Health & Lifestyle, Personal

Is Toxic Positivity a thing?

I am tired of being told to “just think positively” or to “look on the bright side” whenever I’m going through a difficult time.

Toxic positivity is a harmful way of thinking that promotes the idea that people should always put on a happy face and never express negative emotions, no matter what they’re dealing with. But here’s the thing: it’s not only unrealistic, but it’s also damaging. By invalidating people’s real emotions and experiences, toxic positivity can lead to further emotional distress and even prevent people from seeking the help and support they need.

Photo by Lukas Rychvalsky on Pexels.com

This type of thinking is often fueled by the popular saying “positive thinking leads to positive outcomes,” and is often associated with the law of attraction and manifesting. However, toxic positivity can be harmful because it invalidates people’s real emotions and experiences, and can even lead to further emotional distress.

One of the main problems with toxic positivity is that it promotes the idea that people should always put on a happy face, no matter what they’re going through. This can be particularly damaging for people who are struggling with mental health issues or who are dealing with difficult life circumstances. When someone is told to “just think positively” or to “look on the bright side,” it can make them feel like their feelings and experiences are not valid or worthy of acknowledgment. This can lead to feelings of isolation, shame, and even self-blame.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Another issue with toxic positivity is that it often involves the suppression of negative emotions. While it’s true that focusing on negative thoughts and emotions can have a negative impact on our well-being, it’s also important to acknowledge and process these emotions. By repressing negative emotions, we’re not allowing ourselves to fully experience and deal with our feelings, which can lead to emotional build-up and potentially even more intense negative emotions in the future.

Toxic positivity can also be harmful in that it can prevent people from seeking the help and support they need. When people are constantly told to “just think positively,” they may feel like they shouldn’t burden others with their problems or that they should be able to handle everything on their own. This can prevent people from seeking therapy or other forms of support, and can even lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

So, how can we promote positivity without falling into the trap of toxic positivity? Here are a few tips:

  1. Acknowledge and validate people’s emotions: Instead of telling someone to “just think positively,” try acknowledging and validating their feelings. Saying something like “I can understand why you’re feeling sad” or “I’m here for you if you need to talk” can go a long way in making someone feel seen and supported.
  2. Practice self-compassion: It’s important to remember that it’s okay to have negative emotions and to not always feel positive. Be kind to yourself when you’re going through a difficult time and allow yourself to feel and process your emotions.
  3. Seek out healthy ways to cope: Instead of suppressing negative emotions, try finding healthy ways to cope with them. This could include talking to a therapist, journaling, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
  4. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help: It’s not a sign of weakness to seek help when you’re struggling. In fact, it takes a lot of strength and courage to admit when you need support. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional if you’re having a hard time.

In conclusion, toxic positivity is a harmful way of thinking that promotes the idea that people should always put on happy faces and never express negative emotions. This type of thinking can be damaging because it invalidates people’s real emotions and experiences, and can even lead to further emotional distress. Instead of falling into the trap of toxic positivity, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to have a range of emotions and to seek out healthy ways to cope with them. By acknowledging and validating people’s emotions, practicing self-compassion, and remembering that it’s okay to ask for help, we can promote positivity in a healthy and supportive way. Don’t let toxic positivity hold you back from experiencing and expressing your full range of emotions. Remember, it’s okay to not always feel positive and it’s important to take care of your mental health and well-being.

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