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Toxic Positivity 101: What Is It and How to Avoid It

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Have you ever skilled these conditions before? You lose your job, you fight with your partner, otherwise you expertise a private problem that leaves you feeling terrible, and rather than receiving an alternative to vent, a friend tells you to “get over it”, “stay strong”, or “raise your vibes”. Sadly, these makes an attempt to present consolation are known as poisonous positivity. It may appear like a play on words. After all, how can one thing cheery and uplifting like positivity be toxic? But even positivity can take a darkish flip when it minimizes actual feelings. Let’s dive in to learn what it’s and the way to keep away from it.  

What Is ‘Toxic Positivity’?  

Toxic positivity is the assumption that you ought to always maintain a positive mindset no matter how difficult life can get. It pushes a “positive vibes only” approach, and real human experiences like pain, anger, stress, and frustration are all changed with fake happiness.  

And whereas there are certainly upsides to a cheerful approach, poisonous positivity minimizes, shames, and delegitimizes any “negative emotions” that want to be addressed and felt rather than pushed to the side.  

4 Common Examples of Toxic Positivity  

This forced positivity is sneaky and takes many forms. 

  1. Get over it. When you inform somebody to toughen up, placed on a courageous face, or recover from it, you’re dismissing how they feel.
  2. Stay positive. Statements to search for the bright side and keep positive invalidate the feelings of others and trigger somebody to bottle up their feelings rather than releasing them and receiving an alternative to really feel better.
  3. Be grateful. Telling people to be grateful and focus on the good issues of their lives doesn’t acknowledge their pain.
  4. Everything occurs for a reason. While some believe this assertion delivers consolation following grief, it’s a red flag that shuts down someone’s alternative to reveal their ache and obtain empathy.

4 Dangers of Toxic Positivity  

Whether it’s a friend that ignores your ache and tells you to be happy or a remark that says “happiness is a choice”, poisonous positivity can be dangerous to your self and to others. 

  1. It damages relationships. You can’t construct real relationships based on forced positivity. When people flip to you for support and also you minimize negative emotions, it creates fear, shame, and guilt.
  2. It’s an unhealthy type of coping. When you focus on avoiding or dismissing your feelings, it can trigger stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, to call a few.
  3. It prevents growth. All emotions, good or bad, give us important information to develop and improve. Toxic positivity robs us of experiencing disagreeable feelings that assist us gain perception and make decisions that result in growth. 
  4. It will increase psychological well being stigma. When denied alternatives to vent, it can result in additional distress, together with avoiding treatment in fear of feeling irregular or different. 

8 Signs of Toxic Positivity  

Unfortunately, poisonous positivity isn’t always obvious. It can be fairly subtle and hard to acknowledge till after the fact. But there are a few tell-tell indicators to maintain an eye out for so that you know how to keep away from it to assist others and yourself;  

  1. Feeling responsible or shameful for experiencing negative emotions   
  2. Putting on a poker face to cover the way you truly feel  
  3. Pushing issues to the side rather than acknowledging the way you feel  
  4. Avoiding battle in fear of “bringing bad energy or vibes”   
  5. Providing perspective (“It could be worse”) rather than empathy and validation   
  6. Maintaining a chilly entrance towards painful feelings skilled your self or by others  
  7. Delegitimizing, shaming, or minimizing others when they don’t have a positive attitude  
  8. Telling people to “get over it and be happy” because their ache makes you uncomfortable  

8 Ways to Avoid Toxic Positivity 

1. Acknowledge your feelings

How do you cope with a stressful life event? If your go-to is to keep away from the discomfort, you could also be internalizing poisonous positivity. When you’re upset, attempt to acknowledge the way you feel, both by sitting with it, venting to a friend, or journaling. Journaling is a nice tool to assist you identify, register, and perceive the good and bad in your life. It will assist you construct your self-awareness by reflecting on examples of the way you handled your self and friends experiencing a difficult moment. 

2. It’s okay to not be okay

A a half of studying how to keep away from poisonous positivity is accepting the reality that it’s okay to not be okay. As humans, we can’t select the feelings we wish to have and ignore the rest. We can try, however it will make issues worse. Instead, we have to really feel the full spectrum of emotions, the good and the bad. When you’re overwhelmed or upset, take away the guilt and provides your self permission to rest, care for yourself, and really feel your feelings. 

3. Communicate

If you have a friend whose go-to assertion is “Just be positive” each time you’re sad, it might be worth speaking how this upsets you. Expressing your feelings and wants can present a much-needed launch of stress, will assist you strengthen your boundaries, and enhance your relationships with your self and people round you. 

4. Advice or vent

Asking this one easy question, “Do you want recommendation or would you like to vent?” can be an actual turning level in your relationships. It provides the basis for somebody to speak their boundaries and so that you can acknowledge the feelings of others. 

5. Monitor your content

Social media is smoke and mirrors and doesn’t paint real human experiences. Indeed, people rarely post their setbacks, failures, or flaws and instead stick to the spotlight reel. To protect your self from on-line poisonous positivity, take note of the way you really feel after interacting with accounts. If you really feel upset, ashamed, or responsible after scrolling, consider unfollowing or limiting your social media usage. 

6. Practice eradicating the poker face

Hiding your feelings will solely make issues worse. Instead, practice aligning your temper with your attitude. If you really feel upset since you bought fired from a job, don’t force a smile to please others. You have every proper to really feel angry and unhappy – these are all legitimate feelings that want time to pass. 

7. Provide empathy

Focus on offering empathy when others come to you with an issue rather than shutting them down with forced positive statements. Remind them that you’re right here to listen and that their feelings matter to you. Even in the event that they don’t reply or behave the way you would, practicing this exchange will not solely strengthen your relationships however will teach you how to bathe your self with the identical love. 

8. Remove expectations

When you’re coping with a stressful life moment, it’s okay to have a good cry and really feel upset. Try to take away the expectation you ought to really feel a sure way. Feelings are complex, and also you may really feel one or a number of at once. For example, you can really feel upset about a situation and nonetheless be hopeful for a greater outcome.  

Lastly, all of us have different ranges of resilience and want time to acknowledge our pain. By studying how to acknowledge poisonous positivity, you’ll be extra equipped to give and obtain support when you or a loved one is experiencing a difficult moment.  

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