When there is too much positivity, it can become stifling or, how some people are apt to put it, “toxic.” People who go in for toxic positivity cling to the idea that we should hold on to a positive frame of mind in any circumstance, even the direst one. Such people prefer to deal with good vibes, and that attitude has got a lot to say for. But upon consideration, we can see that toxic positivity can create false, artificial emotions to replace emotions that may be unpleasant, but are real.
Since the condition requires putting down sadness, grief, other negative emotions, it could put people under extra pressure to keep up appearances when they are despondent.
Therefore it’s worth your while to know more about this condition and the dangers that accompany it. It requires knowing a few tips on how not to spring the trap.
Understanding Toxic Positivity
Toxic positivity refers to the ongoing process of concentrating on and accentuating positive emotions with stifling any arising negative emotions. There is no doubt that a certain level of positivity is necessary for our well-being, but too much of it may cause a reaction of distrust that will eat into serious relationships. Also, negative issues that require addressing can remain left out and stagnating.
If we picture a situation where somebody’s life took a turn for the worse, and all the reaction they get from their nearest and dearest is “Oh, it will blow over soon,” it may well seem as if they werу shamming – or totally unable to control their feelings.
Toxic positivity can often be misplaced, like in the following situations:
- a parent who has lost a child won’t want to hear that it allows them to conceive more children
- a terrible catastrophe isn’t going to become less terrible because “there is a reason behind everything.”
- offering advice that it’s no use to brood over bad things because there are many good things in your life
- passing around the opinion that seemingly positive people and people who prefer to keep their feelings to themselves are strong and deserve more tremendous respect
The wish to conceal negative emotions is tempting and understandable, but they usually manifest themselves simultaneously. They find a vent in aggressive outbursts, inclination to acerbic comments, sudden distancing from everyday social life.
On the inside, negative emotions, if repressed, aggravate depression, anxiety and stress, undermine self-confidence. These aggravations may impact social life adversely and take a toll on relationships. So negative emotions should be expressed properly.
Wherein lies the danger?
When the toxic positivity attitude intrudes upon those passing through a difficult phase, it can be especially gross. Instead of showing empathy, relating to real emotions, people can hide behind stock phrases that allow them to seem sophisticated. Meanwhile, the toxic positivity wisdom recipients are apt to feel thrust aside, invalidated, and undeserving support. They get distracted from acknowledging their feelings, facing them, and getting valuable insights in their lives.
The conclusion is toxic positivity mustn’t be let loose and should be held in check. Below are some tips on how to set about it.
Taking toxic out of positivity
In order not to get trapped in self-assumed toxic positivity, several measures are advisable:
acknowledging negative emotions, designating them as usual, valid and meaningful instead of pushing negative emotions to the back of the mind, understand and name them discuss them with considerate and supportive people – a therapist or a close relative/friend make a habit of talking about all kinds of emotions, negative ones included, with good friends
Seeking to avoid being too toxic and positive with others, you should:
make it comfortable for friends to share their emotions (of all kinds) with you not to mind discussing negative feelings, grief, anxiety check himself from giving staple responses to expressions of grief or sadness understand that powerful negative emotion are linked to strong positive ones – deep love can cause devastating dejection or engulf melancholy
Some more ideas on dealing with excessive positivity:
Stop minding being uncomfortable
Toxic positivity is based partly upon the unwillingness to face unpleasant things in life. Admit that such things happen, they do drive us out of our comfort zone, but they are here to be recognized and endured. It takes an amount of courage, but it is worth your while to be able to put up with unpleasantnesses – and assist others in bearing the burden of theirs. Don’t slide into attempts to soften the bitter pill with artificial positivity.
Develop a realistic approach to all of your feelings
A difficult situation is bound to throw you down into a welter of anxiety, worries, stress and maybe even despair. It is tough to cope with this turmoil, so don’t stifle these feelings. Begin to consider ways to treat yourself to something nice to take the edge off the emotions and think out steps to control the situation.
Stop yourself when you want to fob people off with toxically positive responses
Verbal support is essential, not to say vital, and when conversations become emotionally pregnant, the choice of language becomes critical. A friend burdened by sad news might not like to be kept reminded of good things in her life! But she is sure to be mollified by expressions of empathy and a suggestion to go somewhere or do something that will brighten her up a bit.
Watch your feelings
One of the ways to dispel a gloomy mood is to follow social sites news with positive content and feel uplifted. Yet this type of content can bring about opposite feelings. Once you’ve noticed that optimistic posts leave the residue of shame because you started feeling inferior, it may be toxic positivity working behind the scene. If it is so, refrain from spending too much time checking online news.
Remind yourself that toxic positivity may linger for a while yet
We sometimes need to unlearn our acquired bad habits – toxic positivity is one of them – and it won’t fall off the instant we wished it to. Even though you are trying to reject this attitude, it will crop up now and again to repeat its regular performance. It’s only natural that it should.
Behavioral changes don’t occur at the drop of a hat; they take slow squeezing out of the system. Give yourself up to open-hearted existence and keep distancing yourself from the dull repetition of spuriously optimistic sententiosities.
A few final words
Positivity being an attractive notion, we can all shift into the mode of its toxic version when we encounter a certain kind of situation. Learn to distinguish between healthy and toxic positivity, see that your reactions are honest and not mechanical, dispense heartfelt support and sympathy – that is full living!
As you get rid of toxic reactions, you will be closer to your and other people’s emotions, positive and negative alike.