Goodbye Toxic Positivity
Although being positive is a good thing, forcing positivity on yourself when your feeling low can become toxic.
At the moment, scrolling through Instagram and finding one or two posts stating ‘don’t worry be happy,’ or ‘be positive’ is easy. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing more inspiring than a sentimental quote but, it can get pretty overwhelming when you’re advised to 'look on the bright side' if you’re not in the right headspace. Although good intentions are clear, being exposed to this false-cherry outlook when life is far from, puts you in the hands of toxic positivity.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, toxic positivity is the assumption, either by one’s self or others, that despite a person’s emotional pain or difficult situation, they should have a positive mindset. The truth is we, as humans, do have bad days, it’s normal! So by silencing how we are truly feeling with a positive only zone, is simply toxic. Although always ‘being positive’ may sound like a good thing, you might not be happy all of the time. We can’t just eternally play “always look on the bright side of life” by Monty Python and drink out of our millennium pink 'good vibes only' mug and dance our troubles away-because from time to time unhappy emotions are an essential part of processing pain. No matter how much you ignore them they won’t disappear.
The thing is, it can be uncomfortable showing and accepting your true emotions due to the pressure of having to be ‘OK’. Therefore it might seem easier to mask your feelings. But your negative feelings are just as valid as the positive ones! Denying how your truly feeling is a temporary fix so by learning how to accept and manage their existence will transform your way of coping with emotions. How do you do that you say?
Let’s conquer toxic positivity
Here are a few helpful tips for dealing with toxic positivity. Let’s get this bread.
Try to accept your genuine emotions
Denying how you’re truly feeling isn’t good for anybody but learning to accept and manage their existence is. It’s healthy to acknowledge that you’re not okay. Try to share your concerns with a friend, or someone you love and once they know how you’re really feeling they can support you through your tough times. This will really take some weight off your shoulders and might make you feel genuinely better.
Listen to and validate other people
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re feeling low and somebody tells you “don’t worry about it!” which might not be said with ill intentions but on the receiving end can feel disregarding to your worries. Instead here are some more hopeful phrases anybody could say that is valid rather than toxic.
- Describe what you’re feeling, I’m listening
- I see that you’re stressed, is there anything I can do for you?
- I’m here for you through good and bad.
- All vibes are welcome here
- It’s normal to feel like this, I believe in you.
It’s okay to not be okay
Remember that feeling sad, negative, down, not okay is completely normal. Remove the expectation and goal of feeling positive and let your emotions pass. You could try some coping mechanisms such as; journaling, talking to friends, exercising, or even just wrapping up in a warm blanket and sticking a good movie on. By having some self-soothing and mood-boosting methods when you’re feeling down can help comfort you, like a warm hug.