What is Toxic Positivity and How It Affects Us

What Is Toxic Positivity?

People who believe in toxic positivity feel better when things go wrong. But they also become depressed if things go well. They think everything is fine even though it isn’t. They ignore problems because they’re afraid of them. They refuse to admit mistakes or failures. They try to convince themselves that everything is going great even though it isn’t true.

Positive thinking helps you cope with negative situations. You should feel sad when things go wrong, but try to think positively about them.

Toxic positivity is a belief system that stresses the importance of optimism but ignores negative feelings. It also minimizes and denies any traces of human emotions that aren’t strictly happy or positive.

What is Toxic Positivity Bad?

People who are going through tough times should be able to feel safe sharing their emotions with others. Toxic positivity can make them feel bad about themselves because they’re experiencing negative emotions.

Positive thinking doesn’t work for everyone. It causes guilt when you’re feeling bad about yourself or your life. It avoids authentic human emotions because it feels fake. Toxic positivity works as an avoidance mechanism. People who use it avoid emotional situations that might make others uncomfortable. Sometimes we turn these same ideas onto ourselves, internalizing these negative thoughts. We then discount, dismiss, or deny our feelings.

Positive thinking doesn’t work when you’re going through tough times. You should try to think about what you can do to make yourself feel better.

People who go through traumatic events should try to maintain an optimistic attitude. They shouldn’t be told to stay positive. They should be encouraged to think positively about themselves and others.

How Toxic Positivity Affects Your Relationship with Others

Frustrated Couple
Image: Frustrated Couple

Toxic positivity is when people try to cheer others up by saying something positive. This usually makes the other person shut down and stop talking. People who use this tactic often do not realize what they’re doing.

You should listen to your friends when they’re feeling down. Don’t tell them that everything will be fine. Instead, let them know that you care about them.

Toxic positivity can affect your relationship with your children. You should teach them that their negative feelings are OK.

Kirkland notes that boys are discouraged from expressing emotions except those that reflect strength, while girls are encouraged to express emotions but only those that are seen as weak. This leads men to suppress their emotions, and this pressure can cause women to feel forced to act in ways that are inauthentic.

How to Identify Toxic Positivity

Toxic positivity can take many different forms. People who tell you to “stay positive” or “look on the bright side” are trying to shut you up. You should never feel pressured into staying positive when things aren’t going well. Instead, you should focus on finding solutions to problems.

Happiness is a choice. People who feel sad sometimes think that everything happens for a reason. But when we lose something, we might say that things happen for a reason. We want to avoid hurting other people by saying this. However, most people do not really mean what they say. They are trying to comfort us, but they actually mean that they think we should choose to be happy.

People should try to understand others’ feelings when they make insensitive remarks. Such statements may seem harmless but they can cause harm by letting someone off the hook. These statements can also shame and blame people who are dealing with extremely difficult situations.

Toxic positivity denies people the authenticity that they need to cope.

More Ways to Identify Toxic Positivity

Toxic positivity is a form of negativity that is subtle. By recognizing these signs, we can better understand toxic positivity.

People who try to hide their true feelings often end up hurting themselves by doing so. When we try to minimize others’ feelings, we may cause them pain. We should always express our true feelings. If someone doesn’t want to hear about your feelings, then maybe they aren’t worth listening to. Don’t shame people if they don’t have a happy attitude. Instead, encourage them to smile more often.

Why We Shouldn’t Use Toxic Positivity to Deal with Things

Positivity can be toxic when used inappropriately. It’s important to recognize when it’s being used incorrectly because this can lead to more suffering.

When we try to force ourselves to stay positive no matter how bad things get, we can become depressed. We may even start thinking that we deserve to suffer.

When we lie to others, we hurt them. We shouldn’t pretend that everything is fine when it isn’t. We should be honest with people about our own thoughts and feelings. We should learn to accept reality. Sometimes life is hard, and we will have to deal with some unpleasant things. We should not let other people control our moods.

We should try to help others instead of making them feel guilty. We should show empathy towards others. 

Why It’s Important to React Negatively Too

Sad Girl Leaning on Shoulder
Image: Sad Girl Leaning on Shoulder

Negative emotions help us learn more about ourselves. We need to be aware of them in order to understand who we really are.

When you feel hurt and sad because someone isn’t responding to you, you can either ignore it, or talk about it with them. You can also decide if you want to stay together or break up.

Negative emotions are uncomfortable and painful. You should try to avoid them if possible. Accepting negative emotions doesn’t mean that you’re weak or that you’re giving up. It means that you’re learning to deal with problems and challenges.

How to Handle Toxic Positivity

Some ways to deal with or overcome toxic positivity include avoiding toxic people, getting support from others, and learning how to cope with negative emotions.

If possible, we should avoid toxic people. This way, we won’t be influenced by their negativity.

If we are around people who constantly complain about their lives, we will begin to believe that everyone else has it worse than we do. This could lead us to think that we are worthless.

It’s okay to ask for help. People sometimes need to vent out their frustrations before they can move on. We should seek help whenever necessary.

If we are feeling down, we should take time to relax. We should spend time alone, meditate, exercise, or listen to music. We should find activities that make us happy. It’s absolutely fine to accept that there are times when we will feel unhappy. We should just focus on the present moment.

How to Prevent Toxic Positivity

Empathy is an important part of any relationship. We should always try to understand others’ feelings before trying to change them. Toxic positivity is dangerous because it can send the wrong message about how you feel about someone else. You may not know what to say when someone is feeling bad.

We shouldn’t say things like “it could have been worse” because it makes us think it’s ok no matter how bad things get, and that we should only focus on the positive aspects of our lives.

If we are having a difficult day, we should tell people how we feel. If we don’t, we might end up hurting them. They may even think that we are being rude or unkind.

Toxic positivity is often caused by depression. You should also consider talking to someone if you are experiencing these symptoms:

  • feeling hopeless
  • feeling tired all the time
  • having trouble sleeping
  • not wanting to eat

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