When I first saw the term “toxic positivity” it was on a Reddit thread describing a woman that was overly positive. This made me think, what is toxic positivity? It is actually something that exists or are people just ripping on this woman for being optimistic?
Then I thought more about what it means, how it was used, and realized that it is a very real thing. To me, toxic positivity is when someone pushes positivity so much that they don’t acknowledge negative feelings or allow others or themselves to feel anything other than optimistic and positive.
That is “toxic” because it invalidates feelings that are completely normal and completely necessary. As humans, we are not optimistic and positive all of the time. In fact, I think feelings of stress, anger, sadness, etc are more common than not. It is not healthy to pretend those feelings don’t affect you or for you not allow yourself to fully register what you want to naturally feel because you “need” to look on the brighter side and be happy.
Everyone on social media posts “be happy!” “Ways to deal with stress: stop stressing! look on the bright side!” ugh, bored. There is a trend of not being able to be anything other than happy on social media, you post your real life or things you are struggling with? canceled.
This is toxic because it’s not real. It gives people false expectations of how life should feel and makes them feel bad for being anything other than perfect. I think, to be healthier and happier as a society as a whole, we need to open the discussion and stop pushing to be positive. If you have to force it, it isn’t real. It’s ok to feel real things and it’s ok to be positive, but don’t let yourself suppress feelings.