We live in a world where being positive is supposed to be one of the most important characteristics of an individual can possess. But is it normal to be positive round the clock? Is it healthy? We see multiple posts on social media to be positive and the famous line “Good vibes only” as a common caption under such posts. These posts suggest that the only way to deal with life is to be optimistic all the time and disregard any other complex feeling you might be feeling. Positivity is different for everyone but it is also healthy to recognize other feelings of despair or sadness or feel hopeless. A lot of us feel the pressure to feel and be happy all the time as though we are living the best time of our life covering up what we actually feel. Normally, we feel sad or desperate or lonely at times, that’s human nature. There is no one way to feel happy but quotes like “good vibes only” seems to put us a layer of fake happiness rather than acknowledging them
What is toxic positivity?
Toxic positivity is a culture or concept where being positive all the time regardless of the situation is promoted as an ideal way to live and any feeling that causes negative feelings is neglected or disregarded. It seems like quite a plan to deal with tough situations but ignoring unpleasant feelings only makes them bigger. Ignoring unpleasant feelings can lead to bigger problems such as depression and anxiety. Toxic positivity makes you feel like you are flawed if you don’t feel happy all the time and being happy all the time is the only true way to live. Good vibes only, smile more, or think happy are part of the idea that you ignore any other uncomfortable feelings.
Neglecting any feeling makes them a bigger problem because they are unprocessed. It is normal for us as human beings to feel a wide array of feelings. Snubbing any emotion doesn’t do well to our mental health. We need to recognize the complex feelings that we feel.
Toxic positivity during lockdown –
Many people have openly and extensively discussed on social media that they will use this time of lockdown to learn a new language or read a book or learn new skills, while this is nothing wrong but it makes a large chunk of us who use this time to recuperate or use this period to rest feel like we are a failure and flawed beings because we don’t do the same things. Promoting the idea that we always have to be productive during a lockdown steals our right to have bad days. Rejecting emotions when you should have addressed put a damper in the mood. It’s completely okay to treat the lockdown as vacation and sleep all day or if we learn a new language. There is no one right way to feel emotions as all of us are different and have different ways we care about ourselves and others.
Ways to avoid being toxic positive person –
We first need to accept our negative emotions and figure out why we are feeling that way. Speaking to a friend or parent or writing down our feelings positive and negative decreases the intensity of emotions. We need to give our self permission to understand and feel all complex emotions. We need to learn to be kinder to ourselves and our flaws. We need to acknowledge our pain, we should not shame ourselves or others for feeling the way we feel. This is our first pandemic and sadly we don’t have self-help books to help us through this pandemic. We all are new to this situation; we should be kinder to others and ourselves. This lock-down has been hard for all of us and the world could use some kindness in any way form. We need to understand that we are not pleasant all the time and pay attention to our fleeting emotions and understand them.