Positive thinking is a good thing. It's just that, if done excessively, it can become a boomerang that actually threatens our mental health.
This term is commonly referred to as toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is a condition in which a person refuses to feel negative emotions that come to him and continuously suppresses these emotions by staying positive.
Not only that, toxic positivity can also be interpreted as a word of encouragement or motivation that has a toxic and damaging effect because the words that are uttered actually hurt the other person.
To make it easier for you to understand toxic positivity, negative effects, and tips to avoid them, let's look at the following explanation.
What is Toxic Positivity?
The term toxic positivity has recently been used quite often, especially when discussing mental health.
Toxic positivity is an act in which a person denies the negative emotions he or she feels. For example, feeling angry, upset, sad, disappointed, and so on. This emotion is deliberately suppressed because it is considered a bad thing or an emotion that needs to be hidden.
Unfortunately, if these emotions are continuously suppressed for a long period of time, these emotions will be very dangerous and cause quite fatal things.
This is because the denial of the negative emotions felt by a person will lead to various health problems. These include stress, sleep disturbances, anxiety, prolonged feelings of sadness, depression, drug use, and even PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
In addition to yourself, toxic positivity can also come from other people. A simple example is when we talk about the difficult things we are going through. Instead of getting motivational words that help calm the mind, our interlocutor actually throws a painful sentence.
Some expressions that are often used in toxic positivity include, "Don't give up, there are many other people who are more difficult", "Your problem is nothing compared to A", and "You are still better, I was much more difficult".
Even though it seems trivial, the sentence has a fairly influential impact on the way we view ourselves, feelings of inferiority, feeling emotions that arise are invalid, and so on. This of course has the potential to poison us which leads to mental health disorders.
How to Recognize Toxic Positivity?
Toxic positivity can be recognized from the way someone talks, precisely from the words that are said. Maybe that person has good intentions to motivate the other person, but without realizing it, what comes out of his words are words that demean and make people hurt.
The other characteristics of toxic positivity can be seen below.
1. Dishonest With Your Own Feelings / Being Denial
Toxic positivity is an attitude in which we respond to what we feel in excess. This creates a reluctance to admit what we really feel because we think that negative emotions shouldn't be felt.
For example, pretending to be happy even though you are experiencing extreme sadness.
2. Tend to Avoid Problems
The second characteristic if someone is experiencing toxic positivity is that there is a tendency to avoid problems. This is because the problems that arise in their lives tend to bring negative emotions such as feelings of disappointment, anger, upset, sadness, and so on.
As a result, in order to avoid the negative feelings that arise from the existence of the problem, the person will try to avoid the existing problem and think that the problem is not really happening.
3. Providing Motivation That Actually Hurts Others
The next characteristic of people who experience toxic positivity is that they tend to judge others through the words that come out of their mouths.
Have you ever told someone or vented but instead of calming down, you got more and more restless and hurt because you were judged or compared? These are the characteristics of toxic positivity!
4. Likes to Compare Yourself With Others
Be careful if you like to compare yourself with others. This habit is a sign of someone experiencing toxic positivity!
For example, when they want to motivate others, those who have toxic positivity tend to compare their interlocutor with other people who they consider to have experienced more severe events such as "See, he who is not perfect can do it, can't you?", "Actually you are able but it's a shame to give up so easily."
5. Difficulty in Controlling Emotions
The fifth characteristic is difficulty in controlling emotions. People with toxic positivity tend to think that everything must be faced positively and subconsciously find it difficult to understand the emotions that occur in them so that it is easier to feel anxious, anxious, and uneasy.
Image Source: Pexels/Liza Summer
Negative Effects of Toxic Positivity
If left unchecked, toxic positivity can have very serious effects. These effects include the following.
1. Easily exposed to stress
2. Feel the most correct
3. Having difficulty in socializing
4. mental health disorders
5. Easily feel restless and timid (anxiety)
Tips to Avoid Toxic Positivity
To avoid this toxic attitude, you can follow these 5 useful tips.
1. Be honest about your own feelings
Honesty means feeling with all our hearts the emotions we are feeling. Whatever the emotion; sad, happy, angry, disappointed, all these emotions are something that is normal for humans to feel.
We can express what we are feeling by talking or confiding in the closest people we can trust. If that doesn't make you comfortable, you can write it down in a notebook or personal note.
Also, increase emotional support from those who really understand our condition with an objective view, and avoid interacting with people who give toxic positivity.
2. Strive To Understand
Try to understand yourself and those around you, and try to listen. If in case we are not able to provide a solution, try to avoid words that are less appropriate.
Because one word that is not appropriate can have a painful effect on the listener. Don't feel the need to try your luck when someone tells us. Understand that we cannot control other people. It is better for us to be good listeners, asking what is being felt, than we are trying to provide a solution.
3. Avoid Comparing Yourself With Others
Stop comparing yourself to others. Because what is faced by ourselves and others is something different, we will never be able to fully feel what other people are facing.
4. Reduce Social Media Consumption
Too often playing social media is proven to cause stress. This is because posts about happiness and things that seem fine can lead to feelings of insecurity and start comparing other people's lives with your own.
Not only that, but too often playing social media can also disrupt the health of our bodies, one of which is the eyes due to staring at the screen too often.
Avoid people who often make negative posts or actually provoke (trigger) your emotions. Always instill in yourself what we see in cyberspace is not entirely true because everyone always wants to have a good image or self-image.
In addition, instead of spending a lot of time playing social media, you can use the available time to do positive and productive activities. Like developing a hobby or learning new things.
5. Make peace with yourself
The last tip is also one of the most important tips, namely making peace with yourself. Learn to understand, appreciate, and love yourself as best you can, one way is by listening to your heart.
If we find it difficult to understand and make peace with ourselves, how can we possibly help and understand others?
BFI friends, that's the explanation of this article about toxic positivity. It's okay if we don't feel okay, what you feel is a valid emotion. There's no need to deny it or pretend to be happy.
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