“Come on you’re a man stop crying”, “Be positive”, “Look at the bright side” and it goes on and on.
Human beings are different in many ways especially with regards to how we express our emotions, so now the problem arises when we want to express ourselves freely and we are met with some form of criticism by other members of our various societies.
That’s were TOXIC POSITIVITY comes in.
TOXIC POSITIVITY although not really popular in some parts of the world can be really dangerous and hateful to a person’s mental health.
Now let’s enlighten ourselves about what TOXIC POSITIVITY really entails.
Toxic positivity is the belief that a person has to be positive at all times despite the intense level of tragedy or misfortune a person is currently passing through.
For instance, a person is going through a hard time or is really stressed about one thing or the other. Instead of allowing them cry and let out their emotions, the around them begin to say things like this, ” Your own is even better mine is worse” ,totally dismissing what is happening to them.
At times these people might think they are trying to make the person feel better but this just brushes the problem off, only for the problem to resurface over something little.
According to Kendra Cherry , Toxic positivity denies people the authentic support that they need to cope with what they are facing.
Given the issue on ground there are ways to spot toxic positivity.
Feeling any form of guilt after expressing anger or displeasure over a fight, an offensive joke or a misfortune
Postponing your problems or brushing them off
Fear of being judged for expressing sadness or grievances
Forcing yourself to smile 24/7 even though you really feel like crying and the list goes on.
The next question we ask ourselves is “Why is Toxic positivity bad for you?”
When a person is going through a hard time, they need to know and feel that that there is someone beside them to comfort them and basically a shoulder to cry on or someone to confident in. So now the role toxic positivity plays here is that it literally shuts the person’s emotions.
Sometimes people feel they are wrong for not being positive at all times.
It dismisses honesty, a person would have to put on a facade at all times just to avoid being judged by others.
It leads to Communication problems
It leads to loss of self-esteem
It leads to depression
Toxic positivity makes it difficult to move on and grow from a person’s terrible past events. Be it a divorce or loss of a loved one, being fired from job, making huge losses from a business investment and many more.
Although Toxic positivity is harmful to a person’s psychological health, they are ways to handle it which includes:
Recognize the fact that you’re not perfect neither are the people around you.
Give yourself the permission and freedom to express yourself.
Avoid people who constantly shun your problems instead speak with trusted people.
Be true to yourself, if you think you can’t handle being positive at all times sometimes it’s ok not to be ok.
Give people the emotion support they need to heal from a tragic event and encounter them to speak up.
O we have to pretend we are happy when we are not, Definitely not. It’s ok to cry over a job lost, it’s ok to express and anger over an offensive joke.
But never let anyone shun your emotions or dismiss your current sufferings, because they are as perfect as you are.