When Positivity Isn’t Actually Positive At All, But Is Toxic! BEWARE OF THIS INSIDIOUS TOXIC POSITIVITY!
The Positivity Paradox & “Toxic Positivity”
A lot of people like to try to be positive, and of course, why wouldn’t you? Positivity is positive….Except when it’s not…
You see there is a paradox with the positivity in many people in which their positivity is actually toxic, what is being officially called “Toxic Positivity” by Psychologists. This happens because some people use positivity in a superficial way, as a mask for much darker things. And other’s yet are addicted to positivity in a way that is not positive at all, which I call being “positivity junkies”. Much of this comes from propaganda from the new age community and teachings about what is called “The Law Of Attraction” because people think that if they are only positive that they will attract only positive things into their lives, when in actuality this is a paradox and causes the opposite to happen – as attempting to be only positive means that they actually are not dealing with any negativity that they encounter in themselves and others, which doesn’t stop it from existing but only causes it to become more problematic and toxic as it gets ignored.
Some of you are probably confused about how positivity could ever not be anything but positive, let alone toxic or negative which should be the opposite, so let me give you some real world examples that are quite common, especially in the self help and new age communities:
-If you cannot appreciate art that portrays darkness, or in some cases even handle being exposed to it without reacting negatively and making insulting comments about it, then that is not positive – it is toxic.
-If you find yourself being polite and socially positive towards everyone all the time, to the point where you never speak your mind and are actually wearing a mask most of the time concealing your true thoughts or intentions, and may even use your positive airs and politeness as a social manipulation tool, that is not positive – it is toxic.
-If you are unable to handle any negative feelings in yourself and attempt to not allow yourself to feel them by ignoring them as they arise, even when that is the most natural and appropriate response and you have real issues you should be working through but don’t, then that is not positive – it is toxic.
-If you use positivity as a way to ignore negative things in your life and the world that you don’t like and turn a blind eye to them rather than empathizing with them and doing something to help, or even solve problems in your own personal life and mind, but rather just ignore them and allow them to get worse, then that is not positive – it is toxic.
-If you have a “positive vibes only” policy and will literally shut out and act anti-social towards anyone who is having a less than positive experience that is causing them to be less than positive, and instead of having a compassionate conversation with them and trying to understand what they are feeling and why, you will tell them to “get over it” and “stop being negative” or “just be positive” before shutting them out, then that is not positive – it is toxic.
-If you aren’t capable of hearing people use words that you would not call “positive”, and thus cannot handle things such as people having a different opinion than you, or getting constructive criticism about things you do or say, or people making observations about things that they take issue with (especially things you have said or done), without getting offended and defensive, that is not positive – it is toxic.
-If when you find someone who is sad or experiencing a negative emotion the only way you can react is by trying to invalidate the reality of their experience and feelings and tell them to deny whatever they are going through and “just be positive” rather than compassionately coaching them through it, that is not positive – it is toxic.
-If when you hear someone being negative and complaining about something, instead of empathizing with them and realizing that they are suffering and need support because people only get negative when they have been exposed to hardships….But instead you judge them harshly for being negative and do what is called “victim blaming” and think of them as a bad person for being negative, maybe telling them as much and try to make them feel worse by calling them “jaded”, “bitter”, “dark” or other passive aggressive names, and perhaps even telling them that it is their own bad attitude that has brought their suffering upon themselves, that is not positive – it is toxic.
-If you find out that someone is going through some sort of hardship or tragedy in their life such as a great personal loss, a heartbreaking breakup, or death of a loved one, and is experiencing some sort of depression, grief, or trauma because of it, and instead of compassionately encouraging them to open up to you and offering emotional support, you simply tell them to “try to look on the bright side”, or “just stay positive”, or “move on”, or “be strong” and then try to change the subject or end the conversation and shut down any further attempts from them to talk with you about it, that is not positive – it is toxic.
-If you have a disdain, resentment, or disgust for anything that does not fit into your positive worldview and think that anyone who is depressed or living poorly is probably a bad person and brought it on themselves somehow with their own negative attitude, then that is not positive – it is toxic.
