3 Serious Side Effects Of Toxic Positivity

Is there a dark side behind our positive feelings?

Maybe you have experienced a scenario like this before, you’re pouring yourself some wine, or beer on a nice Monday morning because you received some bad news from work, your projects were behind schedule so your boss informed you that you’re laid-off temporarily, and then came an email from a colleague with these cold words, “It’s okay, cheer up!”

Toxic positivity, I’m assuming most of us are already familiar with this but for those who are not, let me explain it simply. Toxic positivity is a behavior where people tend to stay a-okay all the time regardless of the situation. It is a state of mind in which one tends to turn around and face away from the negative. Does this sound familiar? In reality, it is more common than we think it is.

To get a good grasp of the difference between a toxic-positive person and a true, sincerely sympathizing friend, here is a clear guide by Whitney Hawkins Goodman, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) and owner of The Collaborative Counseling Center in Florida.

The thing is, there is a misconception about having a generally positive outlook versus being toxic-positive. When we have a good outlook on life it does not mean that we run away from negative situations. It simply means that whenever we encounter problems, we face it, we look for solutions, and if we can’t solve it we let it be until such a time that we have recovered and fully ready to move on.

Toxic-positive behavior, on the other hand, ignores the situation at hand and rushes on to the feelings that lie beyond. It denies the impact of the issue and makes one believe that it is possible to skip the negative emotions and jump straight into as if the issue had been resolved already.

Acquaintances who simply say, “Cheer up mate, there are other worse issues out there”, is one example. Although they are not denying the existence of the current concern but by comparing the problem to make it seem as a lesser blow is unhealthy. Pain is pain. There are no levels of pain regardless of the situation.

Here I have listed down three side-effects that are taking place whenever we try to be all cool and good. You may not have noticed it but in the end, it is only our selves that we’re fooling. It is only our mind that we’re tricking. It is only our own heart that we’re trying to make believe that everything is okay when it is not.

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1. You deny yourself of authenticity

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” -Carl Gustav Jung

Let’s face it. We can’t be all happy and gay all the time like the Teletubbies, so when we force ourselves to cheer up and mask what we truly feel, we deny ourselves of presenting who we are. We are choosing to display emotions that are not us at the moment. We are wearing a costume and putting up an act.

Most of the time this comes from the desire to curb our vulnerability, to hide our weakness because there is a huge uncertainty on how the people around us will react and respond. Breaking down our walls would mean that we are trusting the person whom we decided to confide in fully and the risk of being misunderstood or not being understood at all is there, waving in front of our faces.

This creates a feeling of uneasiness so most of us would rather keep our walls standing however by over protecting us, we are denying ourselves of feeling the what-is. We are by-passing on the now, we are opting to display a certain person that is not us in the present, and yes, we are choosing to present a fake persona.

2. You deny yourself of growth

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?” -John Keats

Let’s face it. Growth comes from going through a painful process of maturing, from expanding our boundaries. It comes from perseverance, from discipline, from pushing further. However, if we are to stop facing the hardships, if we are setting our self in a smile-and-run behavior, there would be no pushing through, no moving forward.

By denying ourselves to feel disappointment, fear, anger, annoyance, guilt, sadness, all these negative emotions, we are hindering our growth. We are crippling our human capacity, we are closing doors on the opportunities that will help build our endurance, patience, not only the physical aspects but more so on mental, psychological, and spiritual. Simply put we are denying ourselves of a nice, sturdy backbone.

3. You deny yourself of valuable relationships

“If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.” -Carl Gustav Jung

Lastly, toxic positivity strains our relationships with people. We all have problems and if I can’t relate with you because you’re all good vibes only, what’s the reason for me to still be friends with you?

Valuable relationships are built on many things, but the main ones for me are love, trust, respect, and relatability if there is such a word. More so, in this digital age where communication has become almost limitless, it is important that to keep firm ties with the people around us, we remind ourselves that, hey, it’s okay to feel angry, scared, lonely or dismayed, because whether we like it or not, most of the time, these negative emotions shared with the people who are important to us, these dark tunnels are the ones that bind us together strongly more than ever.

In reality, good times spent with friends weigh lighter as compared to bad times walked together. Laughs are good but tears shared deepen relationships. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but pure authenticity, and the strongest relationships that I know are those that went through great pains hand in hand.

Final Thoughts

I am not saying we all choose to be in despair, let me be clear on that.

Moreover, I am not saying that we dwell on it, that we reside in our dark emotions, that we submit ourselves fully as if the word hope does not exist.

What I want you to understand is that it’s okay. If you’re hurting right now, it’s okay. Accept the pain, embrace it, because the only way you can face your negative emotions head-on, the only way you can work through this, is by acknowledging its presence. Admitting the truth is the only way to push through.

In order to rise from its own ashes, a Phoenix first must burn.” -Octavia Butler

When we try so hard to keep afloat when in reality our boat is already pleading for us to send out an SOS when the fear of being seen by others as we are sinking has become greater as compared to the fear of drowning itself, something is eating us from the inside and we need to be aware of it.

Hey, I know things are tough at the moment. Let the tears fall. Let it break you, I know this might sound insensitive but, only in the breaking that we learn fully of ourselves, our truths, our boundaries, our strengths. It is in the breaking that we learn lessons on how to become fully human, for our selves, and the people around us.

Sending you a warm hug today. Lovelots.

Hello! Thank you for reading this from The Mindful Modus.

