You’ve probably heard that excess of anything is bad. Sugar, phone usage, or leg exercises. And so is excess positivity.
I believe this thing is real, the problem exists. However, it’s easily overlooked. That’s likely because comprehending what “excess positivity” looks like is tough.
It’s tough to visualize what its effects could be.
Think about it this way
What’s the harm in smiling more often? How is masking negativity with positive affirmations wrong? Seems pretty alright, doesn’t it? That’s until it doesn’t.
For more context, I definitely recommend watching the following video by the YouTuber James Jani, in which he explains the harmless-seeming yet discouraging effects of self-help.
Undeniably, there’s an obnoxious side to positivity
- You can incite insecurities by appearing encouraging and refusing to understand people
- You can dwindle someone’s emotional wellbeing by not acknowledging their vulnerability
- You can unknowingly set exaggerated standards of happiness and downplay other emotions
It’s messy and it affects people.
Toxic positivity takes many forms.
- Sometimes it crawls in your life as remarks served with smiles from acquaintances
- Sometimes it reveals itself through your confused (not necessarily negative) emotions
- Or sometimes it’s forced down your throat by internet influencers or self-help authors
There’s nothing positive to this really.
How do you figure if the kind of positivity that you’re exposed to is toxic
Well, a litmus test for that would simply be how the things around you make you feel. What’s their vibe like.
If something makes you think “I feel sorry that my life kind of sucks” or “what’s so wrong with me?” and sends you downhill on a path of loathsome contemplation…then you’re better off staying away from it.
Encouraging messages can be blunt, too, but they come along with a constructive context.
They give you hope and set you on a path where you discover what you want so that you can help yourself. And that can be damn powerful, whereas excess positivity does the opposite as it can preach and blame.
You somehow know when you’re being respected and not being talked down upon. There’s a certain empathy and realness. You can sense that there’s almost no pretense when your feelings are genuinely welcomed.
These indicators must work most of the time.
If not, listen to your heart.