The Cure for Toxic Positivity

“It all works out in the end”

“There is definitely a silver lining here we can look out for”

“God always has a plan”

“No bad days!”

“Everything happens for a reason”

Have you ever been going through a tough time, shared it with somebody, then they respond with something similar to the messaging above? It hurts, doesn’t it? On the surface it can seem redirecting with a hopeful spin, but the underlying feelings you’re left with are possibly even more loneliness than before.

There is even a term for this: toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is defined as involving “dismissing negative emotions and responding to distress with false assurances rather than empathy. It comes from feeling uncomfortable with negative emotions. It is often well-intentioned but can cause alienation and a feeling of disconnection.”

What is the cure? Giving space for “negative” emotions.

All emotions are welcomed and a part of the human experience - they are all informing you of greater things below the surface. Your anger may be showing you that somebody is crossing a boundary you may have. Your jealousy at someone’s new car could be a clue that you have ambition and want advancement in your career path. Your sadness and grief can show you how deeply you are capable of loving.

It can be easier said than done to invite uncomfortable emotions into your everyday world. That is in part why therapists exist - to help you process through situations that may feel foreign, messy, and “bad.”

I’m happy to talk through a scenario you are facing as a non-judgemental thought partner, should you be looking for a licensed professional. Feel free to reach out to my office to book an appointment. In the meantime, be gentle to yourself and know that “negative” emotions are completely natural, normal, and healthy!