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Beware of toxic positivity.

What is Toxic positivity?
What is Toxic positivity?

What is toxic positivity?

I know it sounds like a total contradiction as they are opposites. So how can positivity become Toxic? Easily, by being overly positive.  Saying things like, it will get better or just think positive, everything happens for a reason or, don't worry it will get better.  These are examples of toxic positivity.

It is a complete fantasy to think that we can be positive all the time. Life happens and sometimes problems arise. It is very hard to be positive if someone close to you passes away, you loose your job, home or partner.

It can even be dangerous to not deal with emotions. Whatever your emotions are they are okay. It's okay to not be okay. Feelings of grief, and anger are natural responses to things in life. They are there to help us survive.

Why is toxic positivity so bad?

Although positivity can be good, showing toxic positivity can be very damaging. Just because you live your life with positivity, it doesn't mean that life stops happening, we can't control everything.

If a family member dies, you lose you job, home or are having a hard break up. The last thing you want to hear is think positive or everything happens for a reason. Feelings of grief, anger and despair are natural and okay to feel if someone dies, it's our body's way of coping with the loss, life can be hard. How we deal with it is the diffrence between healyhy and unhealthy thinking.

Hiding the feelings away or pretending they are not there is not a healthy coping mechanism. Yes distraction, can work if the feelings are to strong, but be careful not to distract your life away. If feelings or emotions are causing you problems then we need to find out what the problem is to fix it. 

How to handle toxic positivity.

  1. Avoid ignoring or trying to suppress your genuine feelings.
  2. Do not offer unsolicited advice.
  3. Don't shame anyone (including yourself) for their emotions.
  4. Listen to and validate other people - even if they're sad and that makes you uncomfortable.
  5. Remember that feelings like bad/sad/negative/not-so, are completely normal.
  6. You are not limited to one emotion at a time.
  7. Be realistic with any timelines. (You can't set an end date for sadness if you have lost your job, home, pertner etc...) instead opt for small actionable steps that can make you feel better, and process at your own pace. 
  8. Take a break from social media if that would help.