Toxic Positivity

Just stay positive!
Good vibes only!
It could have been worst.
Happiness is a choice.

Staying positive all the time is like being a frog in boiling water. Toxic positivity is equally dangerous as compared to Negativity.

Why isn’t it okay to not be okay?
The only good vibes approach is called toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is irrational faith that good things will happen. It is an obsession with being positive and viewing it as the only solution. Although this might sound pleasing and amazing but keeping a positive outlook might not always be the best thing to do.

Generalizing positivity is only an avoidant defense mechanism. A toxic silencing of negative emotion devalues grief and struggle.

Negative emotions are important. If positive emotions inspire you to invent the airplane, negative emotions will inspire you to invent parachutes. Our inherent nature of avoiding pain and seeking pleasure comes from our Id, as explained by Sigmund Freud in his theory on Id, Ego, and Superego. Staying positive is a pleasant feeling. However, we humans can never have all the favorable circumstances in our life, and trying to fit in our positive feelings in all the circumstances is toxic. The inability to accept the negative

The urge to have positive emotions all the time and avoid the negative ones starts pushing us towards hedonism and we start believing that seeking pleasure must be our ultimate aim. Irrespective of whether a hedonistic temperament is good or bad, the urge to stay positive all the time is surely an unhealthy way to cope with the realities of life.

Not allowing yourself to feel the pain and hiding under the positivity facade also develops selection bias in you.

Social media influencers and podcasts wave the positivity flag but knowingly or unknowingly, they are pushing people into a cave with no survival gear.
Being toxically positive can be distressing. The need to accept and acknowledge emotions is pushed aside.

The toxic positivity culture is also replacing the age-old tyrannical methodologies of exploiting people in industries and the common masses. Employees are abused through scope creeps and overwork to reduce hiring expenses. The Office gives a positive vibe and there are free tea, coffee, and snacks. The employees are made to believe that even if there is a lot of pressure, there are positive sides as well! Anger, stress, and frustration are not acceptable even if someone has reached his limits.

Being toxically positive can be distressing. The need to accept and acknowledge emotions is pushed aside with toxic positivity pushing to believe that negative emotions are unacceptable. Toxic positivity holds a banner stating –“if you aren’t positive then you are the problem.” Internalizing these ideas makes it difficult to feel emotions, dismissing and denying them. It stops growth and makes people less empathetic by stigmatizing grief, struggle, and sadness. This approach can dismantle the ability to solve problems ultimately affecting all aspects of life.

The signs that you might be toxically positive could be

• Pushing aside your problems rather than facing them.

• Guilt about feeling sad.

• Marginalizing others’ emotions, feelings, and hardships.

• Having a “get over it” attitude

To avoid toxic positivity and develop a healthier approach, start by identifying and labeling emotions. Humans experience a huge range of emotions, all of that is a critical part of well-being. Make yourself courageous to feel your emotions without worrying about others’ judgments. Make yourself know that it’s okay and normal to feel blue someday. Encourage yourself and others to talk openly about emotions. To do this, you need to develop a strong self-validating mechanism. Learn to validate yourself and your emotions without feeling guilty about it. In the end, before being an employee, a wife, a husband, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a friend, a colleague, a sub-ordinate, etc, you are a human carrying all the emotions in your DNA that got developed over a million years of evolution. It is absolutely natural and alright to feel negative.

Projecting internal negativity on someone or something is unhealthy, however, being toxically positive is equally unhealthy. Speak up and sort out something you don’t feel okay about.

Putting a positive spin on everything wouldn’t help. Positive thinking does not exist in a void, and it is not a panacea for all of the challenges. Just like a rainbow has seven colors so do you need to feel blue, orange, and yellow, to fully cherish and enjoy the human experience.

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