Sharing – Why Toxic Positivity Worsens Depression
Mahevash focuses on the effects that this has on people who already are dealing with depression, but I think this is a much larger problem than that –
“Engaging in toxic positivity means that a person is pretending to be a 100% fine and happy when in fact, they are in some kind of problem or emotional pain. While this is harmful to any individual, it is a hundred times worse for a depressive. The idea behind toxic positivity is noble — if you stay positive even in the most trying situations, the universe will reward you with happiness by ensuring that good things happen to you. So just by changing your attitude into a positive one, you will end up living a happier life. ”
The idea that the goal is a life full of nothing but positive thoughts, and happiness, is completely, utterly, ridiculous. That’s not the way the world works! Telling someone dealing with depression that they can simply “change their attitude” and happiness will find them is ridiculous. Telling someone who isn’t dealing with depression that they “should” be happy and positive all of the time, is only going to convince them that maybe there is something wrong with them, because they have bad days, they have sad days, bad, negative, things happen to them, some days they can’t see the positive, etc.
That’s because they are experiencing real life, full of all of it’s ups and downs, and complications. We live in a messy world. Healthy people accept that, accept all of the emotions that come along with that. I don’t believe people who demand always on positivity are healthy. I don’t believe they are telling the truth, and I think making role models of them is a very dangerous thing to do.
Here’s an example of how real life actually works.
Yesterday was my last day at my job. I’m moving on to another opportunity. One that I hope will be more of what I want. I’m looking forward to the change. I’m also incredibly anxious about whether this is the right choice, and I’m even a little sad about not seeing some of my coworkers on a daily basis any longer.
See how complicated this really is? I am all of these things right now. I’m feeling all of these things now. There are some who would say I shouldn’t be. That I should focus on the positive, only think about the positive outcomes, because everything else is just negativity that gets in the way of my happiness.
That makes no sense. That does not represent the reality of my life right now. Aspiring to that, would actually make me more stressed, more depressed, because I’m not going to be able to live up to that.
It’s fake. It’s unreal, and it’s unhealthy for everyone.