that validate and support your feelings and emotions. Avoid sources that dismiss them as unimportant or unrealistic.
Consider seeking out a therapist or counselor who can provide a safe and supportive space for you to process and understand your emotions. They can provide valuable guidance on how to navigate toxic positivity and support your overall emotional well-being.
Taking Action: Protecting Yourself from Negative Impact of Positivity
Toxic positivity can be harmful to our emotional and mental well-being. It’s important to recognize it in ourselves and in others and take steps to protect ourselves from it. Remember that it’s okay to not always be happy and positive and that negative emotions are a natural and necessary part of the human experience.
Instead of trying to suppress our emotions, we should practice positive thinking in a healthy way by acknowledging and accepting our feelings and focusing on gratitude. And always remember to be aware of toxic positivity in others and respond in a way that protects and validate your feelings.
The information and opinions expressed in this article are based solely on my personal observation, experience, and research. I am not a professional and the information provided should not be taken as professional advice. It is important to consult with a qualified professional before making any decisions based on the information presented here. Any opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not reflect those of any other individual or organization.