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What Is Toxic Positivity? How Does It Affect Our Mental State?


What is toxic positivity? It is when you act happy or cheerful even when you’re not really fine. We often hear people saying, “just cheer up” or “It will get better, don’t worry,” when an individual is going through a rough patch. While having a positive outlook on life is good for your mental well-being, the problem is that life isn’t always positive. Our spectrum of emotions is quite wide. We all deal with painful emotions and experiences. Even though these emotions are unpleasant, it is important that one should handle and accept them honestly.

Too much positivity, just like anything, is bad. Toxic positivity can make you inauthentic, lose touch with reality, and even distance you from your close ones.

Instead of being comfortable in sharing their human emotions and getting help, people have glorified the dismissal of feelings altogether. Toxic positivity can harm people, especially those who are going through difficult times, in more than one way.

Shaming: Family, friends, and loved ones are the biggest support system one can have. But when the support system doesn’t respect or accept your emotions with open hands, people start to feel that their emotions and feelings are unacceptable.

Guilt: Toxic positivity just magnifies the guilt. It sends out a message that if an individual is not able to find a way to feel positive, even in the face of tragedy, it is their fault.

Avoids human emotion: Toxic positivity gives fuel to the avoidance mechanism. People learn to sidestep emotional situations that might make them feel uncomfortable. Instead of addressing the problems, they run away.

Affects Growth: While it allows us to avoid feelings that might be a trigger point, it also denies us the ability to face challenging feelings, further restricting growth.

In case you come across someone who is going through a tough time, just hear them out and avoid stating the toxic positivity statements. What you can say is “I understand” or “I’m here for you.”

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