There is no science backed behind the fact that no one on this Earth is happy one hundred percent of the time. We all have bad days, we go through hard times, and we have times in our lives when it is simply challenging to survive.
Yet, we are told to just shake it off, to cheer up or that it will get better.
There is a name for that. That is toxic positivity.
The true definition of toxic positivity, according to the Science of People, is feeling of acting happy or cheerful when you’re really not. It can be inflicted on yourself, or it can be the things that people say to you directly.
I am going to be real – 2019 was the hardest year of my life for many reasons. The biggest though was the fact that my mom died unexpectedly. I cannot even begin to count how many people told me to “just be strong,” “fake a smile,” or just to push my own feelings aside to be happy. I felt this pressure during the holidays, a season that my mother truly loved, to just grin and bear it. It felt almost as if I was a weight around those around me that brought everyone around me down.
The truth is, that is not okay. In fact, it’s dangerous, because I was holding my feelings in.
And, I am not alone. The article states that more than 75 percent of people said that they sometimes, often, or very often ignore their emotions in the favor of being happy. Furthermore, what is also damaging is that 67.8 percent of people have experienced toxic positivity in the past week alone.
I am going to be the first to admit that I find the positive in practically everything, because I do have a lot to be grateful for. Sometimes, this is a fault of mine, but that’s another story. However, one thing that I am learning that suppressing my emotions in light to “look at the bright side” may not be the best idea because it bottles them up. Going back to my example earlier, it is a very natural emotion to experience grief when you lose a parent and to admit it. Or, on lighter examples, that are not losing a parent, you can feel frustrated with something that happened in your day, or even with a situation. It’s okay to feel those emotions.
One of the things I would like to change with everyone who is reading this blog post is to seriously stop this toxic positivity garbage. Instead, I want everyone to learn to say “I know you’re hurting, but it’s okay,” give the people in their circle a chance to be upset, and stop saying “cheer up.”
For example, I’ve had a few moments where I was frustrated from it being one of those days. My water bottle spilled all over my car and soaked my rugs. Things weren’t working at work, and everything that happened was the ultimate test of my patience. I began to feel annoyed and frustrated, which is to be expected, only to tell myself to hold everything together.
Newsflash – we don’t have to, nor do we need to be positive all of the time. Sure, we can’t explode, but we are allowed to feel that way. I am allowed to vent about the fact that I am frustrated, instead of saying “that’s okay.”
So, the takeaway here is this: you are allowed to feel however which way you want to feel. And, no one should tell you differently.