It’s Time to Let Go of Toxic Positivity

Written by Talaya Quinn

June 18, 2021

As an intern at Apportis, I have learned how the Apportis platform can connect tele-behavioral health professionals with patients in need of mental health support. Sometimes the emotional support that is needed is helping to process difficult emotions. Toxic positivity, which you may not be aware of, is an example of one of those emotions.  

Maintaining a positive attitude when things are going wrong is a common coping practice. We all try to stay strong and let things go, but this way of addressing your hardships is not always a healthy one. Toxic positivity is the belief that we should always remain positive and uplifted no matter how difficult a situation is. This belief encourages us to ignore hard feelings and emotions and to maintain a positive attitude even in the most dire situations. Toxic positivity can affect us in a lot of different ways that can be easily ignored. You can stunt your growth by having this view on life, and even ignore experiences that are needed for you to grow emotionally. You may also feel guilt and shame when trying to convince yourself that what you are feeling is wrong or not important. Isolation and problems in your relationships are likely to become an issue. If you can not be honest with yourself or your own feelings, how will you be able to process the feelings of those in a relationship?  

Mark Manson, an American author and publisher is quoted as saying, “Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.”  

It is very important for us to acknowledge our emotions and to face them head on. If we do so, we can get them out of our system in a healthy way and allow other true feelings to come about. If we are able to accept ourselves and embrace our emotions we will find ourselves at peace with pain and open to genuine love. Try your best to avoid toxic positivity by noticing how you feel and being realistic about it. Simply by putting your emotions in words you can get on track to rid yourself of those negative emotions. Most of all, try to listen to your loved ones when they tell you how they feel. Sometimes by telling them to cheer up and look on the brighter side, you encourage them to ignore the hardships. A lot of the time they want someone to simply listen, not to shame their feelings. If we all do our part in letting go of the toxic positivity and facing our good and bad emotions, the world would be a healthier place.  

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