I recently read a post that spoke about the biggest lesson of this year.
It’s about letting go. Letting go of our plans and to just go with the flow, letting go of what we thought might happen, and see where life takes us. Just let go right? But there was something about that post that didn’t sit well with me. Although deep down I know that things in life will work out and that letting go is essential for living well, my first instinct was to say:
“You know what, fuck off! My emotions are valid and I have a right to feel.”
It reminded me of those people who tell you to stop thinking so negatively and only focus on positive thoughts. Or those people who judge you by commenting “what do you have to be sad about?” Then it dawned on me that forcing oneself to constantly think positive does more harm then good! That’s when I learned about toxic positivity.
What is toxic positivity?
In short, toxic positivity is when someone relies on positive thinking so much that they willingly neglect the learning that needs to be done. They force the silver lining lesson and push through without actually processing their emotions or feelings. This can cause harm for our mental state because if we don’t allow ourselves to process our negative emotions, we won’t know how to actually heal.
A recent study shows that toxic positivity can actually have people “experience low thoughts and burn out; delaying their personal journeys and taking them further away from the goals they are so desperately pursuing.” We also have to think realistically and understand that life is meant to give us ups and downs in order for us to grow and evolve.
How to tell if your positivity is actually toxic:
Although the wellness industry has grown and helped people reclaim their lives, it’s also taken a turn for the extreme. Somewhere down the line, wellness advocates and leaders started telling people to stop allowing negative emotions to seep through or to not allow themselves to feel them period. Instead, they tell their followers to wash it away with positive affirmations. This is so harmful and will actually delay you from living your best life.
If you’re trying to use positive thinking and affirmations to avoid feeling your emotions, that’s when you’re using your positivity for unrealistic goals. It’s more like you’re avoiding the inevitable to happen. As long as we have the awareness that things are temporary, we need to give ourselves time to sit with our feelings. We need to take special care and to not be afraid to say that things fuckin’ suck.
We have to feel.
Your feelings and emotions are valid. They’re not a flaw or a burden. They need to be taken care of. Anyone who tells you to suck it up or put your feelings down by telling you to just think positively isn’t emotionally available for you, period.
So I’m giving you permission to feel. To cry. To scream and to be pissed right the fuck off. To not be so hard on yourself if you just need time to be alone and sit with yourself. That’s true self-care!
Healing is not always pretty and filled with positive affirmations. It’s raw and unfiltered. It’s bare and can be ugly sometimes. It can make us channel our deepest fears and realize what we have to work on. It can make us look in the mirror and see a side of us that we don’t want to face.
But it’s real, it’s you, and it’s a place where you can begin to heal.
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Til next time,