Unfortunately these examples are not things I have made up, they are all real world examples of behaviors that I have seen constantly over the course of my adult life being a part of the self help and new age community, perpetrated by the very same individuals who call themselves by positive titles and preach positivity and things such as “the law of attraction”. But real true positivity should not be fake or manipulative. It should not be a drug that you chase after to escape your problems and trick your brain into feeling better. It does not attempt to deny or invalidate those who are sad because of a very real and bad experience they have had that deserves compassion. And most of all it should not be an exclusive world view that treats anyone who doesn’t fit into it with coldness and even cruelty. In short positivity should not be a fake toxic cover up.
Positivity should be something you express authentically when you really feel it. It should be something that gives you the strength, ability and resources to accept the negative things in the world, and in yourself and your own life wherever they may appear, and to work through them because you know that there will be something good when you come out on the other side. And most of all it should give you the empathy to embrace those who are negative and suffering, and the power to help them and inspire them with your positivity. Because positivity is supposed to do good for yourself and others, and be compassionate towards yourself and others when you do encounter negativity.
But positivity can only be positive when it allows for negativity, separately. If you are feeling sad because something real and tragic has happened in your life, you need to allow yourself to feel those negative feelings and work through them to resolve them. There is nothing positive about trying to invalidate the emotional experiences of yourself or others when they are less than positive, and tries to cover them up with superficial or fake positivity. In fact that is an extremely toxic and destructive thing to do, for when you do not allow yourself to feel the negative feelings that go along with a very bad experience, you are not making these feelings go away and turning them into positive feelings, you are only suppressing these feelings and causing them to fester deep inside of your subconscious where they will be out of your control and allowed to grow and have a much more destructive impact. Over time this can result in real mental health issues. So you must not try to deny these feelings or cover them up with fake positivity when you have them because that is doing more harm than good. And when you act in this toxic manner towards others, it has a very demoralizing and psychologically negative impact on them as well. You aren’t actually spreading positivity, you are spreading your own mental health issues.
True positivity can only exist as one end of the polarity on which negativity is the other side. The two are like yin and yang, existing as two parts of a duality that cause a perfect balance and harmony. Without one you cannot have the other. And trying to deny the reality of one, only negates the reality of the other. Without the reality of negativity, there is no true positivity either, and any positivity you may think you are experiencing will not be real, and will become equally negative. For without being able to experience these two things wholly in separate ways, they will intermix. So the positivity you are trying to create without ever having any other negative experiences to balance it out actually causes it to become both positive and negative at the same time because the two have mixed and become one. So they need to exist as dual realities just as Yin & Yang in order for their to be balance, and for you to be able to experience one as one, and the other as the other, as I am sure you want to. And to do that you need to be able to express negative feelings at the appropriate time and way – which is exactly when you have them – rather than suppressing them and having them leak out into what is supposed to be expressions of positivity, poisoning it.
So if you like to be a positive person, make sure that you are actually expressing your negative feelings when you have them, so that you can actually let them out and work through them, and make sure you are compassionate and supportive towards anyone else who might be expressing any any negative feelings as well. Then your positivity can be true positivity, the kind that actually does good, not fake toxic positivity. Because real positivity allows for other emotional experiences and does not invalidate them and attempt to deny them. And if you have noticed some of the tendencies I listed in yourself it is very important that you stop them before they begin to cause mental health issues, if they haven’t yet. And if you are concerned that you may already be experiencing mental health issues, or are just having trouble with staying positive because you do have negative things going on in your life and you need help with finding real ways to cope with any negative feelings you may be experiencing be sure to seek out a qualified therapist. And if you have noticed any of these tendencies in the people who are close to you, it is important that you inform them that they are not actually being positive or supportive but are in fact being a negative influence, and show them this article so that they can understand the problems with their ways. And anyone who simply won’t stop poison dripping you under the false guise of positivity even after being informed that what they are doing is not positive must be cut out of your life, otherwise the impact that these types of people can have on you over time can become very destructive.