My name is Princess of The Mindful Modus, a blogger on a mission of helping people develop a healthy approach to work and life by incorporating mindful practices to everyday, mundane self care routines. All the contents of my blog are decaf-initely free but a coffee can greatly help me stay awake! Thank you so much!

47 thoughts on “3 Serious Side Effects Of Toxic Positivity

  1. I’m seeing more and more of this arise on my feeds as time goes on. I think people are very much waking up to this now, which is great. There’s always been some discomfort associated with it. To arrive at positivity, you need to wrestle with the feelings first. Having people say to me “It’s OK, you’ll be fine!” has always felt so dismissive. People’s intentions are lovely though but sometimes you just want to sit for a bit with what you’re feeling and just…feel! Thank you for a great post, Princess!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello, wow beautiful words, thank you so much for taking the time and reading this post! Yes, you said everything right there. Facing these negative emotions and feeling them is how we can push ourselves through. Have a nice day and wishing you well, Laura ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t I was exuding toxic positivity on myself. I was always the type of person who wants to fake it ’til I make it because I don’t like it when people see me vulnerable so I try to mask myself a lot with fake positivity. But I’ve been trying to work it out lately because you’re right that we deny ourselves to grow when we try to fake things until we make it. Thanks for this! 💖

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello, thank you for taking the time to read this post, I appreciate it. I think, it is normal for everyone to hide their true emotions especially in front of other people. It is a common defense mechanism we employ in reflex, maybe because we feel better if the people around us are not aware of what we are going through, we feel that we are not troubling them, we are not adding more concern on top of their own. Wow, you are brave for admitting this openly. I think, you’re on your way to slowly opening and sharing your authentic self. Wishing you well ❤️

      Liked by 3 people

  3. We pretend a lot like ya I’m cool. I’m fine and I’m optimistic and all. But inside a total different person. We want to show our emotions but sometimes only for the sake being positive, we pretend like we are positive, hence disappointing our own self.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh wow….this is my first time hearing the term ‘toxic positivity’, it’s true everything you said. Vulnerability should be encouraged more (i am guilty of this). There’s also the danger of letting negative emotions pile up, and the scale of impact might be much worse when it tips over all at once one day.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. True, I agree with you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and reaching out. I appreciate this! Even I am also guilty of this, most of the time because I don’t want my family to worry about me, so I feel it’s better to keep them unaware of what is happening and how things are affecting me.

      But I’m beginning to understand that there is beauty in becoming vulnerable, in presenting ourselves as we are in each moment. Wishing you well! ❤️

      Liked by 4 people

  5. This this this!!! I agree with everything here in a massive way; GENUINE uplifting positivity is fab. You getting bad news, your girls coming over with pizza to cry with you then laugh at romcoms? Good positive. The blanket, surface level “never give up!” can feel patronizing and also just… unrealistic? Unrelatable? Kind of fake?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, sometimes when are going through things, it’s so much better if we let ourselves feel the negative emotions. Healing can only start from acknowledging the what is. Thank you so much for reading this post, and leaving such kind words! I appreciate it! Wishing you well ❤️


  6. I am so guilty of this. I do this to myself most of the time but I realized that I am also reflecting this to the people around me. Just recently I found myself saying “It’s okay, we can do it” to my friends and to myself every time we failed a quiz. It went on and on until we realized that there’s no more chance of getting the grade that we planned to attain. We passed but we didn’t get a good grade. So I realized that we kept thinking “positively” and it prevented us from facing it and discussing what went wrong. Thank you so much for sharing this! It helps raise awareness ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello, thank you so much for reading this post Nath! True, there are cons to staying positive all the time, for one things, just like you said, it hinders us from improving ourselves. Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fantastic post love! I know personally I am a person who thinks on the positive side but you also have to watch your word. Like how said person said it was okay that you failed the test…… don’t do that.

    Bad or “unpleasant” (crappy) situations happen to all of us and truthfully it all can’t be fixed by pixie dust and glitter. Sometimes it requires acknowledgement and moving forward. Ie: how can I try and prevent this from happening again. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello, thank you for reading this post and sharing your thoughts. Yes, I believe there is big difference between being a person with a good overall outlook on life vs being so positive that even terrible situations are seen as good things. I think, what’s missing from the toxic-positive people is empathy, so they go throw words out not knowing that statements such as, “it’s okay” is not helping and instead hurtful. Have a nice day to you, and wishing you well! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such an important topic to discuss! I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of people who exude toxic positivity. And I have a much harder time getting close to them. My true friends are the ones that allow me to have space to be angry, upset, sad etc. I think it’s important to allow yourself to have space to feel other emotions besides only positivity too. Thanks again for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I agree👌. people need to understand that life is full of ups and downs and the solution is not to disregard the uncomfortable but acknowledge and find a healthy way to deal with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello, thank you so much for reading this post and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it, and I agree with what you said. Life is not always rainbows and butterflies, we need to accept that. Thank you for dropping by and wishing you well! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello, thank you so much for reading this post! I’m happy this helped you in some ways. Thank you for the kind words and for supporting this blog. Wishing you well! ❤️


  10. There’s so much below the surface, if we would only allow ourselves to feel. Toxic positivity is so pushed in our society for everybody, Man up! Put on your red lipstick and face the world. We get lost in keeping up appearances when the real work needs to be done on the inside. We need to tell others and our selves, its perfectly normal to be not ok. Really enjoyed the article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you hit that right! I agree with you. Pain is undeniably part of growth that we all need to understand and accept. By denying these pains we only fool our own selves. Thank you so much for reading this post and sharing your thoughts about it. I appreciate it! Have a great day! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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