“Don’t think like that.”
“You’ll get over it.”
“Stop being so down!”
“Look at the bright side!”
These are just a few of the phrases that despite sounding encouraging, can occasionally dismiss a person’s point of view and negative emotions they may be feeling. This is called Toxic Positivity, which can often lead to worsen instead of helping someone’s situation.
Saying any of these common phrases rejects any intention of helping a person cope and process their feelings, and could really do more damage than healing to them in the long run.
Constantly dismissing one’s negative emotions can lead to denial, invalidation, minimization, and can increase the depressive mindset.
Think of taking those raw emotions and stuffing them into a bottle. Eventually, if we do that with our own emotions, the bottle will break into a bunch of little pieces.
To avoid this, we want to take each emotion gently and fold it like a piece of paper and drop it lightly into the bottle. Just as when we should acknowledge one’s most sensitive state, we handle it softly and gradually.
This is not to say that being pessimistic is wrong, but sometimes when someone just needs to take a step back and center themselves with how they truly feel, it needs to be real, vulnerable, and most importantly, acknowledged!
Think of how you would want someone to feel and see your perspective of things when something is going on. This goes with how we should treat ourselves as well when we are having our bad days or moments. Feelings of bad and good are meant to be balanced out and should both be accepted instead of having to constantly argue with being fully one or the other.
Experiencing failure, suffering, struggle, are all part of the human experience.
In order to know the struggle, we can reach for a better outcome of how we want to grow as individuals. If you are someone who exhibits feelings of toxic positivity from someone, make sure to keep them accountable for their actions and sayings as well as set boundaries with them in order to validate your true feelings.
Also take accountability for yourself if you are having difficulties steering away from always having to have a positive mindset. It’s how you are able to tell from what’s good, versus what’s bad, versus, what’s real. Healing is all a part of the growing process of being human.
Check out some common toxic positive phrases below and how to transform them into validation phrases: