What is toxic positivity? Why is it harmful?

How many times do you actually feel good when someone tells you ‘It is all going to get better, just stay positive’?
That does not actually help most of the time.

What is toxic positivity?

Always being positive, ignoring your ‘not so positive’ emotions, feeling guilty for experiencing sadness or anger are some of the traits of toxic positivity.

Let me explain in a more detailed manner.

Toxic positivity is forcing yourself to look at the bright side of a situation even if you can’t find any. It is telling yourself that your negative emotions are not valid.

toxic positivity

It is not always you, sometimes people around you can also say certain things that do not really help to make you feel better. Things such as ‘Look at the positive side’ or ‘It will eventually pass’ are often heard.

While people might just try to make us feel better, it in turn sometimes put us in guilt for not being able to be positive.

Why is toxic positivity harmful?

There are a lot of ways in which an unhealthy amount of positivity can prove to be harmful:

It can cause stress. When you are constantly told to feel happy, you start assuming that whatever you are feeling is not normal. You start questioning your emotions and you feel sorry for yourself for not being able to be as happy as you want to be.

It might somehow make you feel more underscored than you were actually feeling before. What you need to remember is that all emotions have equal value, all of them are valid.

It is absolutely fine to feel whatever you are feeling, you don’t have to give an explanation for whatever it is.

toxic positivity

The sad or angry emotions tend to persist for a longer time. The best way to get over something is to actually face it than to keep running away from it. You think that ignoring your negative emotions will help you to move past them. It is not like that.

They will remain there, your mind is going to take you back to those feeling no matter how hard you try. Running away from those feelings isn’t going to avert them from coming back.

Also read: Healing is a gentle process- 13 amazing ways to heal yourself

prolonged sadness due to toxic positivity

Just allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. When you actually analyze things that are going on within you, you are more likely to deal with them in a much better way.

You will be able to find a solution to those problems. Face whatever you are feeling.

It reduces productivity. When you face a problem, it doesn’t come alone, it brings with it several other hurdles too. It is certain that your problems aren’t going to last for a longer time, they will end someday.

As I mentioned earlier, toxic positivity can make you feel more stressed than the problem itself. In spite of giving you hopes, it positions you into thinking that your feelings are not valid and you are unable to motivate yourself.

This again puts you in a situation where self-doubt comes into the picture, you start doubting your strengths and your abilities.

Also read: 10 simple and effective ways to improve your self-esteem

How to avoid toxic positivity?

You can very easily get prone to toxic positivity. The easiest way to prevent it is to tell yourself that your emotions are rational. You have to allow yourself to feel everything, you have the right to feel it the way you want.

Avoid unrealistic notions of being happy. Nobody on this planet is happy. Happiness is a rarity. Just be okay with low days, don’t force yourself to be happy. Doing this might lead to several mental health issues. Prolonged stress is one of them.

Also read: How to stop comparing yourself to others- 10 powerful ways

We are constantly exposed to media that shows us an impractical vision of a world that is full of happy people and happy experiences.

People often feel distressed by watching movies and shows because it sometimes shows them what they lack, the quarrels that happen in such shows get sorted so easily which is not true in real life.

Real-life is much more realistic than all of this. You need to remember that everyone has a different way of working, different people might react to a situation in different ways and that shouldn’t make you question your way of thinking.

Also read: There is one thing you can never fail at, being yourself

Your life has a different purpose, a purpose that is going to prove to be the best for you. Comparing yourself and your life with other people is stupid, just focus on things that are in your control.

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