Toxic positivity is the concept that individuals should keep a happy attitude no matter how bad or tough things are. It’s an “only positive vibes” way of life. While being an optimist and indulging in positive thinking has its advantages, toxic positivity ignores uncomfortable feelings in favor of a happy, often falsely optimistic, façade.
We are all aware that having a positive view of life is beneficial to one’s mental health. The issue is that life is not always pleasant. We all have difficult feelings and experiences to deal with. Those feelings are vital and should be felt and dealt with freely and honestly, even if they are unpleasant.
Toxic positivity pushes optimistic thought to its logical conclusion. This mindset not only emphasizes the significance of optimism but also reduces and dismisses any human feeling that isn’t purely pleasant or positive.
Forms of Toxic Positivity
Toxic optimism may manifest itself in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples you may have come across in your own life:
- People encourage you to “simply be optimistic” or “look on the bright side” when something horrible happens, such as losing your job. While such remarks are frequently meant to be compassionate, they can also be used to silence whatever you might have to say about what you’re going through.
- People sometimes tell you that “everything occurs for a reason” after you’ve suffered a loss. While such words are often said in the hope of being soothing, they are often a technique of ignoring someone else’s suffering.
- Someone reminds you that “happy is a choice” when you express disappointment or despair. This implies that if you’re experiencing unpleasant feelings, it’s because you didn’t “choose” to be joyful.