3 positivity statements and why I hate them. 

The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become.

This statement is not only unrealistic but promises an outcome that’s not true.  I’m wondering if the person wrote this has any family members at all. Or has been in public spaces?  Negative people are everywhere.  We can all probably name someone in our family who has been negative at times.  We can all think of a time WE have been negative at times. 

What is it like to just not respond to negative people? Does it give you more peace? I think it’s possible to find peace by picking your battles with people. But this is usually with people you aren’t in regular contact with or aren’t in a long-term relationship with-like your grandma or neighbor. 

Another issue with this statement is that it can be enabling someone to continue their pattern of negativity, which steals your peace overtime. It wears down your serene bubble until it bursts and you’re more tense, angry and hurt than ever before.  So maybe responding to someone’s negativity actually brings you more peace???

There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.

This one makes me want to 🤢.  Should I just leave it at that?  For anyone who has seen hardship of any kind, this can be tone deaf to our experience. 

We all struggle with how to be grateful for what we have.  We want to see the beauty in our everyday life, but it’s not at the exclusion of the difficulty, the struggle.  It’s an oversimplification of life and makes it seem like there is a space of happiness we confined if we just look.  I.E., if you’re not happy, you’re not trying hard enough. 

Stay close to people who feel like sunshine.

I have so many problems with this.  Do YOU always feel like sunshine? Does your best friend always feel like sunshine?  

First of all, this is (obviously) unrealistic, but secondly, it’s encouraging us to distance ourselves from those who challenge us.  If everyone did this, no one would grow or change and no one would to to therapy. 

Surrounding ourselves with people who are kind and caring is important, but friction in relationships helps to sharpen us. It is a sign of maturity to have the emotional resilience to withstand conflict and challenge in relationships.

Toxic positivity is based in an assumption that we can go through life without struggle, without friction, without uncertainty, and without pain.

Toxic positivity attempts to sidestep all of these so we can find real peace, happiness, and sunshine. This works as long as you don’t go through anything hard. But as soon as you face something that hurts like when a friend betrays you or someone says a negative comment, you realize you can’t find all those happy feelings. 

What’s worse, you begin to blame yourself for losing touch with that peace, that happiness and that sunshine. It also becomes a problem when you act contrary to these mantras. Like when YOU ARE the negative person in someone’s life, or when YOU ARE causing someone else to feel unhappy, and you ARE NOT the sunshine that someone needs.

We shame ourselves for being “negative and ungrateful” and feel inferior to others. Toxic positivity does so much damage to us. Even as I googled these images, I was feeling pretty good about myself. But the more I saw, I see that it doesn’t offer any real hope. A joy-filled, gritty, messy, but fulfilling life is really what I’m after.

At East Dallas Therapy we hope that you can find those people in your life who give you constructive feedback and support- not negativity.  We hope that you can show gratitude (generally) but don’t force yourself to feel happy all the time.

We hope that you show grace to others when they can’t be all you need.