Why Positive Thinking Can be Toxic
Positive thinking can be a helpful way of looking at problems and managing stress, but it can also be toxic if taken to an extreme. Focusing too much on the good things in their lives can lead to unrealistic expectations and a sense of entitlement. This view can create problems when things go wrong, as people may feel frustrated or disappointed instead of accepting responsibility for their actions.
Positive thinking can also make people less likely to take action or seek help when they need it.
They’ll often state that “Everything is perfect.”
People constantly looking on the bright side of life may feel overwhelmed and stressed by the constant positive attention. They may also neglect meaningful personal relationships because they are too busy focusing on their happiness.
The term for it is toxic positivity.
You engage in toxic positivity when uncomfortable with negative emotions like rage or grief and forbid yourself from experiencing or talking about them (“positive vibes only”).
- I feel fine! Everything is fantastic! being active! (When things aren’t wonderful.)
- They’re now in a better situation. (After a fatality.)
- The ocean is filled with fish! (Following a breakup.)
- I’ve heard that those who have cancer have greater life energy! (When someone has recently received a cancer diagnosis.)
Positive thinking may have a harmful impact—either directly or indirectly—on every aspect of your life, from your mental health to your relationships to your capacity to engage in healthy habits, when it isn’t genuine.
Additionally, labeling everything “IT’S FINE” prevents us from identifying problems and finding solutions.
Positive thinking isn’t inherently harmful.
Consider yourself capable of handling and benefiting from the various challenges life presents. According to experts, feeling strong, competent, and qualified might help you flourish. We support that!
However, toxic positivity typically results in stagnation. You’re not handling difficulties with bravery and vulnerability. Instead, you find yourself mired in “Everything’s OK! It’s not a problem; I don’t have to deal with it! I promise!”
Signs That Your Positive Thinking Is Leaving You Stunted
- You forbid yourself from feeling or talking about unpleasant emotions like rage or grief.
- Other signs of repressed unpleasant emotions include muscle tension, wine bottles going missing, and disproportionate fury outbursts when you can’t find your keys.
- You feel guilty or humiliated whenever you feel terrible, like anger or grief. (“I don’t deserve to feel this way. While so many other people are suffering, my life is exemplary.”)
- When those close to you are in pain, you become uneasy and remark things like, “Just look on the bright side.”
Actions You Can Take
- Pay attention to all your feelings, especially the unpleasant ones you wish you didn’t have to go through.
- Name any unfavorable feelings you come across. Simple statements like “I’m feeling angry” or “I’m so lonely right now” can do this.
- Observe where in your body the feeling is located. Do you get a restless feeling? Is your jaw clenched? Face hot? Are there tears in your eyes?
- Be inquisitive. Is the emotion trying to convey to you something meaningful or important? What would the feeling say if it could speak?
- Consider the sensation a necessary and typical life experience that is neither pleasant nor bad. If not, try to accept it.
Yes, there is a process involved.
However, identifying toxic optimism and moving past it might help you relieve underlying stress making life difficult and preventing you from moving forward.
In conclusion, positive thinking can be toxic because it can lead to unrealistic expectations and an inability to cope with negative emotions. It’s important to remember that life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes it’s okay to feel sad or angry. It would be best if you did not use positive thinking to avoid dealing with difficult emotions but rather as a tool to help us cope with them.