You know when you are feeling upset about something, and a friend or a parent comes to you and says: ‘hey, but think about all the privileges you have that others don’t’? Or something on the lines of: ‘but look on the bright side!’? Well, there is no other way to break this to you, but these are traits that are associated with what is called ‘toxic positivity’.
Just like toxic negativity, wherein you are put off by the person who is perpetually low, toxic positivity emphasizes on the idea that staying positive is the only way to live life, and work through its many challenges. In other words, this idea may be dismissive of real, raw emotions that every human being experiences and feels from time to time.
If you feel that being upbeat all the time is a strange thing, then you are not alone. You, therefore, must not feel like an outcast or an anomaly while tiding over a sea of ‘positive’ people. Social media gives the impression that you alone are fighting your battles, and everyone else is happy and content. This further promotes the idea that positivity, and a ‘bright outlook’ towards life is the solution to all your problems.
But, you need to understand that there exists a spectrum of emotions, because you are supposed to feel them every now and then. That is what makes you human, and allows you to live life. By rejecting them, you may be doing yourself great harm.
Remember that it is okay, important and therapeutic even, to feel your difficult feelings. Psychologists around the world say that by avoiding them and leaving them unprocessed, you may make them bigger.
A classic example would be someone telling you that things are not so bad, as opposed to telling you that they realise you are not doing okay, and that they are there for you, should you want to talk to them.
Everybody’s battle is different. You are fighting your own. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. When you accept your emotions, you may process them better by decreasing their intensity. The key is to understand that emotions are not good or bad, and positive or negative. They are just a way to guide you through whatever it is that you are going through in life.
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