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Understanding Toxic Positivity

anxiety blog emotions managing negativeemotions peaceofmind positivity stress toxicpositivity truth Nov 02, 2021

When I first heard the words TOXIC POSITIVITY, I was dumbfounded. How can those two words, that are so opposite, be paired together? How can this be?

I needed to dig more into what this meant for myself (was I doing this in my life?) and my work (did my clients need guidance with this in their lives?).

As a definition, toxic positivity means an obsession with positive thinking.  Trying to force a positive spin on a traumatic, tragic situation. 

When I read that definition, it made sense. In this day and age of constantly being told to be your best self, it would make sense for some to go to that extreme.

Let me clear up how I view it and how it pertains to personal growth. You may agree too.

I do not encourage or condone toxic positivity.

What I encourage is managing negative emotions in order to make better decisions and have a better life experience. What that means is LIVE the negative emotions, especially through a traumatic and tragic event in your life. It is IMPERATIVE to feel those and not so sugar coat them with the 'all is beautiful filled with rainbows and puppies' at that moment. In tragic and traumatic situations, there is and always will be a time needed to mourn and heal. You cannot move past anything you avoid. 

However, staying in negative emotions all the time will lead to more of it, tons more. Stress, frustration, anger, resentment, fear, anxiety. 

So, the formula everyone can work on, is the following:

LIVE, FEEL and DIGEST negative emotions. Have an understanding of where they come from and why they are coming up for you. Take the time to heal. 

And then, MOVE PAST your negative emotions with honesty, understanding, gratitude, forgiveness, letting go.

Understand that the things that are out of your control, are out of your control.

If there is no explanation of why something is happening to you, let that be the understanding. This one is the hardest. That's when faith comes in. For Which Is Greater is the only possible answer and blind faith is asked for in this case.

Understand that your reaction to these situations will lead to a better or worse experience.

You sometimes may not have a choice to go through something: Infidelity, illness, accident, job loss, infertility. But you will have the choice to process and react. You choose how to proceed and move forward. 

So yes, toxic positivity = avoiding all negative emotions = dishonesty = disservice to yourself and your experience.

Whatever your journey is right now, remember this. It always comes down to the truth. Avoiding it is not the answer, dealing with it is. Choosing how, that is your choice.

Coach Sandra

@sandrarinaldi on IG



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