OD: Toxic positivity and Finding middle ground
As you can tell from the title this is another more serious blog post. Honestly, I've been loving speaking on more topics like this because since I'm not in school right now, I have so much free time to learn about different topics. I know I also write a lot about beauty and fashion too but since I have a youtube channel now, I feel like that type of content is easier to show on there but I still really like listing tips here on the subject. So one topic that caught my interest this week is toxic positivity. Being positive has been something we are constantly told but we are rarely warned about the dark side of being too positive. So in this blog post, I want to explain the difference between positive and toxic positivity, talk about what can happen when you are too positive, talk about things happening in the world, and how you can acknowledge them without being too negative or too positive. Basically I want to talk about how to be a middle ground person when dealing with issues, which I feel like is especially important this year.
Positivity vs toxic positivity
Positivity itself is a good thing but too much of anything is not good. To be positive is described as seeing the good. However, even if you see the good, a person needs to acknowledge that there are things not so good in the world. Toxic positivity is when you redirect your attention to see the good but you also ignore things that you find to be negative. Basically blind-siding yourself to the realities of the world. Toxic positivity has been around especially on social media for years. There will be people who would caption their post with things like "positive vibes only" and at some point, I was even guilty of that as well. This is the bare minimum of toxic positivity and in the next parts of the blog, I will be giving specific examples and effects of it.
Examples of toxic positivity
Here's the article I used to find examples but I am also going to explain what makes each quote qualify as toxic positivity.
"It will be better tomorrow ": The truth is that is unpredictable. Because there are so many factors including what makes a good day and what makes a bad day to a person. On top of that, it is very dismissive because it makes it sound like a person's problems will magically disappear. Like yes, it is possible an issue can end in a short period of time but it all depends on other factors that may be out of someone's control.
"It can be worse"/"Other people have it worse": This is not only very dismissive but also use a comparison to undermine the intensity of your own issues. It's a nicer way of saying " Shut up about your problems because they aren't that deep or bad. This can actually guilt a person into not wanting to talk about their problems and bottling them in so they won't appear as selfish.
"Satisfy with what you have ": This something I personally heard a lot from my family but this is something I personally believe as toxic positivity because I feel like it is very limiting. This phase is telling you to just be happy with what you have in your life which makes you seem like you shouldn't be ambitious and shouldn't want better for yourself.
"Don't worry, be happy": For some people, they can't help to worry or overthink things. And if a person could choose not to overthink and just be happy they would but psychologically speaking we on only have a certain control of our minds because there is the conscious mind and subconscious mind. (Here's an article that talks about a study that observed that we have less control of our minds then we assumed, the study was done in 2018)
"Just let it go and stop obsessing over it ": This one was actually personal because one of my therapist told me this (which is one of the many reasons I stopped seeing her). First off, obsessing is a strong word and for someone with a bad experience with that word, I automatically felt triggered. Also, this alludes to the idea that people can just heal without closure. Maybe some people could but everyone has a different capacity for pain and while some can just move on from the emotional pain, some people's journey to healing is much longer.
"If I can do it, you can do it": Not everyone has the same talents. In my psychology class, we actually spoke about Gardner's theory on different intelligence. I do believe in different intelligence because some people are gifted with numbers, others are gifted with words, some people are naturally creative and can see bigger pictures while others need science to see more. The phrase is comparing two people which isn't healthy regardless.
"Look for the silver lining": This phrase deflects focus from the situation because the person listing can't handle it.
"Just smile": I heard this a lot as a kid, so again this one is personal. I have an RBF, so even if I'm not sad or mad, I just look like it. I also don't think a facial feature should tell a person's emotions because a person can be smiling but deeply depressed inside (but you just wouldn't know). Just smile is a way to tell someone to stop being
Effects of toxic positivity
Becoming numb to all emotions or hiding how you feel
Dismissing other people's emotions and problems
Shaming others for not being positive
Out of touch with reality
I should just add that only toxic positivity has negative effects that are not only harmful to you but people around you. There is nothing wrong with being positive but the way that you go about it will determine if it's healthy or not.
