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Stop blinding yourself with toxic positivity

It’s so easy to pretend everything is 100% fine all the time.

It is understandable. You might be trying to ignore the reality of a disastrous situation or want to keep up your own morale. 

People will always give the same unhelpful advice when things look grim.

“It’s important to stay positive.”

Having an optimistic outlook can be good. Seeing the positives in an otherwise negative situation can give you the strength to continue. Looking to your family, your friends, your successes and your achievements can be a great place to find an uplifting sense of purpose.

 This becomes a problem, however, when you realise you’re lying to yourself to make the real pain go away. 

When you attempt to turn every tragic experience into something inherently positive, as if success cannot happen at all without suffering, you’re not going to truly be able to address the reality of the situation.

Maybe it manifests in outside factors too. The family member that downplays your frustrations rather than actually listening to your problems. The friend’s Instagram story bragging about their productivity during lockdown.

You may feel gaslit into thinking you need to change your outlook. You might feel guilty about feeling bad. 

“Look at the bright side. Be grateful.”

Hide how you feel. A fake smile to cover the underlying sadness. Say “Everything will be okay.” Be stoic or upbeat rather than experiencing sadness.

All of this builds up. If you don’t have a proper outlet, it’s guaranteed to be explosive. 

In the modern day, we all have an enormous pressure to appear ‘okay’. Society puts pressure on us all to appear productive and confident, otherwise we are branded as inadequate or weak.  

With social media too, there is pressure to only show the highlights, which cannot tell the full story of how you are doing. It’s okay to take a step back to address your emotions, rather than needing to be active all the time.

Toxic positivity leads to devastating, destructive consequences. Embrace your full journey – this is where your balance and your long-term success lives.

This blog is a reflection on “Legacy” by Martyn Pentecost, which explores the impact that you can leave on the world and other people through transforming your own life. Find out more here.