On my recent Global TV segment, we discussed toxic positivity.
What is it? And why can it be dangerous?
Toxic positivity is an obsession with positive thinking. It is the belief that people should put a positive spin on all experiences.
Toxic positivity can muzzle negative emotions, belittle grief, and make people feel like they to be happy even when they are struggling.
Can you see why we need to NOT DO THAT?
I am all for trying to be positive and seeing the glass half full, but gaslighting someone’s sad emotions are dangerous (denying them the chance to experience them).
When someone tells you that they are struggling, please opt for empathy and compassion without rescue. We sometimes engage in toxic positivity without even realizing and with the best of intentions. We want to cheer someone up! But, we don’t always need to flip it and try to motivate them.
Sometimes people need a safe space to release and unload, and the idea is to sit quietly and allow them to share safely without interruption, judgement or solution. A simple response of, “I’m really sorry you’re going through this right now. I know this is really hard for you. I’m always here for you to listen.”
Nike‘s slogan of JUST DO IT! is super motivating, but not in every case.
Have you ever encountered toxic positivity?