One of my dear clients mentioned this the other day in our session, and it gave me pause.
The definition of toxic positivity is simply always being positive and delivering sickening sweet answers to people that are struggling.
You know what I mean: the co-worker that says “oh it could always be worse!” with a grin and a wink as she saunters off.
Or your mom who says, “stop being so negative! Be positive!” as she dismisses your – very valid – feelings.
We’ve all been guilty of this (I know I have) and while I think the intentions are good, the delivery falls FLAT AF.
So why is toxic positivity so unhelpful and even painful?
I believe it’s because the undertones of these platitudes of “positivity,” say much more than we ever thought. In a bad way, that is.
It says that we don’t care; it says we don’t believe that you’re hurting; it’s says that what you’re going through isn’t significant.
Look, I’m a glass half full girl myself. I believe in the power of intention and in looking at failures as an opportunity for me to get better or do things differently.
BUT I recognize that our needs as human beings are at our core: affirmation, validation, and being heard. Being SEEN.
So instead of giving your friend or loved one, a simple emotional pat on the back, try to really hear them and deliver a more directed heart touch like this:
- “Wow, that really sucks. I know this must be really hard for you right now.”
- “I get it.”
- “I hear what you’re saying, right now things are not going well at all. We’ll figure it out.”
- “What do you need from me right now, to feel better?”
- “I’m sorry things suck, I’m here for you if you want to talk.”
Giving each other space to feel like shit, to feel pain, to have a bad day (or year), to simply just BE.
We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to always be happy. We don’t have to do everything right.
That’s not how this journey of life works because within the mistakes, within the pain, within the suffering, is where our true spirit rallies. And where we grow and become the person we were meant to be.
Toxic positivity takes that away from us, and away from those who are in our lives.
Toxic positivity does no one any good. It’s a waste of emotional energy and it doesn’t do much to move the needle on our emotional landscape.
So let’s practice letting that go and swallow that quick knee-jerk reaction to a loved one when they are reaching out to us for validation and love. And give them just that: love.
Here’s to being authentic and genuine more and more each day!
As always, if you need extra support or guidance on how to live your best life, check out our new coaching program at www.myeccoach.com. Let us help you move the needle on your life!