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How Toxic Positivity Ruins Our Lives In Times Of Pandemic

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“Don’t worry, everything will be okay”

“Don’t be so negative, be positive a bit lah”

“Think positive vibes only!”

With the current pandemic happening, we are all trying to manifest the “positive vibes only” mantra. To no doubt we mean well when we say these things to try and cheer people up. However, what you do not realize is that you are causing more harm than good. Despite having the best intentions you are emitting negative effects to yourself and others around you.

This folk is what we call toxic positivity. According to a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, Dr. Stephanie Preston, toxic positivity is when people use or demand positive emotion or optimism in a way that causes people with legitimate concerns to feel oppressed or disregarded.

Basically, the culture of toxic positivity is the act of focusing on only positive thoughts and pushing away anything that leads to negativity. Thus, invalidating your negative emotions will then lead to other negative circumstances in your life and others around you.

With that said, let’s have a look at how — if not stopped, toxic positivity can ruin one’s life.

Prevents you from growing

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By constantly having people telling you to look on the brighter side of things whenever problems occur in life, you would eventually create this process of undermining your problems and hiding your feelings. When this cycle is repeated, it’ll deter both your physical and emotional growth as a person.

In an article reviewed by a phycologist, Dr. Rachel Goldman, this happens because it denies us to feel things that might be painful, and it also denies us the ability to face challenging feelings which are factors that can ultimately lead to growth and deeper insight.

Bottom line is, the more you suppress your feelings and exaggeratedly think of happy thoughts only, you’re just preventing yourself or others from growing as a human being. Unless you’re an alien-like Superman, then the only solution to this vicious cycle of negativity-blocking is to experience a true cathartic release.

You lose the sense of being a human

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When you persistently put up a positive facade upon your life, you’re giving off the impression that you’re living this perfect little life of yours. This wouldn’t be as bad as you might think, but as a matter of fact, you’re putting up a warning sign for people from being relatable and deterring them from building real connections with you.

Phycologist, Dr. Konstantin Lukin, mentions that when people don't pay attention to negative feelings, and then come across to others like they don't have them, it makes them less approachable and relatable. Imagine trying to have a meaningful relationship with someone who ignored sadness or anxiety.

Bringing down that perfect life facade can do you good. Think about how great it would feel to talk to your family or friends about the bad day you just had. Relating to one another and exchanging notes on how much you hate your job. Sometimes, the negativity could even bring some laughter into your life.

Your bottled negativity will explode

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As logical as it sounds, the more you try to push those feelings deep inside, the more it will grow. Once it gets full and there’s no more space left, the negativity will explode and find its ways to creep up on you. This time, it’ll be a hundred times worse as all past problems and feelings are accumulated together which will affect your well-being.

A 2013 study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Rochester suggests that bottling up our emotions “may convey risk for earlier death” from all causes by a 30% increase.

Similarly, it’s just like sweeping dirt under the rug effect. The situation might look okay on the outside but after a while, the build-up has to go somewhere. If we don’t process our emotions well, it will turn into something uglier that could cause issues concerning your life.

Vulnerability is a sign of strength

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For most of us, we were brought up in a world that believes vulnerability is an unacceptable quality in a person. To the point whereby expressing our feelings or even showing signs of delicacy is an act of weakness that one should never portray of themselves.

Be that as it may, showing your delicate side isn’t something that we should be shameful about. It takes real strength to connect to one’s feelings and accept your pain. Take it from Maz Dela, founder of Fitness Freedom Flow, “It shows strength when you can admit you are in pain and are struggling to handle things”.

The simple truth is we can’t heal grief with “it’s going to be okay” or get rid of the pandemic with “Good vibes!”. Instead of trying to be positive or diffusing other people's emotions, we should listen, accept what they’re saying, and reserve our comments.

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