Have you ever heard of toxic positivity?
It is defined as “the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations.”
The process results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.
It can force us to pretend everything is okay when it isn’t.
As I researched this term, I uncomfortably realized I’ve been guilty of this.
During the pandemic, I have suggested friends or family members “stay positive”, and even gone as far as to highlight what I consider to be the things for which they have to be grateful.
I realize now this wasn’t helpful. It was toxic.
By assuming that a person should only have a positive mindset is invalidating and delegitimizing.
It takes away the space for them to experience what they are feeling in that moment.
So why do we do this?
Suffering is uncomfortable. And in a year when we have felt that so many things are out of our control, suggesting someone keep their chin up can, for just a moment, make us feel like we’re in control.
“You’ve got this!”
It’s actually something we do to make ourselves feel better and can be a sort of self-coping mechanism.
So how do we stop doing it?
Listen. Validate. Hold space.
And how do we cope with it when someone does it to us?
Sit with the discomfort and accept you’re entitled to your own emotions. They are yours. You own them.
And remember, you don’t have to engage.
On December 27th at 7 pm ET, Briana and I will help you pull out your best-of moments of the past year while reconciling the struggles through listening, love, and breath.
Join us. It's free.