Often, in a dire situation, do you feel overly positive, thinking difficulty will soon vanish? If you nod your head in affirmation, unfortunately, you are experiencing Toxic Positivity!
Read on to find out more and how to deal with it.
What is Toxic Positivity?
It is the belief that regardless of the gravity of the situation, people must maintain a positive attitude. Although an optimistic outlook towards life is encouraged, toxic positivity rejects grim emotions, instead of accepting a deceptive positive demeanor. Subsequently, the person is ill-equipped to deal with negative emotions, and that severely mars their mental health.
Life is a bouquet of roses and a bed of thorns, and we must learn to deal with thorns first and then smell the fragrant roses. Dealing with difficult situations honestly enables us to be better human beings. Toxic positivity hinders the ability to handle unpleasant emotions.
For instance, if you have recently lost a job, a spouse, a child, or a parent, do not suppress your grief. During this time, people may try to cheer you up by sympathizing with you. Although they mean well, their sympathetic comments may shut down your true emotions, and leave a void in your life.
Signs of Toxic Positivity
1) You Show a Happy Façade, Always
On social networks or social groups, are you always sharing smiling photographs, or showing your happy face? If yes, you may fear people seeing you in a “bad” light. You may not want to burden others with your sob stories, or you want to protect relationships or preserve the image of an ideal life.
However, the sooner you accept that life is imperfect, the faster you will free yourself from the burden of reaching impossible life standards. Additionally, you would be able to connect better with others and improve your social interactions.
2) You Prevent Yourself from Experiencing True Emotions
When averting the negative feelings from others, you deny yourself the experience of true emotions. Maybe you have been taught to ignore or suppress negative emotions, thinking they would mar your emotional and mental health. However, suppressing your emotions will lead to severe physical, mental, and emotional trauma, instead.
Blindfolding yourself to reality distances yourself from your family, friends, and social circle, as relationships need emotional intimacy to grow and nurture. Nonetheless, accepting the hard truths and working hard to beat them, and creating a new direction will certainly help you gain on all levels.
3) Guilty About Feeling Angry or Sad
Do you feel guilty when you experience a negative emotion like anger, pain, sadness, or depression when you see others in a worse state than you? Sometimes, it’s alright to experience guilt, but if it has become a habit, you are definitely suffering from toxic positivity.
You need to work hard at acknowledging negative emotions and naturally allow them to work through your mind; only then would you come out as a winner.
4) Suppressing Negative Feelings
As the adage goes, do you “find a silver lining in every cloud?”
Often, we are encouraged to believe that hardships lead to better days ahead, and subsequently, we manage to smile through our disappointments. But do we actually accept the disappointment, or brood that things could have gone worse?
The real challenge is to allow yourself to experience tumultuous emotions and offer yourself compassion, warmth, and a hug. That holds true for others as well. If someone is going through a hard time, simply lend your ears, and hug them tightly.
5) You Dislike Being in Presence of People Who do not Show Positivity Always
Your friends or families passing through a tough phase in their lives impacts your mood, too. You may tend to feel low energy and sadness when around them. However, unless you frequently feel these feelings around them, you should not distance yourself. Instead, lend them a shoulder to lean on, be an active listener, and if asked offer your genuine advice. Often, a warm hug does what words cannot.
6) You Fail to Acknowledge your Negative Emotions
People experiencing toxic positivity do not pause to notice how they are feeling. Instead, they divert their mind and emotions into excessive habits, such as work addictions, alcohol, and drug abuse. Such unhealthy behavior is detrimental to their overall well-being.
Resilience is a valuable skill that most of us lack. It helps us to cope up with life’s highs and lows, preparing us to deal with future circumstances. We must not suppress our emotions but deal with them as they arise to find a solution to whatever is ailing us.
7) You Don’t Accept all Your Emotions as a True Part of Yourself
As we recognize the happy aspects of our lives, so should we embrace the negatives with complete awareness. It is tough to accept failures or painful experiences, yet we must take this journey for wholesome existence.
Be kind and forgive yourself. It will take a heavy burden off your shoulders instantly. Show compassion to others when they need it the most.
8) Too Much Time on Social Media
Social media is a hub of positive toxicity, as it constantly encourages positive behaviors, and reprimands people who show negative emotions of sadness, anger, hatred, or aggression. Additionally, it promotes fancy expectations of life that seem to be too good to be true. Hence, you should not focus on the ideologies that social media sells. Instead, focus on your inner needs.
Remember, do not let social media rule your life by getting hooked on it. Instead, use reputable tools to self-analyze and improve yourself. If you are struggling with life’s challenges, others are too. So, separate yourself from unrealistic stories on social media if you want to be truly happy, and get real by dealing with your emotions.
How to Counter Toxic Positivity?
Keep a Journal
Penning down your thoughts in a diary is the best way to deal with your innermost thoughts. A journal helps you acknowledge reality and manage your overwhelming emotions. It is a fantastic coping mechanism, as it helps you to vent out your negative emotions; without the fear of losing relationships.
To handle dark moments, develop small, actionable, and measurable steps. Do not invest in new beginnings when you are experiencing sadness and pain, as it would only spoil your chances of recovering. Rather, expand on your current activities. For instance, if you prefer yoga try a new posture instead of hitting the gym to sweat it out.
With these insights, you can easily recognize toxic positivity and learn to synchronize with your true self for eternal peace.
Each and every emotion should be recognized. One should always be truthful about what he or she is feeling. Being happy is always good for health but feeling sad or vulnerable is also a part of life.