What Is Toxic Positivity?

What Is Toxic Positivity?

The world is ready to discuss toxic positivity, it seems. Thoughts on this hot topic have certainly been interesting to read, but as with many other buzzworthy phrases, “toxic positivity” may be a bit of a trendy misnomer. 

Authenticity is everything at Silent Mind. We create authentic singing bowls for authentic healing and empowerment. That’s how we know that if positivity isn’t authentic, it’s not actually positivity at all. 


What Is This So-Called “Toxic Positivity”?

True positivity could never be toxic. The term “toxic positivity” refers to a forced mindset or attitude that mimics positivity

Toxic positivity is a mask or a deflection from the very natural troubles and feelings we all experience. Examples of toxic positivity include:


  • Comparing a bad situation to an objectively worse situation to minimize the negative impact of what’s happening to someone right now.


  • Using platitudes to excuse or explain negative experiences (“Everything happens for a reason,” “It is what it is”).


  • Pushing positivity on people who are simply not feeling it.


  • Switching focus to a “silver lining”.


  • Feeling guilty for not having a positive outlook or making others feel guilty for having negative reactions and emotions. 


Why Inauthentic Attempts To Be More Positive Never Work

Just from life experience, you probably know that none of the above is that effective. You might get to stuff down your bad feelings for a moment, or reassure yourself that you helped someone else by saying a positive thing, but there is no lasting shift in attitude or perspective. 


This is why fake “positivity” doesn’t work, and in fact, can make people feel worse:


It tries to REPLACE emotions. 

You can find things to be grateful for without eclipsing things like grief and sadness. Toxic positivity is a bandage over a bad feeling. In real life, you can have positive and negative thoughts and emotions at the same time. 


You don’t learn anything new. 

When you suppress challenging feelings or hide them behind a big smiley face, you’re missing important opportunities. Accepting and processing negative feelings is as much of a practice as meditation or yoga. And ultimately, we emerge better-equipped to handle them in the future.


It separates you from the world. 

If you were feeling very depressed or anxious, and you didn’t share this with anyone, choosing instead to keep a smile on your face, your relationships would suffer. You aren’t being honest with the world and are erecting a very tough, lonely wall between you and everyone else. We cannot think of anything less positive. 


Authenticity in Healing and Happiness

Do you want to enjoy a more positive mindset? Are you looking to heal from negative experiences and take the power back in your life? It doesn’t have to be very hard, but slapping a positive affirmation on top of a frown will never do it. 


This is key: while you struggle, keep an eye out for positive intentions. When we’re feeling low, we take out our singing bowls. We are taking a step toward healing while admitting and confronting that we don’t feel our best. We submit to feeling blue or worried so that we can take care of ourselves


After all, if everything was just fine all the time, we wouldn’t need any of our healing practices. 


What do you think of toxic positivity? Can you remember a time where you felt hurt by someone’s forced positivity? Share in the comments. 


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