What’s the key to true happiness? Is it love, wealth, finding your inner peace, or all of the above? Many of us are on our own unique journey in life with regards to seeking and maintaining true happiness. But the truth of the matter is, life isn’t all rainbows, unicorns and sunny days. Sometimes we experience disappointment, hardships, betrayal, and failure which can, at times, foster negative feelings. This of course is normal. So why do we feel guilty for feeling bad? Toxic positivity is one of the reasons.
What’s Toxic Positivity?
Toxic positivity is the belief that you should stay positive, no matter what life throws your way. And the moment you are anything but positive, the general consensus is that you must be the problem. It’s the action of forcing positivity onto yourself or others instead of offering support, or being understanding of the situation at hand. Toxic positivity, although it has good intentions, is in fact, counterproductive. Phrases like “Stay positive,” “Look on the bright side,” or “Good vibes only” are examples of toxic positivity.
When Positivity Turns Toxic
If you’re experiencing a hard time in your life, there’s an abundance of memes, books, apps and things to do out there to remain “positive”. But what happens when you burn some candles, write in your journal, practice yoga, or just focus on the good… and still don’t feel any better? Does that mean you’re a bad person or inferior to the ones that do? No, absolutely not. You’re human, and life naturally has its ups and downs. Simply ignoring your negative thoughts and slapping on a happy face is not the answer. There’s not always a quick or cookie-cutter fix to the curveballs thrown our way. Pushing the idea of ignoring negative feelings rather than being honest about them and facing your issues is what’s toxic.
How to Overcome Toxic Positivity
The best way to overcome toxic positivity is to be honest about your situation and all the feelings associated with it and deal with them. Yeah, reading a self-help book may help, but it won’t last because all your doing is masking your issues with false happiness. The more you bury and run away from your feelings, the more you’re hurting yourself in the end. It’s ok to not be ok all of the time.
There’s nothing wrong about feeling shitty about things that have gone wrong in our lives. But be willing to feel them, face them, and heal from them. That requires WORK on your part (like therapy). Sometimes, you just need time; other times, you may need to just cry. But feeling what you’re truly going through and learning from it is much better for your mental well-being in the long-run.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been on the receiving end of toxic positivity?