Toxic Positivity and How To Avoid It

Toxic Positivity and How To Avoid It

I'd like to think I'm generally a positive person. I try to see the good in everyday, notice the little things that make me happy. I like to try and promote positivity and good vibes, bring others up and brighten their day - but let's be honest here, no one can positive, and happy all the time. 

It's mentally and physically impossible to be happy all the time, and those who promote constant positivity are fake, and toxic. 

Sure I like to share and read inspirational quotes, share happy moments in my life, compliments others to hopefully brighten their day a bit - but that's not me, all day every day. Every one has days when they feel utterly awful, when nothing can cheer them up and they're really struggling - and shoving positivity or 'good vibes' down their throats is going to do far more harm than good.

What is toxic positivity?

Toxic positivity is pretty much showing that you (or you are encouraging others to be) happy, upbeat and positive all the time. That's just not realistic, not true and not something to aspire to at all. 

It's suggesting that people shouldn't have negative emotions, that it's their fault if they can't cheer up or make the best of the situation. People are made to feel a huge range of emotions, from joy, and happiness to anxiousness or hopelessness - all are valid and very real emotions.

Positivity isn't always best, and not always appropriate. Sharing 'good vibes' wont help someone who is struggling and it wont magically make their problems go away. Toxic positivity is dangerous for us all, but especially with those who might struggle with physical or mental illness, or are going through a really hard time at the moment. Shoving inspirational quotes and pretty much telling them to 'cheer up' is a really bad move. Again, it's basically saying 'No, your feelings aren't valid. You need to lighten up".

Often if people are struggling and looking for advice or support, they need real support. They need to be acknowledged and shown their negative feelings are valid, normal and that you are there for them. 

The same goes for yourself! It's absolutely possible to project toxic positivity onto yourself. Putting on this fake persona that everything is always good, you have no reason to feel upset or negative. You should be happy, so be happy. Making yourself feel this way, or telling yourself your feelings are stupid or invalid is just as bad as projecting into onto others. Just remember your feelings are always valid, and by hiding away the negative feelings you are making things worse for yourself.

Examples of toxic positivity;

"Cheer up!"

"It's not as bad as it seems"

"Stop being so negative all the time"

"Smile! It's not that bad" 

(I absolutely detest this one. I have resting bitch face ok, and often people mistake that for me being miserable or sulking. I don't have to smile because you tell me I should mmkay)

"Just be positive"

"Look on the bright side"

"Be grateful for what you do have"

Just imagine you were in someone else's shoes for a minute. Imagine that person was having a really bad day, or something huge and traumatic has happened in their life. Or perhaps they're really struggling to get out out bed, struggling with awful depression. 

Then this awful, smiley, cheery person chimes in, telling them to SMILE, or telling them it's not that bad, it could be worse. Is that helpful? Will that help improve their situation, or make them instantly feel happier because you insisted they should feel that way? Absolutely not. 

Toxic Positivity and How To Avoid It

Being positive without being toxic
As I mentioned above, I like to think I'm a pretty positive, happy person but that by no means means I'm constantly happy. That everything is always perfect in my world and I have absolutely no reason to feel sad, down or disheartened. Everyone feelings those feelings, we all all designed to feel and express a huge variety of emotions - no one is always happy. 

Of course, that doesn't mean that you can be positive at all! Try not to let little things get you down to much, or at least not for longer than necessary. Remember all the wonderful things you do have in your life, how thankful you are for those things, what an amazing human being you actually are. Try not to worry too much about things that are out of your control, look after yourself always.

But still, (I'm going to say it again and again) whatever you feel - your feelings are absolutely real, and 100% valid. You're allowed to feel the way you are feeling and it's normal to feel all sorts of emotions all the time. 
I guess the main factor is, be positive while acknowledging and accepting negative feelings too.

Avoiding toxic people
I guess when it comes to removing toxic people from your life, we always think of the people who hurt you, are cruel to you etc - but what about the people's whose lives seem so perfect, they seem so happy all the time, like nothing ever goes wrong in their lives, and you just wish, for one second that you were as happy and positive as they seem to be 24/7. The truth is, they're lying to you. 

The trouble with social media nowadays, particularly if you are someone who uses it a lot, is that from a glance, it's pretty much paradise - well Instagram atleast. Perfect homes, perfect families, perfect holidays, smiling faces, lots of money. IT'S A LIE. No one is perfect, no one has it all and no one is happy all the time - but that's the only side you'll see on the internet.

Toxic people come in all shapes and sizes, and some of the most toxic people you'll meet are those who make you feel, well, pretty worthless - probably without even trying. I've had to remove a few toxic people from social media because they were making me feel awful about myself! These perfect happy families who have it all, can do it all and have nothing negative to say about their lives at all - makes me feel mediocre at best. We all have our different strengths and weaknesses, we all have a huge range of emotions, it's normal!

And if there are people you follow who make you feel bad about yourself, remove them now. Delete/mute/block them on social media, remove them from your lives. If they're not making you feel good, they don't deserve to be in your life. 

Toxic positivity quote


Have you had to deal with Toxic Positivity in your life?

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What is toxic positivity, examples of toxic positivity, being positive without being toxic and avoiding toxic people


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