Have You Ever Heard of Toxic Positivity?
As human beings, we are allowed to have days where we don’t feel happy. When we have people around us who tend to dismiss that we are going through a tough time, it can hinder our healing and growth. Loved ones and friends have a hard time seeing us in pain and sometimes without realizing it will make statements like: “It could be worse” “everything will work out” and “just be happy.” These statements minimize the emotional experience we are working through and teach us keep our true emotions to ourselves. This is called Toxic Positivity.
Here are a few things you might do if you are experiencing Toxic Positivity in your life:
Masking your feelings
Feel guilty for what you’re feeling
Dismissing your emotions
Stuffing feelings down
Minimizing your feelings
When you mask your true feelings because you are afraid of experiencing Toxic Positivity, negative consequences can occur. Suppressing your emotions can increase stress in your body and this can lead to anxiety and depression. You may find that you want to isolate from people, and this will contribute to a lost of connection with others. As human beings, we are social creatures and need support and connection from others. One thing to consider, the relationships we keep with other people is a mirror of the relationship we keep ourselves. Be mindful of who you open up to when you are feeling like you need to express how you’re feeling. Ask yourself, is this person trustworthy of my vulnerability? Will they honor that I am having a tough time and not judge me? When you do find a trustworthy person to open up to (therapist are a great option), have words to describe what you’re feeling. Allow yourself to honor all of your feelings.
Toxic Positivity can come from our discomfort when a loved one is hurting. You want them to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps” but sometimes that can’t happen with a few positive statements. There may be deeper issues for your loved one to work through. If you are a loved one of a person experiencing a tough time and find yourself using Toxic Positivity, try using these statements instead:
This must be hard for you.
Would you like me to just listen or would you like feedback?
I am here for you.
Things can get tough.
How can I help you?
Life can get rocky at times, so if you find that you are having more bad days than good, you may want to reach out for professional help. The stigma of seeking help for your mental health is lifting and it is NOT a weakness to reach out to a professional therapist.
Pure Grace Counseling founder Kathryn Hanjani MA, LPCC, NCC specializes in Individual Counseling & Career Counseling Services. Based in Denver, Colorado I have helped several clients work through their mental health including PTSD, Bipolar, Anxiety, & Depression.
If you need someone to talk please call us today 303-669-2333.