Why is Toxic positivity important to know about
Now that I covered what exactly is toxic positivity, there is a reason I wanted to specifically talk about it. 2020 is a year with a lot happening. Something new pops up every single day to a point where it's not shocking but it's still overwhelming. I feel like in the beginning, it was hard to adjust. In my own experience, I was pushing myself to be productive and just thinking of a way to make the most out of a bad situation. I wrote a blog post on how to be productive being home and not too long after that I saw a twitter thread about how some people felt about seeing others that. Like I know it wasn't directly about me but it was more of a thought about what if I was making others feel that way unintentionally. I wrote a full blog to address that if you want to read it called " OD: Dreams, Ambitions and insecurity". Being productive was my way of coping because I didn't want to focus on it and in the past, that was just my way of dealing with anything. I would throw myself into working out or a hobby because I didn't want to deal with emotions. That in itself is such a false sense of optimism and was more harmful.
Learning about toxic positivity makes you more aware of how you act so you can deal with issues and move past it instead of pretending it doesn't exist. It also allows better communication because people may avoid telling you things because they feel you can't sympathize with their emotions.
Things going on with the world
The protests are still going on. I'm not going to speak much about it because I already spoke about what I think about in "Life-Changing Lessons I learned 6 months into 2020". Just to clarify the protests are more than just about one mans death. It is about systemic racism. The problems aren't just going to go away like a heat rash, it will keep do the opposite and keep growing like an unkept tumor if we don't acknowledge the issues. I believe that educating on different cultures, listening to others' perspectives, and just realize you can never completely know how a person feels or understand why something impacts them or triggers them because you haven't lived a day in their life, will help the issues. So just have conversations and genuinely listen to other people.
Sexual assault victims:
I spoke about it briefly in my last blog post but there have been many people who came out with sexual assault claims (some had been against celebrities, others have been regular people). One thing that greatly bothers me is when people come out with their stories some people de-value their emotions with phrases like "well that happened years ago" or question why they bother to bring it up now. Healing takes time and people will recover from things at their own pace. While I haven't experienced this (which I am grateful for because no woman or man deserves to), I can empathize with how they must feel and check if they are doing okay.
ICE new policies:
The new ICE policies affect international college students because it basically says if an international student's classes are all online, they have to go back to their homelands. At the same time even if they in-person classes, they risk catching Covid-19.
So when I was writing this on July 14, I saw a post on my school's student government posted about the change. The only reason I am keeping this as apart of the post is since this was going to happen, I feel like people should know that was what they were planning to do.
There has been a conflict in Yemen for years but it was brought to attention in 2020 due to the short supply of water and cleaning since the Pandemic happened. They have the largest humanitarian crisis going on. They lack so much equipment needed to survive.
There was something going alleged happening with Wayfair (I say alleged because I'm not trying to get sued). I'll include articles that explain more about this than I can in my resource list below. It is a really crazy theory but apparently there is no concrete evidence.
There was talk of the second wave
There were many deaths and my heart goes out to anyone who lost someone.
How to cope
Clearly the best way to cope is to be empathetic and realistic about everything going on. Try to understand how people are feeling, how they are being affected, and don't pretend there's nothing wrong or dismiss them. If something is negative in your own life just allow yourself to go through the emotions and heal.
I feel like I wanted to talk about this because I've been on both ends where I was extremely pessimistic and extremely positive. I've been learning more about how to be in between because especially now. While I am taking extreme steps in self-growth, self-care, and just doing my best with things like this blog and my youtube channel (which you should subscribe to), I also recognize this really is a heavy year for people in all shapes and forms. This year for some is really traumatic and it will take a lot to recover from. 2020 for me will be different to me than other people who were directly affected because with most things I am on the sidelines. That is why especially on this blog I try my best to advocate for things. If I am not speaking on it through my platforms, I am trying to educate myself on things beyond me and my home.
So that's all for today.
I hope you enjoyed this post and do your own research on the topic because I do find it so interesting. I know some of you need a break from heavier subjects like this so I already am planning my next post around things you can do for yourself. Thank you so much for reading and please don't forget to like and share with your friends and family. Have a good day, evening, or night.
Until next time,
xoxo Lay 💋
Last blog post- Signs of a toxic person