I have been affected by toxic positivity.
So I was cruising Instagram the other day and I stumbled across this post by @Whenthemusicstops and I felt compelled to put down my thoughts regarding this subject.
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So, toxic positivity. What the heck is all this about? What do you mean we shouldn’t tell people to think positive, or to feel better soon? What is really going on here that we should be looking at? I believe it stems from societal culture that has decided at one point that stifling uncomfortable feelings is what everyone thinks is best. Now, maybe this has some good, like not having a meltdown in a grocery store because you and your husband got into an argument versus melting down at home. But, what it morphed into is something sick, that is creating a lot of disconnect from our true selves and leaving a lot of people in the wake.
Good Vibes only tells a lot of people that they shouldn’t feel bad at all. Keeping a positive mindset isn’t getting people out of depression or anxiety. Everything doesn’t have to happen a reason to have happened. It makes the gold dust of life lose its luster. And for me that is really sad. This is the kind of stuff my depression stems from. It’s also found in so many different areas of our life from work conversations, home conversations, friends, family, social media. It is literally everywhere, and helping absolutely no one at the same time.
Do you know what it feels like to have someone say those things to you? Do you have to tell yourself that they are definitely well intentioned even though it kind of stings a little? Maybe they could just listen a little longer, or validate me. Instead I’m being told that this awful feeling/thing happened for a reason and I am expected to think happy thoughts until it goes away. But the bad thoughts and feelings don’t go away, those same people will also share memes about how stored emotions turn into ailments. So, why is there such a big disconnect?
Basically there is somewhere in the in-between that we should all find. We all need to work on handling our own and others emotions better. Like, we could all get to the point when our people who need us can rely on us without feeling invalidated. I think it’s going to take a lot of work on our part. We all have a whole pie to work with when it comes to what we have to do.
So what does this look like? It could be as simple as just nodding in place of “platitudes” or any other form of invalidation. Or saying, “I’m here for you” instead of “just think happy thoughts” Or instead of saying “Everything happens for a reason” say this instead, “That must be really hard”, here is one more example,” Happiness is a choice” versus “your feelings are valid”. These simple phrase alternatives can do so much in such a short amount of time, when you notice the relief in someone’s face the first time you use your new lexicon for these kinds of things, it will make you feel better too.
The relief is what everyone needs. Be the relief someone needs, hopefully together we can change the way we interact with other people to actually make the world a better place from the inside for real instead of just covering it up, shutting it up and ignoring it.
I want to thank the few places I’ve fallen down rabbit holes in while researching for this topic, go check out their material on the subject!
Very Well Mind -What is Toxic Positivity https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-toxic-positivity-5093958
Healthline _‘Toxic Positivity’ Is Real — and it’s a Big Problem During the Pandemic https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/toxic-positivity-during-the-pandemic
I wanted to add and edit! I also made a podcast on the topic, so here’s the link for that…. https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/rme6bd/Toxic_positivity_mixdown8n45e.mp3