Ever Heard of Toxic Positivity? It’s a Thing
Well here’s my first official post after being on hiatus for a little over 2 months. While on hiatus, there were some new things that I learned about. One of them is toxic positivity.
Now how could positivity be toxic? That’s what I thought at first, but then I looked more into it. Well it’s something that isn’t catastrophic and horrible, but it can be hurtful even in the long run.
What is Toxic Positivity?
That’s the definition of this topic. I’m sure at some point in our lives we were in a situation where we had to make it appear that we were happy and everything was all right where in reality that wasn’t the case. We had to hold back our tears, keep our frustrations in check, and even forget about our problems and struggles.
This goes back to my post on wearing emotional masks to keep up a positive yet fake appearance. Not expressing and letting out other emotions like anger, sadness, or fear for example, your burying those feelings and not being true to yourself. This may not always cause complications right away, but there can be some problems in the future.
Toxic positivity is a form of avoidance. A person can have those negative emotions and not want to acknowledge them maybe assuming that they’ll go away on their own. Acknowledging emotions shows that their present, but something you may not know is that you don’t have to fully embrace them in that moment. You can recognize it, but you can move past it immediately.
If you’re dealing with something negative, some environments make it hard to express these emotions. When were at school, it’s hard to show sadness for example because some would say that you would be disrupting the class.
If your at work and working with kids and your angry with someone, you couldn’t yell or swear at the kids for no reason. You would have to bite your tongue or in an extreme case don’t go into work if you can’t control your emotions. Any kind of outbursts toward the kids, boss, or your co-workers wouldn’t be good.
If you were around people who let’s say you believed were doing better than you, it may make you feel uncomfortable to be around or associate with them. Your outward appearance says happiness, but on the inside you feel jealous.
Your not being true to yourself or your emotions.
There are some phrases that we may have said to someone who was feeling down and it turns out that those words weren’t helping the person and we’re actually making things worse.
Here is a list of some of those phrases:
- Just be happy
- Only good vibes
- You’ll get over it
- Think happy thoughts
- You’ll get through this
- Stop being negative
- See the good in everything
- Never give up
Some of these phrases I have said to someone myself in an effort to try to help them; so your not alone if you have done this. Giving up on something should ONLY be done if it’s causing you any kind of physical, mental, or emotional harm to yourself or to other people.
Below is a chart of positivity and toxic positivity phrases:
Handling Toxic Positivity
So you may be asking yourself, ‘how can I be true to myself?’ or ‘how can I help someone in my life without giving them any kind of toxic positivity?’. Here are some ways in how to handle toxic positivity:
- Don’t believe that you should ‘be happy’ all the time
- Talk to someone who will ‘really’ listen to you
- Your not a bad person if your not happy
- Possibly look into therapy
- It’s ok to feel whatever it is your feeling. Welcome all your feelings
- Lend a listening ear to someone instead of advice
- Acknowledging that someone feels bad and being around them may be all the support and comfort they need
Here is a chart of how to avoid toxic positivity:
As I mentioned before, you’re not alone if you have said any of those phrases or done anything that will be considered toxic positivity. Some of those phrases we learn indirectly from other people or from what we read sometimes. Those phrases or other behaviors that resemble toxic positivity are mostly done with good intentions. Most people aren’t trying to make things worse for the other person. Sometimes those you care about like family members or close friends may just need a hug to start feeling better. They don’t need any tips or a lecture on their problems.
Looking into this topic was an eye opener for me. Maybe it was an eye opener for you as well. Some of our personalities is about solving and fixing problems that we encounter; that could be our own or other peoples. We sometimes get in our head that we have to do something huge in order to fix something even if it’s simple and that it’s going to require a lot of work. That’s not always the case; sometimes we just have to take a step back and look at the overall problem and deconstruct it bit by bit.
It’s nice to be back and there will be more content coming. Thank you for your support I really appreciate it and remember your not alone and you have worth in this world.
This is an excellent post! I will definitely keep this in mind for myself and others. I would think this is especially hard for men. Women at least allow themselves to feel with no public shame, although in the professional world it’s frowned upon. But men hardly ever have a space that allows them to feel free of judgement. This reminds me a proverb that says, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,But a good word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25)
Thank you for equipping me with the right words to cheer someone up.
Your welcome Heather
Thank you I appreciate it