I am a type 7 on the Enneagram scale, which makes me an “Entertaining Optimist.” I am usually the most positive person in any group or conversation. Sometimes, I joke that I am a relentless optimistic, sometimes to a fault.
Through studying psychology and in my own therapy, I’ve learned more about the difference between positivity and toxic positivity. And let me be super clear, I have definitely used toxic positivity in the past and NEVER realized it. I never had intentions of being hurtful, but I realized sometimes positivity can be hurtful. Let me break this down for you.
According to Psychology Today, “The phrase “toxic positivity” refers to the concept that keeping positive, and keeping positive only, is the right way to live your life. It means only focusing on positive things and rejecting anything that may trigger negative emotions.”
Here is a great chart that I found on Mashable that breaks down the differences.
Sometimes, it feels easier to encourage someone to “just be positive,” but that type of reply diminishes any type of feelings or emotions that a person is experiencing. By using an approach that embraces validation and hope, you can be supportive, encouraging, and positive. You can look at someone you care about and make sure they know that you see them, you hear them, and you love them no matter what.
Have you ever experienced toxic positivity? What is something you’ve learned from this aspect of positive thinking?