Stop being so positive! Looking on the bright side of things is not always healthy.
Have you heard of ‘toxic positivity’? It’s when you are forcing yourself to maintain a positive attitude, even when everything is falling apart. You are masking your true feelings with a fake smile, and you act as if you’re constantly looking through your rose-colored glasses. But who could blame you?
Today’s world is a place where everyone is trying to tell you how to live. Somehow everyone knows better what’s best for you. You just scroll through your social media feed, and all you hear or read is things like “Always be positive,” “Never give up,” “You’ll get over it.”
The concept of this is great, right? Focusing on the positive helps you appreciate plenty of things negative people fail to acknowledge. What could be toxic about this?!
Well, toxic positivity is real. And it’s something you should be aware of!
It happens when you avoid facing your actual emotions, and you fool yourself into thinking that keeping things optimistic will make those unpleasant feelings disappear. Sadly, this way, you only make your troubles bigger and bigger until you can no longer ignore them.
If you give it a thought, you will realize that it is impossible to have only joyful feelings. You are not a machine that can be programmed to radiate nothing but good vibes. So, being positive is not something you, as a human being, can maintain 100% of the time.
What happens if you avoid your genuine emotions for too long?
When you leave your negative emotions unsorted, you only make room for them to grow. And this is certainly a growth you do not want in your life.
But if you acknowledge your emotions, you will be able to recognize the valuable knowledge they come with. Dr. Konstantin Lukin, a clinical psychologist, explains:
“When you are scared, your emotions are telling you, ‘Be aware of your surroundings.’ Emotions themselves are information. They give you a snapshot of what is going on at a given moment.”
However, despite the emotions’ role to give you information about your surroundings, they can’t tell you how to react. It is entirely up to you how you will handle a certain situation. In other words, you are in charge of the way you react. And forcing yourself to be optimistic is not always the answer.
How to keep away from toxic positivity?
Accepting your emotions gives you the ease you feel once you get things off your chest.
Imagine coming home from a long, exhausting work shift. You see your loved ones, and you start telling them everything about your day, the good and the bad. Sharing your daily challenges with people you care for makes you feel understood. No matter how hard letting it all out is sometimes, it gives you peace, and that’s a feeling worth making an effort for.
On the contrary, pretending that everything is fine and you are okay when your world is falling apart will never give you peace. Instead, it will slowly but persistently crush you from the inside.
Listen to your emotions. They provide you with valuable knowledge of your relationships with the people in your life. They make you realize how meaningful or insignificant a certain thing is. The feelings you are trying to cover up with a smile are there for a reason. They help you reconnect with yourself. Trying to ignore them will only disrupt your inner peace.
It’s okay to make mistakes and feel sorrow afterward.
It’s okay to feel angry and upset when things go wrong.
You are allowed to have bad days.
Every single emotion matters – even the bothersome ones. Never forget that!