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Toxic Positivity-The negative side of positive vibes

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Don’t worry it’ll all be fine, I’m sure it’s not as bad as it seems, Stay positive always.
How many times you’ve come across such positive sayings?

But do we need to always be positive?
Is it obligatory to be happy in every situation?

To many of us answer to the above questions is yes, this is where we misinterpret the term positivity and Toxic positivity.


What is toxic positivity?

According to Dr Jaime Zukerman, Toxic positivity is the assumption, either by one’s self or others, that despite a person’s emotional pain or difficult situation, they should only have a positive mindset.

To put it simply, toxic positivity is the overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state that results in denial or minimization of the authentic human emotional experience.


Why is it dangerous?

Being in the era of social networking, where every individual seems to be happy, cheerful and joyful, We are so wrapped up in the world of staying positive that we are ashamed to feel anything else.
Some of the major risks include-

Demeaning a loss: 

Grief and sadness are normal in the face of loss. A person who repeatedly hears messages to move on or be happy might feel as though others do not care about their loss.

Isolation and stigma:

People who feel pressure to smile in the face of adversity may be less likely to seek support.

They may feel isolated or ashamed of their feelings, deterring them from seeking help and this leads poor mental health.

Ignoring real harm:

Sometimes it is important to look at both aspects of circumstances.

According to several studies optimism, hope, and forgiveness increased the risk of people staying with their abusers and being subject to escalating abuse.

How to deal with it?

There is no harm in staying positive and optimistic but it is important to culminate that it should be under some restrictions.

To avoid the toxic side of positivity –

  • Avoid ignoring or trying to suppress your genuine emotions.
  • Don’t shame anyone (including yourself) for their emotions.
  • Remember that feeling bad/sad/negative/not-OK is completely normal, especially during times like covid crisis where we’re all trying to process so many things at once.
  • Take a break from social media if that would help.

So, You can be sad, anxious, unsure, Drained and afraid and still be positive.

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