Can Positivity Be Toxic? You Bet it Can!

Lindsay Tennant

Hello, this is an additional little article that I am writing in order to keep shit real.

Our Editor-in-chief Bethany posted today on her facebook about toxic positivity and it really resonated with me. It got me thinking that maybe people reading my articles about positive thinking and manifesting might get sucked into the thought that they are not allowed to feel any negative emotions in fear that it will attract negativity.

I get you. I get caught up in that frame of mind sometimes. Let’s clear something up- you need to allow yourself to feel your feelings; yes- even the shitty ones!

If you don’t allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and you shove your emotions down- you aren’t actually dealing with them and they will come to the surface eventually… so just feel them. You are more than allowed. My suggestion is to get the negative feelings out on paper where you can’t be judged, but sometimes we need that human connection. Either way- get your feelings out somehow so you can clear the way for higher vibrating feelings.

Back to the toxic positivity that spurred me on to write this article; I live in the UK now and this is something I deal with regularly. People over here get very uncomfortable when you have feelings- especially when you have them out in the open and in public. I have had a rather challenging past three years and the amount of people who completely negated my feelings has really upset me in the past. My feelings were completely and utterly invalidated; my feelings were not welcome. I was told “chin up,” or told how much worse they have had it in the past so “stop complaining.”

These people probably thought they were helping, they too probably thought that if they told me to be happy and focus on the positives that I would snap out of the spiral of depression that I was caught in; but all it did was make me feel like I wasn’t worthy of having feelings, and that my feelings were wrong in some way.

We need to be kinder. Allowing someone to have their feelings, own them, and giving them a space to be able to talk about it will help them much more than just telling them to be positive. Some people need to have their feelings validated for myriad reasons. Once you have shown them that you are a safe person to share their feelings with, they will be a lot more open to looking at the positives that you may be wanting to point out- after they got what they needed to say in the first place out in the open.

Please stop this toxic positivity. People have feelings- positive and negative and a lot of the times they will not be able to get to the positive ones until they release the negative ones. If you really can’t say anything helpful and don’t want to listen to someone’s problems then that’s fine, but again- don’t just sit there and tell them to be positive because it really is a slap in the face. If you do want to be helpful then a simple “I hear you and that sounds really difficult” will go a long way.

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