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Why Is Toxic Positivity Bad For Us And How To Deal With It?

Why Is Toxic Positivity Bad For Us And How To Deal With It?

Ever had one of those days where nothing goes according to plan or maybe you just heard some bad news that crushed your world?

When that happens, we usually share it with someone close. I mean, it’s much easier when we don’t keep everything to ourselves, right? At least this is how it should be.

However, sometimes speaking to others can drain us even more because they tend to force us to be happy and grateful no matter what. Have you ever been in those situations?

You know, when people don’t take anything you say seriously. They expect you to shake everything off with a smile and a “it’s no big deal” attitude. If yes, you’ve been the victim of toxic positivity.

How has society convinced us that toxic positivity is normal

After reading this, try to pay attention to things around you, TV commercials, billboards, things popping out on your phone, everything! 

It’s crazy when you think about it but we’re literally surrounded by this big cloud of positivity wherever we go. This sounds funny and harmless but in this way, society puts a heavy weight on us.

Have you ever seen a realistic pad or tampon commercial? You see these happy girls carelessly running, hopping around in their white jeans.

They look like they just won a jackpot and not like they’re bleeding and feeling like their insides are shredding. And here you are – lying down in the fetal position, in excruciating pain cursing the day you were born as a woman. So yeah…not really accurate.

A positive mindset is shoved down our throats at all times. Influencers are preaching an easy lifestyle, the “good vibes only” quote is on everything around us and self-proclaimed gurus are selling us their books and courses! 

You can’t even catch a break in the workplace! More and more often companies are pushing positivity through their workplace cultures with the excuse of wanting to create a healthy environment when they’re actually doing the exact opposite.

Living in such a way is not normal and natural for humans, plus it creates a bigger backlash in the long run! 

So, why is it not normal?

Pressuring people to put a pretty bow on everything they say only dismisses their feelings and makes them feel like their reactions and emotions are exaggerated. And this is a dangerous road to go down.

Keeping an optimistic attitude is recommended as we shouldn’t be pessimistic about everything but forcing ourselves to be happy even when that’s not the case is not healthy at all.

Even science has discovered that suppressing emotions only leads to what they call a “rebound effect”. Sure, you can choose to ignore your feelings and only express certain emotions for some time.

However, sooner or later, that will rebound and only create a worse effect than in the first place when we chose not to deal with it. 

Trust me, I’ve tried that and can confirm it. Dismissing my negative emotions and pushing myself to feel happy all the time gave me nothing except a sudden breakdown and months in therapy. 

Some studies have even shown that avoiding negative emotions for extended periods can lead to the development of many diseases, including cancer! So, how do we get out of this endless loop of toxicity?

Allow yourself and others to feel EVERYTHING

I remember how my psychologist gave me a really simple advice – you need to feel everything. Sure, feeling ugly emotions is not fun and easy but it’s a must to keep our sanity.

Don’t hide from anger, sadness, and frustration by scrolling on your phone or binge-watching some TV show. If you do, those negative emotions will find you when you least expect it and crush you down.

This also applies to dealing with other people. If someone pours their soul out to you, avoid saying things like:

  • “Don’t be so negative.”
  • “It can always be worse/Someone has it worse than you.”
  • “Always look at the bright side.”
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”

I know it’s in our human nature to help others and we often think the right way to do it is by cheering them up but sometimes that’s not the case. It’s completely fine to be upset and often the best thing we can offer someone is just a silent nod and a shoulder to cry on. 

Another useful tip is to always consume media with a grain of salt. You don’t post your worst life moments on Instagram, do you? So why do you think that an influencer and a friend from high school are living their best life every day? 

Whenever you think someone’s life is perfect, just know that you’re not seeing the full picture. You have to remember that there’s more to life than what we show on social media. Everyone has their own hardships and obviously, we won’t share it all with the world. 

But what we should do, is find ourselves friends we can share it with and not be attacked by a stream of toxic positivity but compassion and understanding. Don’t forget to do the same for yourself too and remember that all feelings are valid and completely fine!