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Sharing – Toxic Positivity: Harmful or Helpful

This is similar to what I wrote yesterday about US Gymnastics, our constant search for the positive, for ignoring people who are trying to bring us down with bad news, etc. is part of the problem when it comes to child abuse, not to mention being dangerous to our own mental health.

Fixing your gaze to the bright side and refusing to acknowledge any less-than-desirable thoughts or emotions might create a temporary illusion of peace. Yet this joy tends to be false and fleeting, a subpar knockoff of true contentment.


Turning down the volume on unwanted feelings and insisting others in your life cultivate the same positivity generally won’t manifest the happiness you seek. In fact, it often does the opposite.


Toxic positivity can have some harmful effects, and in the end, do more harm than good.

It’s the insistence that everyone around you also is positive all the time, demanding “Good Vibes Only” as the article points out, that worries me. Because people in real pain, social issues that cause real harm, etc. are not good vibes. When a team was winning gold medals, no one wanted to do more than focus on that success, and repeated stories of abuse went ignored. Is our constant need for positivity forcing us to ignore racism, homelessness, abuse, and many other social issues that we need to do more than give passing support to on social media?

Maybe most importantly, are there people in our lives right now hurting, who desperately need our support, who we are ignoring because they bring us down?

That’s no way to live in the real world, a world that has ups and downs, joys and sorrows, elation and pain. They all go together, and I would hate to see people get hurt because we have placed this completely unrealistic burden on people to always be positive. That’s not real, and that’s not a real connection to each other either.


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