Positivity is usually seen as a good thing, something to strive towards, but can you really take it too far? Can you actually push away the people closest to you because of it? Let me know what you think!
There’s nothing wrong with trying to be optimistic when things get tough—but there comes the point where so-called positive thinking may become toxic. If you’re displaying toxic positivity toward yourself or another person, here’s why it’s a problem and how to prevent it.
What Is Toxic Positivity?
Toxic positivity is defined as having an unwavering optimistic view of denying one’s own or others’ emotions. It is the notion that no matter how painful or unpleasant a circumstance is, an individual should remain optimistic and modify their viewpoint to be cheerful or thankful.
Toxic Positivity Signs
To assist you in noticing how toxic positivity manifests itself in everyday life, we’ve compiled a list of typical expressions and experiences.
Hiding/disguising your genuine sentiments
Attempting to “get on with your life” by ignorantly disregarding a feeling
Feeling bad for feeling the way you do
Using clichés or comments to minimize other people’s experiences
Attempting to provide someone with an alternative perspective (e.g., “it might’ve been worse”) rather than supporting their emotional experience
Shaming or chastising people for showing disappointment or anything other than optimism
Why Is Toxic Positivity Harmful to Our Health?
Suppressing unpleasant sensations can harm both mental and physical health. They do not vanish into thin air when you ignore an unpleasant emotion. It could simply accumulate beneath the surface, increasing stress.
Suppressing unpleasant feelings may be the most straightforward path ahead, but it might make them stay longer. Accepting the discomfort and understanding your emotions allows you to start working through the stressors and healing from them.
How to deal with toxic positivity
Avoid suppressing or disregarding your feelings
Recognize how you feel and allow yourself to experience all of your emotions, good and negative. Avoiding how you feel will only make things worse. Face your emotions head-on, as they can, give important information that can lead to positive adjustments in your life.
Pay attention to what others are saying and express your support
Don’t shut off someone who expresses a hard feeling with toxic clichés. Instead, reassure them that their emotions are normal and that you are available to listen.
Be honest with yourself about how you should feel
It’s natural to feel pressured, apprehensive, or even terrified when confronted with a complex scenario. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Concentrate on self-care and taking actions to better your position.
Be wary of social media
Following “positive” social media accounts may be a source of inspiration at times, but pay attention to how you feel after viewing and interacting with such information. If you feel ashamed or guilty after viewing “uplifting” posts, it might be because of toxic positivity. Consider restricting your social media use in such instances.
Toxic optimism is often subtle, and we’ve all been guilty of it at some point in our lives. However, by learning how to recognize it, you will be better equipped to free yourself of this thinking style and offer (and receive) more steadfast support while going through anything complicated.
Start identifying toxic remarks and make an effort to let yourself and others feel your happy and negative emotions.