Positivity can be toxic. Did you know that? Even if you know it, you may be suffering from it. Toxic positivity is basically depicting positive behavior each time. It means not revealing your true emotions. Toxic positivity can result in adapting to unrecommended coping mechanisms.
The display of being happy, showing a good side of you, and having a cheerful attitude at all times all come under toxic positivity. In other words not showing your vulnerable side and showing overly cooperative behavior are the signs of toxic positivity.
Why does toxic positivity happen?
Toxic positivity can happen to people who like perfection. In the midst to achieve perfect happiness, they start overdoing positivity. You get afraid of being de-motivated. You don’t like being average. Hence, you get afraid of showing emotions or true feelings.
Here are some pointers to why toxic positivity happens:
1. Constant pressure:
Since school, we are constantly judged by the marks we got, grades we got, and performance in extra-curricular activities. The list goes on and on. The pressure of being better than our peers. We are cheered up by people around us so much so that we psychologically make ourselves happy. That leads to toxic positivity in us. As adults, we have the pressure of forgetting the past, and the pressure of abiding by societal norms.
Get a degree, do a job or a business, get married, and settle down. These rules are set. Working in terms of these rules, we stop to see the negative feelings which we go through. Very easily we suppress our fear, anxiety, and depressive mood and try to be positive all the time.
2. Supporting someone:
In the midst of supporting someone from anything bad that has happened, you try to cheer that person up. Maybe you are an empathetic person, so you over-perform positivity and happiness in front of the depressed person. You become so engrossed in supporting that person, that you show an excess of happy sides of you. That results in toxic positivity. You use phrases like,” Don’t worry, be happy” or “Everything will be fine” so much that you yourself fall into the trap of being positive all the time.
3. Taught to be tough:
As kids we were refrained from crying, be it male or female. Showing negative emotions was a big no-no in our Indian households. It was so to maintain the harmony and decorum of the home. So as we were trained in that manner to only depict the good or happy feelings and suppress our negative or sad feelings. This is a set rule by society. Naturally, you try to tough all the time and forget to break down. You forget to break down even when you’re alone.
How to deal with toxic positivity?
1. Confide in someone:
This will help you to get out of toxic positivity. Majorly, just opening up to someone will work wonders. Look for people around you for this. Try to strike up a normal conversation. Choose friends or family who will not cause a problem with whatever you’ve shared with them. Immediate friends or family are the best persons to communicate with as they know the happenings in and around you. So they’ll be more than happy to talk to you.
2. Listen to the listener:
If you really confide in someone, after some time they will have some suggestions & opinions on what you’ve shared with them. Now it’s your time to listen to them. Just going on ranting about things won’t help. Somewhere you’ve to stop. Let your listener speak, while now you become the listener. Choose a person who will understand what you are saying and help you in overcoming those hidden feelings.
People whom you share with are concerned about you and want to give solutions to you about whatever you’ve shared with them. So, you need to let them do the talking now. It can be anything. Due to some past happenings, you may have drawn some conclusions that aren’t true, but this person knows the reality of the situation. Hear him out first and then make conclusions. If this isn’t working too, opt for therapy.
3. Show appropriate emotion:
Due to years of suppressed emotions, you forget to show appropriate emotion at the right time. You’ve pushed yourself so much to positivity, it’s turned into toxic positivity. Without you even realizing it. Train your mind to show appropriate emotion. Be vulnerable where you need to be. Vent out when you’re alone. Be yourself, and emote the emotion you want to. Faking positivity when you’re totally depressed from the inside isn’t a thing you should do often.
This is the best option above all. Join a community to meditate. There are Yoga centers that encourage the art of meditation. Seek help from experts in the field. Showing any emotion in excess may result in you showing signs of mental illness. Trying to keep your mind calm via meditation is the best thing. It helps you be at peace. Mostly it is known to let go of negative emotions but, you need peace of mind when you’re in toxic positivity. You need to be relaxed mentally. Hence, meditation can be of immense help.
This is the impact that the “positive vibes only” attitude can cause. This doesn’t mean you should remain negative. You need to understand the importance of showing emotions (both happy and sad). Which emotion to depict when and how is important? Overdoing any type of emotion can cause harm to you and your near and dear ones. Showing the vulnerable side is still not considered as a bad omen. Some traditional beliefs won’t change for generations to come. But, it is for us to decide whether we want to be toxically positive or happily positive. Choice is yours!