In her book, The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote: "If you look closely, you can see that the whole world is a garden."
Although this is true if the garden is literally a garden, but it does not hold water all the time. If you stand in a swamp, thoughts of gardens will not help you save yourself from the slush you are kneeling in.
Toxic positivity is just like a swamp. It can sometimes seem like a garden, but it can be extremely problematic in the long run for those involved.
To gain a better understanding of what toxic positivity is, how it can be harmful and how to avoid it, let's take a closer look.
What is toxic positivity?
Toxic positivity is the tendency for a person to always be positive ̵
Positivity can really make your life more fun and comfortable. For example, being positive even if you fail a task or lose a competition can make you a more confident and mature person.
But positivity may not be the right prospect to have all the time. Things get extremely challenging when people start giving a positive spin even to negative circumstances.
In many cases, toxic positivity ensures that there is no room for doubt, sadness or fear in your life. Evolutionarily, these feelings have helped people to protect themselves and their loved ones in dangerous circumstances.
For example, showing a healthy fear or doubt can help you be prepared for the worst. Or letting yourself have a good cry will help release all your pent-up emotions and give you the catharsis you are looking for (especially if you have been through a lot).
But when you show toxic positivity, you tell yourself that optimism is the only answer to all the problems you face. You risk silencing your other emotions. This can be especially debilitating for your mental and physical health.
Examples of toxic positivity
So, what does toxic positivity look like?
- "Everything Happens for a Reason."
- "Be grateful for what you have."
- "Other people are worse off than you."
- "At least you still have [XYZ]."
- "Do not be such a Debbie Downer."
Using these phrases or hearing these things may seem useful, but they often do not make a person feel better.
Why is toxic positivity bad for you?
The biggest threat to toxic positivity is that it By forcing you to look at the challenging situation by forcing you to look at things with rose-tinted glasses, toxic positivity prevents you from identifying any threats or vulnerabilities that end up beyond your sight.
Before you know it you end up in more trouble than before because you have not taken the necessary steps to address the underlying problem.
Second, toxic positivity tends to dismiss your feelings and make you feel that your experiences do not matter. It sat t on which toxic positivity makes other people's experiences invalid can sometimes be particularly traumatic.
For example, a couple loses one of their children to illness. Someone says to them, “It could be worse. At least you still have your second child.
This is an example of toxic positivity. It can be an extremely reluctant way to deal with someone else's losses and can damage their already vulnerable psyche.
Third, toxic positivity promotes a culture of "extreme stoicism". What this means is that toxic positivity can cause you to act extremely rationally and emotionlessly, even in situations where emotions can be helpful for your healing.
Plus, toxic positivity forces you to hide your feelings, and there is a high risk that you may experience a particularly debilitating breakdown because of it.