You all would agree to the fact that too much of anything is harmful, so is the case with being positive all the time. Let me tell you why I decided to write an article on Toxic Positivity.
it was a few days back I came across an Instagram post which led me into thoughts I never had before.
It talked about how we constantly try to create an environment or surrounding to feel better and happy, when we are not happy at all.
It stated how we constantly keep telling others that everything will be fine one day.
Yes, surely it will be but the thing which matters the most is how you put this up to others.
Are you telling them that things will be fine, or are you assuring yourself?
After a lot of thinking processes and going through various articles, I concluded that we put ourselves in this state of toxicity because of two reasons.
The first one being, considering ourselves to be way too annoying and always nagging about things.
Imagine you telling your friends about the things bothering you and your friend tells you to describe and share things, think less and stay positive.
Yes, this is the friend you need in life.
Now imagine yourself sharing these things with someone and that person tells you,
“yaar you are always complaining dude”, “kabhi to Rona band kar de”, “isse zyda to main suffer kr rhi/rha hoon” .
Yeah, exactly these things, these damn words leaves a person with no choice than to pretend like they are the happiest.
They keep assuring themselves that everything is fine, denying the reality and living in a state of myths.
This is what we call toxic positivity.
The second reason why a person indulges in practising toxic positivity unknowingly is, like consider your friends telling you,
“bro you are always giving positive vibes”, “arey isse kuch bhi bol do he/she never minds”, “bhai kaise samjha leta hai sabko”, “how do you always manage to stay positive and let others also to reflect on that?
Too common isn’t it?
Happened with you too right?
These words which feel like praises actually pressurise many of us to stay happy even when we are not.
It forces us to stay positive for others even when we are going through hard times ourselves.
Ever heard of the saying,
“A listener needs a listener too”?
A person should first learn to be happy then only he/she can make others happy.
“Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires.The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.”
( The subtle art of not giving a F*ck! )
What are the effects of Toxic Positivity?
When a person tries to avoid or hide his thoughts of failure, or something misfortunate.
He/she is actually being toxically positive which is harmful in many ways.
Firstly, the person becomes too vulnerable as he/ she is not prepared for anything bad to happen and when it actually happens, they end up losing it all.
Secondly, they overlook the deed to accept, which again is an important aspect in our lives to keep moving.
Accepting things the way they are instead of constantly assuring yourself that,
“no everything is fine”
leads to a state of vulnerability which again leaves the person devastated.
Instead of momentary happiness, one should look for long term happiness by ‘look for’ here I mean, ‘should work on long term happiness’.
Psychology defines toxic positivity as: The excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. The process of toxic positivity results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.
How to identify Toxic positivity?
By reflecting on your day to day activities, your way of dealing with emotions can easily help you recognise toxic positivity.
● Not expressing your true feelings.
● Trying to mask your feelings and emotions.
● Having a sense of guilt for feeling what you feel.
● Dealing with other’s problems in a rude and unkind manner.
● Having an ‘it is what it is’ mindset and applying it to every situation.
● Trying to change people’s perspective by adding on to their insecurities or constantly telling them that things could be worse.
Trust me after I discovered these traits and started to work on them, I feel a bit of change in myself.
You can’t stay positive by pretending that you are positive, or by masking your emotions or by not expressing them at all.
Yes, it’s no bad to try and look at things in a positive way but doing this excessively is definitely bad for one’s mental health.
How to NOT be a toxic positive?
Below are some sentences which define toxic positivity and how we tend to use them so often unknowingly and how badly it can affect a person.
● “Don’t think about it, stay positive!”
● “Don’t worry, be happy!”
● “Failure is not an option.”
● “Everything will work out in the end.”
● “Positive vibes only!”
● “If I can do it, so can you!”
● “Look for the silver lining.”
To be very honest the most common one I came across is “look for the silver lining”.
Ohh, sure I can look for the silver lining but, “Hey! how about not looking for any silver lining but giving it some time to sink in and find true happiness instead.”
Then comes the too often used phrase,
“If I can do it, so can you!”
Nah fam I can’t, or even if I can I didn’t need that sought of affirmation to do it.
Everyone is different, so is their way of dealing with emotions.
So if next time someone tells you this, you know what your reflex should be right?
Things to ponder upon:
- If in any way while reading this whole article, you felt like you are one of those people, or you are a transmitter than today is the day to quit.
- Don’t be guilty of feeling the things you feel, don’t let others control your emotions, don’t let others tell you that you are all positive when you are not.
In the end, I would like to tell those people that it’s ok.
It’s ok to feel things.
It’s ok if you are not happy, but please don’t pretend things for others.
This is even more dangerous than not being truly happy.
“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them”.
(All The Bright Places)