I’m all about that positive living. Finding the good in life. Enjoying the little things. Creating moments of joy. Finding happiness. Living your best life.
But you know what else comes with all that goodness? Sadness, anger, down days. You know, negative feelings.
And that’s normal!
I want to state my position on the whole positivity thing.
Yes, positive living is amazing and it’s a great way to find gratitude and joy, but pushing positivity constantly and not leaving room for the other end of the spectrum can lead to toxic positivity.
What does toxic positivity look like?
Good vibes only.
It could be worse.
These happy-go-lucky phrases are well-meaning. They’re about eliminating the negative aspects of your life that don’t serve you and helping you feel more in control of your emotions and circumstances.
But nothing in life is simple.
Because on the flip side, “Good vibes only” could also be trying to invalidate your negative emotions. “It could be worse” could be telling you that you’re not allowed to feel unhappiness because you are fortunate in other ways. And “Choose happiness” could be blaming you for your negative feelings.
Toxic positivity doesn’t leave room for the ebbs and flows of life.
Positivity shouldn’t be toxic.
Positivity should be about looking for the good things in life while also recognizing that there is some badness, too.
It should be about choosing happiness and joy when you can while giving yourself permission to have bad days.
It should be about feeling gratitude for the gifts we’ve received while also recognizing that we’re human and that part of the human experience is the lows.
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Positivity is about that imperfect balance between good and bad, high and low, happy and sad. While we may strive to feel the highs most of the time, there are bound to lows and it’s okay to live in those lows for a time. The lows are what make the highs higher. The badness is what makes you thankful for the goodness.
So if you ever catch me encouraging you to strive for positive living, know that I do it not with the intention of spreading toxic positivity. I do it with the intention of reminding you of the goodness, while giving you permission to experience the badness, too.
Enjoy the journey,