Toxic Positivity. What is it? Am I Toxic?

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We all need to be positive, but how positive is positive and when doespositive turn negative?

Has someone told you to “just be positive” or “look on the bright side” when you expressed negative emotions or struggles?

Has someone ressured you to always be happy and positive, even when they know you are going through a difficult time?

Have you ever invalidated someone’s emotions by telling them that they should be grateful for what they have or that they have no reason to feel upset?

Toxic Positivity

Or has someone been blaming you for your negative experiences or emotions by suggesting that you have attracted negativity because of their own negative thinking?

They think they are being positive, but in fact it is “Toxic Positivity”

Toxic positivity is a term used to describe the excessive and insincere promotion of positivity and optimism to the extent that it becomes harmful or oppressive. It is the belief that one should always maintain a positive mindset, even in the face of adversity, and that negative emotions should be suppressed or avoided.

While positive thinking can be beneficial in many situations, toxic positivity can be harmful in that it can dismiss or invalidate the negative experiences and emotions of others. It can create an unrealistic expectation that people should always be happy and positive, which can be particularly damaging for those who are going through difficult times, such as grief, trauma, or mental health issues.

Toxic positivity can also lead to a lack of empathy, as those who promote it may struggle to understand or relate to others who are struggling with negative emotions. It can also discourage individuals from seeking help or support, as they may feel ashamed or guilty for experiencing negative emotions.

We need positivity, but while positivity can be helpful, it is important to acknowledge and validate negative emotions and experiences as well, and to recognize that it is okay to not always be positive. Let us all strive for balance and authenticity in our emotions and interactions with others.

Using positive affirmations or motivational quotes in a way that dismisses or ignores the realities of someone’s situation is toxic.

Expecting someone to “get over” a traumatic experience or loss quickly and return to their normal life is toxic.

Let’s watch ourselves in our conversations and draw a line between actually being positive and sounding positive for the sake of it. Instead, here are ways to avoid toxic positivity and be a more empathetic and supportive person:

Acknowledge and validate negative emotions: When someone expresses negative emotions or experiences, it’s important to acknowledge and validate their feelings, even if you can’t fix the problem. You can say things like, “I’m sorry you’re going through this,” or “That sounds really difficult.”

Ears that listen and hearts that understand and empathize, go a long way for a person in a negative situation.

Offer support and empathy: Instead of telling someone to “just be positive,” offer them support and empathy. You can say things like, “Is there anything I can do to help?” or “I’m here for you if you need to talk.”

Avoid minimizing or invalidating negative experiences: Don’t tell someone that they should be grateful or that their problems are small in comparison to others. Everyone’s experiences are valid, and it’s important to respect that.

Practice active listening: When someone is expressing their feelings or experiences, listen actively and with empathy. Avoid interrupting or offering unsolicited advice.

Encourage healthy coping mechanisms: Instead of pressuring someone to be positive, encourage them to find healthy ways to cope with their negative emotions. This could include seeking professional help, practicing self-care, or spending time with loved ones.

Remember that being positive is not always the solution. Negative emotions and experiences are a natural part of life, and it’s important to be supportive and empathetic, even in difficult times. Let’s understand that everyone is going through difficult times and it’s upto us to remain positively empathetic.  Thank you for reading this. If you resonate with what I said in this page, please leave me a note below.

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