What is Toxic Positivity: Examples and How To Avoid It?
Who doesn’t want to avoid despair and conflict? We all want to skip to the good part and experience the joys, sunshine, and everything nice, right? It’s natural to want to feel optimistic when faced with despair and negativity. However, life is neither good all the time, nor bad.
We love to use the word, “positivity” when everything else is falling apart around us and I get it. I also want to skip the negativity and go directly to the bright side. But, does it always work in our favor? Or does it leave behind toxic impacts? Can positivity become toxic?
Refusing to acknowledge the negativity of the thoughts and feelings and skipping directly to the bright side can do more harm than good. It might bring a sense of peace, if only temporarily, but toxic positivity, in the long run, can leave us feeling more disoriented.
Take the example of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone advertised “Stay Positive” and “Good Vibes Only” but many of us forgot the real issues beneath all the toxic positivity. Job losses, unemployment, loss of loved ones – all these were stressors that we refused to acknowledge and that ultimately resulted in toxic positivity.
In this blog, we’re talking about what is toxic positivity, the risks and signs of toxic positivity, and how to avoid toxic positivity in the future.
Also Read: Stay Away From These Types of Toxic People
What is Toxic Positivity?
To elaborate, toxic positivity is also about suppressing difficult emotions which are the reason for pain and unsettling situations inside your mind. People in your surroundings may want you to focus only on good things and keep a positive attitude but sadly, this doesn’t always work.
Being a positive person is amazing but dismissing negativity is not. Every emotion is valid for a human being and must be understood mindfully. However, if you are facing toxic positivity in your life and are willing to cut it out, we will tell you the things that could be done.
Also Read: How To End A Toxic Friendship & Move On?
Risks Of Toxic Positivity
There are multiple risks of toxic positivity and of which you shall undoubtedly avoid toxic positivity.
- People who are surrounded by toxic positivity stay in isolation and social stigma which makes them feel ashamed. This stigma can make someone feel worse about mental health.
- Toxic positivity may destroy communication abilities and create challenges in relationships.
- It cuts down the self esteem and makes someone feel less powerful.
Signs of Toxic Positivity
Toxic positivity may look very subtle and natural to everyone around you but if not considered right on time can have long-lasting effects. People who fill their bag of emotions with extra happiness may show signs like:
- Masking of negative emotions leads them towards isolation. However, when someone talks to them, they put a poker face to bluff others.
- Feeling guilt over “having negative emotions”.
- They try to chase happiness by engaging in different activities. But it needs to be understood that happiness cannot be forced.
- Toxic positivity makes a person compare his situation to another person so that they warrant their situation as a better one.
- Try to shame others for expressing negative emotions.
- Trying to “Just get it over” with or Saying “it is what it is” by stuffing an emotion.
Here are toxic positivity examples that might help you understand it a little better;
Example 1: After losing your job, you might say to yourself, “It’s OK, great even because now I have a chance to find my dream job!” While there’s nothing wrong with changing your perspective, it’s also OK to grieve the job loss and be sad or frustrated about it.
Example 2: On social media, you’re always expressing through the pictures you post how grateful you are for your family and friends. Despite going through a hard time and being stressed and overwhelmed, you continue to share happy and grateful pictures on your social media. Again, there’s nothing wrong with expressing your gratitude but not letting anyone know how distressed you are can eventually take a toll on your health as you’re constantly denying yourself social support.
Example 3: Eventually, toxic positivity can cause you to feel burnout. And this can be evidenced when you said yes to additional work even though you were already overwhelmed and overworked. Despite it all, you said yes because you want to please people and stay positive for them. Denying that you need a mental break will not do you any favors in the long run.
How To Avoid Toxic Positivity & Maintain Own Emotional Well-Being?
1. Be Who You Are
It is definitely scary to face your own feelings and even make you vulnerable but this step is best to improve your relationship with yourself. Being a people pleaser may win you friends for a short period of time but it somewhere makes you more aggressive and results in emotional outbursts.
The best option is to open yourself up to a close friend or an expert. You can share your feelings with a counselor or connect with us by dropping a message at email@example.com.
Also Read: The Art of Kintsugi: Embracing Broken Things and Feelings
2. Feel Multiple Emotions At A Time
Let’s say, face your emotions in a layer. If you are feeling bad, tell yourself you are feeling bad. If it’s a good emotion, tell yourself you are feeling good. Even if emotions are not making any sense, let yourself go through multiple emotions at the same time.
No two emotions are mutually exclusive and often overlap through layers. This is the same as expecting gratitude and pain at the same time. Find an easy way for yourself and ask an expert or a therapist to show you the way.
Also Read: Stuck In An Emotional Rut? Here Are Some Tips To Help You Get Unstuck
3. Use A Gratitude Journal
Time spent in journaling is time well spent with yourself and your own emotions. You often navigate yourself to the trickiest feelings hidden deep within.
Journaling is indeed one of the best ways to avoid toxic positivity and find out what you need at the moment. This self-therapeutic approach can tell you how you feel, and what you want and gives you a chance for self-reflection.
Also Read: 50+ Daily Gratitude Journal Prompts That Will Change Your Life Forever
4. Limit Your Time Online
Social media can pinch toxic positivity even more. No, we are not asking you to leave social media altogether but optimize the content consumption. In fact, if you try to cut down 30 minutes from what you are consuming now, the results would be wonderful.
Also Read: The Digital Detox: Disconnect to Reconnect
You would not be intimidated by what the world is up to and how they are feeling right now and rather focus on your own side. With this, you can even spend a little more time with yourself and feel the genuineness of emotions. You can also start reading books and trust me this habit is never going to harm you.
You Can also start reading books and trust me this habit is never going to harm you. Here are sharing some of the best self-improvement books to lead a healthy and positive life.
5. Focus On Speaking & Listening
While someone expresses their emotions, it is important to listen to them closely instead of shutting them down. This is why you should open up to someone who is close to you and doesn’t get intimidated by outsiders. Your emotions are normal and it is good to explain and speak them out. This is important to respond to toxic positivity.
A Word From The Author
‘Everything in excess is opposed to nature’ and it lands absolutely true to the toxic positivity. Positivity must be there in our lives unless it begins to hinder the natural course of emotional well-being.
We believe you have learned how to handle toxic positivity through the points above and will keep everything balanced.
I hope this article helped you understand the risks of toxic positivity and how to avoid toxic positivity in the future. If you liked this article, let us know your thoughts in the comments sections below. You can also drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a “Hi!” on our social media.
Thanks for reading! Take care!
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Correct me if I am wrong..There is a very minute line between sympathy and empathy and toxic positivity inclines towards sympathy, isn't it?
I like the way you have explained via infographic in this blog to maintain emotional well being.
NO works much better for us than YES. And maybe that is why toxic attracts more than positive vibes.. thank you for breaking the glass for us.