How many times a day do you come across someone who asks you to smile, be happy and forget all the worries in the world. It’s quite easy to sound like a motivational speaker when the problems aren’t yours. To be honest, a ‘good vibes only’ message isn’t making the person who you are trying to help, feel any better.
As someone who has battled with anxiety for over 8 years, I can safely say that my friends make me feel much better when they are being realistic and not when they are promoting ‘toxic positivity.’
What is toxic positivity? It’s when someone thinks just asking you to be positive will fix all your problems. Yes, this too shall pass. But for now, it (my problem) is here and it’s glaring in my face. Help me tackle the situation, instead of asking me to ‘think happy thoughts.’
In the day and age of social media and positivity, motivational accounts flooding Instagram, toxic positivity is on the rise. It makes people afraid of expressing negativity and fear, often leading to isolation. What if people reject me because I don’t fit into the idea of rainbows and sunshine?
Someone trying to help must work towards creating a safe space for problems to be solved and people to grown in. Instead, toxic positivity pushes people into a corner, telling them there is no chair for them at the table unless they are bringing in ‘happy thoughts.’
At the end of the day, positivity does come from a good place and it would be a shame to have it displaced. Because ‘I’m here for you’ works so much better than ‘Stop bringing yourself down.’ So tell me you love me, but don’t shame me into loving myself.