10 thoughts on “Toxic Positivity: It’s a Thing

  • May 3, 2019 at 3:24 am

    Thank u for saying this! Best thing I’ve read in awhile. It needed to be said!

  • May 4, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Thanks for writing this – it’s so true. Sadly I think most of the Law of Attraction writings have really exploded this type of thinking. My example is just 3 months after my partner died being told that I could choose how I felt about it. As if I could just choose to be happy and bypass all that yucky grief stuff. It felt really profoundly invalidating, annoying and unhelpful.

    • May 4, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Wow, Karen, that was insensitive. I’m sorry that person made it even worse for you.

  • May 4, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Brilliant…. I totally connected with your feelings on this ….. I have a reply for such waffle from the ‘overt dictatorial positivity gang’ – ‘I’m sorry would you mind leaving your unicorn in the parking lot!’
    It stops people in their tracks and brings them back down to earth somewhat! 😊

    • May 4, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      I love that! Totally copying you. 🙂

  • May 4, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you for this! My narc mother started with this nonsense after reading “The Secret”. So annoying.

  • May 5, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    I absolutely hate it when people minimize the pain a person is feeling and comes up with some bullshit quote about how to overcome the adversity that is happening to you. Life and problems are real. Magic quotes are just that…sometimes they help you get into a more positive mood and other times it is just maddening and infuriating. Easy for them to say when they aren’t living your life

  • July 10, 2019 at 10:00 am

    This is an excellent article and spot on! For the longest time, I did not fully understand why my father-in-law’s insistence on overly exaggerated compliments irritated me. Your article helped me to see that his toxic positivity allowed him to repeatedly get taken advantage of by his significant others time after time. It got so bad that his most recent girlfriend snuck her name onto the deed to his house and stole it right out from under him! Yet the whole time, he insisted that the situation was ‘fun’ even when his adult children staged an intervention to try to get him to see that the relationship was bad for him.
    As Brene Brown would say, this was another vulnerability shield that he was using to avoid reality and the unpleasant emotions we inevitably must feel. However, if he had had the insight to notice that the behaviors of his fiancee were negative and paid attention to his kids’ serious advice instead of brushing it off and trying to ‘look on the bright side’, it never would have escalated to the point of needing attorneys and ultimately a drawn-out lawsuit.
    Kudos on helping me put a name to a phenomenon that has long troubled me! Even the Dalai Lama says that allowing others to run us over is NOT kindness: it is just another way of allowing negativity to perpetuate in the world (e.g. enabling) and must be stopped in its tracks. Setting boundaries, I have learned, is the more compassionate approach for not only ourselves but also all those involved and affected by our actions. Cheers and thanks for publishing this!

  • November 2, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Thank you for sharing this. As a bereaved parent, some people have tried to assure me that they “want to help me move on” or say “you will have joy again”. No, I won’t move on in the way they think I should. Losing a child has changed me. I will grieve, I will heal, but I will still carry my love for my daughter the rest of my life.
    I will have joy, in fact I have joyful moments now. But even in those joyful moments, there may also be moments of grief. I can be full of joy for my friend who’s getting married and at the same time feel sorrow that I will never get to see my husband walk our daughter down the aisle. Emotions can be multifaceted and that’s okay.

    • November 2, 2019 at 10:53 am

      Laura, I completely agree. My best friend lost her daughter and it does change you. It’s been more than 20 years now and she has 3 healthy boys (men now), but it still hits her now and then. I’m sorry you lost your daughter and I can’t imagine that ever being right. You sound emotionally healthy and I hope the moments of joy come often for you. The shadow side of the joy will be there. I’m glad you see that and feel it all. If I could, I’d hug you now.


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