Toxic Positivity

 "I really can't stand it. Oh my god, what do I have to do?"

"Just be strong, come on !" 

Have you ever been in that situation? 

When you decide to reveal your story to another person like your family, friends, or lover, it turns out you get an unexpected response that makes you feel uneasy. Well, at that moment, probably you're experiencing toxic positivity. 

Toxic Positivity
Source: Satupersen.net

Toxic positivity is a situation when you want to feel better after facing such a bad thing. However, you receive the opposite results from another person that told you to be 'positive'. Now, the question is, why are the words "be positive" to be the killing words?

In psychology, it has often been researched that one way to solve problems is by good communication. So either we try it with verbal or non-verbal communication. Although it isn't easy to share stories with other people, keeping it to yourself is also not the right thing.

One day, there will come a time when we will become listeners. Therefore, we need to be good listeners, especially if someone else told us about their problem. Instead of immediately telling people to be strong, why don't we show our empathy first?

Show them that we understand their feelings because some of the people who want to share their stories with us don't necessarily want to be encouraged. Sometimes, they only want to be heard. 

For example, we can replace the unsympathetic 'be positive' reply with this one :

  • "I know what it feels like. Don't worry, failure is a part of growth and success. Now tell me about how you are feeling. I'm listening"

But toxic positivity does not always come from another person. It also could start from ourselves. For instance, being too positive on ourselves sometimes can be dangerous or setting standards that are too high on ourselves, resulting in a negative impact on our mental health. It would be nice if we have expectations so that we'll be more enthusiastic about striving for something. But not so high until we can't tolerate the opposite result that we wanted.

Lionel Shriver, an author of the best-selling book We Need To Talk About Kevin, once said, "Expectations are dangerous when they are both too high and unformed ." So building expectations must be accompanied by an awareness of our ability to what extent. Not because we are pessimistic, but because we have to fully identify ourselves and learn to accept when reality does not match expectations.

Instead of saying, "Come on, it's easy, cheer up," Let's replace this with, "It's okay, I can try again, I can do it."  

Writer: Cysakaren Diva Pratiwi