Toxic positivity is a relatively new term that many people do not understand. After all, positivity is a good thing, right? We are taught from a young age to be friendly, look at the good parts of life, and be optimistic, no matter the circumstances. Turns out many people take this too far. Being overly optimistic and refusing to allow yourself or others to feel the negativity of a bad situation can actually be harmful.
It is perfectly fine to try to be optimistic, but the problem happens when people do not allow themselves to face the negative or bad situations and instead pretend everything will always be okay.
Sometimes it will not be.
Keep reading to learn four ways to avoid or combat toxic positivity from this day forward.
Learn How To Be Uncomfortable
Being uncomfortable is not fun. Many people have a hard time dealing with this feeling. I know I do. However, it is essential to be there for others or face things yourself logically and acceptably. This does not have to be positive.
For instance, if you are at a funeral or a wake, the most common phrase you will hear is, “Sorry for your loss.” Even if this phrase does not seem helpful, it actually is. You are expressing your love, comfort, and support for them without diminishing the situation. This is way more helpful than statements like, “Everything happens for a reason,” or, “Everything will be alright.”
Those types of overwhelmingly positive statements are said often, and they are not helpful most of the time and are often untrue. Sometimes things will not be alright. The only point of saying everything happens for a reason is that we can not comprehend the reason or fix the problem, so it is easier to believe that statement than face the situation at hand.
Being uncomfortable is fine. That feeling is one of the many feelings we as humans feel daily. Do not let go of all the emotions of the human experience just so you can feel more comfortable in bad situations.
Stop Burying Your Feelings
It is unhealthy to bury your true feelings in most situations. When you bury them, you are not addressing them, and they will fester. It is understandable how you may need to focus on other things to get through it at that moment. However, eventually, and sooner is better, you need to examine how you feel and deal with everything that has happened.
Burying your feelings will not diminish them; they can actually become stronger. In fact, a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science actually concluded that bottling up or burying your feeling can make people more aggressive.
Learn How To Accept Who You Are
Have you ever really accepted yourself? Do you practice unconditional love? Sometimes, the issue we have to be toxic positive starts with how we feel about ourselves. This can include judging ourselves anytime we think the slightest negative thought.
If you are having issues with toxic positivity, you really need to start by understanding who you are and why you think a certain way. Why do you need to sugarcoat everything and pretend everything will always be alright? Think about who you are and why you feel the way you do.
It is possible that your upbringing or other relationship conditioned you to think this way. Here’s the thing – it’s not working. No one can be positive all the time. Let go of the past and learn to love yourself.
Finally, you will want to be authentic to who you are. Think about when you are exhibiting toxic positivity. Are you alone or with others? If you are with others, is this for their benefit? And if it is, is that because you want to please others, make others happy, or have others like you?
If so – stop. Be who you are. If you’re sad, stressed, or grieving, own it. It is okay. Life is a process, and we all feel different emotions. Do not pretend that everything is OK for someone else. Be authentic to who you are the feelings and emotions you are experiencing.
This article is opinion and not a substitute for professional advice. Disclaimer