We all know people who are relentlessly positive. No matter what happens, they always seem to find the bright side and remain upbeat. While there is nothing wrong with having a positive attitude, there is such a thing as being too positive. When someone has toxic positivity, their relentless cheerfulness begins to wear on others and can actually be harmful to their mental health.
In this blog post, I will discuss what toxic positivity is, different forms it can take, and why it’s bad for you. I will also provide tips on how you can identify and overcome toxic positivity in your life.
So, what exactly is toxic positivity?
Toxic positivity is when someone excessively focuses on the bright side to the point where they ignore their own negative emotions and the negative emotions of others. It’s a way of thinking that downplays any negativity and encourages people to just “suck it up” or “look on the bright side.”
Toxic positivity can take many different forms. For example, someone might tell you to “just be happy” when you confide in them about something that’s bothering you. Or they might say things like “everything happens for a reason” or “you should be grateful for what you have.”
On the surface, these phrases may seem harmless or even helpful. But when you say them to someone who is dealing with real pain, they can be hurtful and dismissive.
Toxic positivity can also manifest as always looking on the bright side, no matter what the situation is. This might look like pretending everything is okay when it’s clearly not, or putting up a false front of happiness.
Why is toxic positivity bad for you?
Toxic positivity is harmful for a few reasons.
First, it invalidates someone’s emotions and experiences. When you tell someone to “just be happy,” you are essentially telling them that their feelings are wrong or unimportant. This can lead to people feeling like they have to suppress their emotions, which is not healthy.
Second, toxic positivity can prevent people from seeking help or support. If someone is always putting on a brave face, they might not reach out for help even when they are struggling. This can lead to serious mental health problems down the road.
Finally, toxic positivity can be exhausting. Constantly having to put on a happy face is not sustainable, and it can eventually lead to burnout.
Signs to look out for
How can you tell if you or someone you know is being too positive? Here are some signs to look out for:
- Downplaying your own emotions or the emotions of others
- You avoid talking about difficult topics because you don’t want to bring anyone down
- You are always the one trying to cheer people up, even when you’re not feeling great yourself
- Putting on a false front of happiness, even when you’re struggling
- Feeling exhausted from always being positive
If you find yourself exhibiting any of these signs, it might be time to take a step back and reassess your attitude.
How to overcome toxic positivity
Toxic positivity is not something that you have to live with. There are steps you can take to overcome it.
First, try to be more aware of your own emotions and the emotions of others. When you are feeling down, allow yourself to feel those emotions instead of pushing them away. And when someone confides in you about something that’s bothering them, resist the urge to tell them to “look on the bright side.”
Second, try to focus on realistic positivity. This means looking for the silver lining in difficult situations without downplaying the negative aspects. For example, instead of telling yourself “everything happens for a reason,” try to focus on what you can learn from the situation.
Finally, make sure to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. This means taking breaks when you need them, setting boundaries, and saying no when you need to.
For Further Reading
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- The Scourge of Toxic Positivity
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