What is Toxic Positivity?
Toxic positivity is the overuse of overly positive statements and affirmations as means to deny and avoid the acknowledgment of difficult feelings or emotions. A person who is using toxic positivity as a coping mechanism may have an overly cheerful, unrealistically optimistic way of speaking about difficult problems. Nowadays, toxic positivity is especially prevalent in online social media posts. We see things posted that remind us to dismiss negativity and seek the bright, positive side of things. It's important to note that the main difference between a healthy, positive mindset and toxic positivity is that a healthy mindset allows room for difficult feelings and emotions while toxic positivity does not. If you have found yourself using toxic positivity as a coping mechanism, you may find that online counseling can help you towards a path to better mental health practices.
How Toxic Positivity is Harmful to Our Mental Health + When to Seek Online Counseling
There are numerous shapes and forms in which toxic positivity may enter your life. Below are some examples of harmful toxic positive encounters. If you find that you are using any of the following examples as a way to deal with difficult emotions in your life, it may be time to seek online counseling.
We have all had challenging things happen in our lives. When something, such as job loss occurs, it is important to process your emotions in order to move through it. Friends or family may tell you "it's all for the best" or "hang in there, look to the bright side". While well-intentioned, these comments may tell us that we shouldn't be feeling the wide range of emotions that go along with a challenging situation such as fear, pain, frustration, sadness, and more.
Another form of toxic positivity is when someone experiences a loss. Friends will tell you, "everything happens for a reason". This may have been spoken in an effort to console or comfort the person, but in reality, may only be averting the pain.
If you're showing symptoms of sadness or disappointment, people close to you may tell you things like "cheer up" or "happiness is a choice". This toxic positivity may make you feel as though you are the cause for your negative feelings.
What to Look Out For - Common Toxic Positivity Statements and What to Stay Instead
You may find yourself using toxic positivity statements with good intentions when trying to support your loved ones. Below are some common toxic positivity statements and what you can say instead:
Instead of "positive vibes only", try "I'm here to support you no matter how you're feeling".
Instead of saying "it could be worse", try "I'm so sorry you're going through this".
Instead of saying "don't worry, be happy", try "I'm here to help you get through this".
Contact B'well Counseling for Online Counseling
B'well Counseling Services is a mental health therapy practice offering online counseling for a full range of therapeutic services including online counseling in Towson, MD and the Greater Baltimore area. We believe in helping people rekindle their curiosity and reconnect to their core selves so that they can truly be well. We value wellness and connection over happiness because we understand that being able to experience the full range of human emotions and experiences is what helps us heal and grow. At B'well, we are dedicated to creating a space for anyone who has ever felt unwelcome because of their identity, orientation, or expression.