Here’s the thing: positivity is a powerful tool that has huge benefits in all aspects of life. However, there is a difference between looking at life like the glass half full and becoming delusional to the potential side effects of toxic positivity. Life isn’t always a fairytale. Here are three ways to recognize the positivity you’re dealing with might be toxic.
1. Being overly optimistic about a crappy situation.
There’s this weird misconception that not being okay is not okay. That you must be a bubbly, positive human 100% of the time. But that’s not healthy, and you should ditch this belief. Don’t get in the habit of pushing down your feelings and squashing them into a nonexistent ball. You are allowed to be upset; you are allowed to feel like the world is against you. You are allowed to have a bad day. A bad day here and there doesn’t make you a negative human; it makes you simply human.
We’re taught to shield and hide away any emotion or presence that doesn’t display our best self, yet who are we fooling? That’s toxic. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, make you feel wrong for showing emotions. Despite any amount of positivity, our minds need to release. Leaves fall and then replenish.
2. Insisting on a timeline to “fix” whatever it is.
Some things in life have a definitive expiration date. Milk, for example. But when it comes to humans and the way we feel, there is no exact prediction or palm reading that can pinpoint when your feelings will change. There is no kitchen timer telling you when to get over something. Because when you try to convince yourself or believe someone who says, “by next week, you’ll feel like a new person,” or “tomorrow is going to be much better,” it gives us a deadline that fills us with disappointment if we do not reach it.
Understand that you don’t need to get over heartbreak in two days. Likewise, you don’t need to get over the loss of a job in exactly six days and four hours. Feel, and then heal, because it’s your own journey. Creating an end date for your feelings doesn’t always help. And as biology can testify, humans are not milk.
3. Brushing off a serious problem, only for it to come back later.
Everyone has been in that situation where, in the midst of hardship, you’ll hear someone shout, “Why don’t we just hug it out and forget about it?” While it’s a good idea to get rid of a problem or issue as fast as you can, brushing a negative situation under the rug doesn’t just make it go away. In fact, it comes back, and it comes back bigger and more aggressive than before.
You can’t just wave your magic wand to make your problems and challenges disappear. You have to work through them and confront them. That’s the hard truth most people want to avoid, because we seem more civil and down to earth if we let things go. We seem positive. While this may hold true on occasion, some problems need to be dealt with using communication and understanding, not avoidance and simple positive thoughts.
It’s important to be realistic when it comes to positivity. Just like most things in life, positivity is good in moderation. There’s a healthy balance in every situation you go through and simply throwing on a fake positivity mask, does not always do the trick.