TOXIC POSITIVITY CULTURE: Are Positive vibes what you need?

TOXIC POSITIVITY CULTURE: Are Positive vibes what you need?

Positive vibes

I was watching a Youtuber -Breeny Lee and she was talking about Toxic Positivity {watch here}. And I thought to my self, Toxic Positivity? Is that really a thing ? How can Positivity ever be regarded as Toxic? Then she went on to give the dictionary meaning . I was like wow! This is really a thing!

As she went on it kept making so much sense to me. I do this! I practice Toxic Positivity and I have also been a victim of Toxic Positivity but I didn’t know . There are a lot of habits that we practice that are not right but we keep doing them because we are oblivious of the damages it causes us and people around us.


According to urban dictionary , Toxic Positivity is the belief that, “if you just stay positive, you will overcome any obstacle,” to such a degree that you invalidate natural emotional responses and the person having those feelings.

Dr. Jaime Zuckerman, a clinical psychologist explains Toxic Positivity as the assumption by one’s self or others that despite a person’s pain or difficult situation , they should always maintain a positive mindset.

Toxic Positivity is ignoring your emotions in favor of being ‘happy’.


Positivity is harmful when it is insincere , forceful or delegitimizes real feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, or hardship.

Toxic Positivity is a facade of happiness.



Toxic Positivity can be in so many forms, from motivational speakers telling you “there is no room for failure , If I can do it you can !” making it seem as if you do not put enough effort , to family members or friends chastising you for expressing frustration instead of listening to why you are upset.

It is also saying “I am fine” with a fake smile , when you are obviously going through the worst. Denying your anger because you do not want to “over react”.

Have you ever found yourself telling someone “cheer up , all is well ” after they vented about how terrible they felt instead of empathizing with them first? That is toxic positivity.

It is visiting someone that has just lost their loved one and say ” stop crying dear, it is God that gives and he takes” . At least thank God you’re alive , it is well”. Or asking someone that is crying to “smile for you” because it would be fine.

Toxic Positivity takes the place of Empathy.


Negative emotions are seen as repulsive with Toxic Positivity. Instead Positivity and happiness are forced , thereby denying , minimizing and invalidating authentic human emotional experiences.

We should not have to pretend everything is OK when it isn’t . It is OK not to be OK

It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during a crisis. Talk to people you trust, such as friends and family or your fellow community members.

While it is important to be hopeful and try to look at the brighter sides of things trying to find the silver lining in life experiences, It is also of utmost importance to acknowledge and listen to our emotions. Emotions helps us to make sense out of things, they also convey information to people around us.

If we are sad, it pulls for comfort. If we communicate guilt it pulls for forgiveness, If we express frustration and weakness , it pulls for reassurance and strength. No one can be a ray of sunshine 24/7 , paying attention to emotions as they come and go may help you understand yourself and those around you better.

Ways Toxic Positivity Can Be Dangerous

  1. The negative jar build up. The more you avoid negative thoughts the bigger they grow.

You may close the metaphorical closet door on emotions but the specter of it looms behind the door, growing scarier and stronger in our minds precisely because we are not addressing it.

Author and clinical social worker – Jenny Maenpaa

Repression of emotions can have serious physical and emotional consequence. Emotional stress are known to be linked to not only mental illnesses but also physical illnesses like hypertension, heart diseases, headaches, autoimmune disorders and even intestinal problems.

People who accept their stress without trying to change them are able to cope with their stress more successfully

-Brett Ford, assistant professor of psychology at University of Toronto

2. Loosing touch of reality . In denying the truth and invalidating feelings, we begin to loose authenticity with our self making it difficult  for others to connect and relate to us. Have you ever found yourself around people that seem so perfect, put together, funny, and make you believe nothing can ever go wrong with them but when caught off guard they are the saddest people going through the most? That’s what toxic positivity causes.

You also find yourself not being authentic around these people because you do not want to ruin the good vibe. By curating a fake emotional world , we attract more fakeness resulting in counterfeit intimacy and superficial friendships.

3.It makes you a fair weather friend . You only stick around doing the good and rosy times and leave as soon as here is a real problem. The Positive Vibe only kind of friend, “miss me with the negative energy” . All of these makes you come across as insensitive .

How to deal with Toxic Positivity

How to avoid toxic Positivity
  • Avoid ignoring or stuffing / suppressing your emotions. How you feel is valid.
  • Do not be the expert . Listen and validate how others feel even when it is different than how you feel.
  • Remind yourself that it is Ok not to be ok. Do not beat your self up for feeling angry , sad , or any how you feel about a situation.
  • Be realistic
  • Try a digital detox by going on a digital fast. A digital detox works by resetting your level of dopamine; your pleasure hormone which has been damaged by repetitive social media use . The end result leaves you feeling less stressed and less comparing yourself to others.

It is important to acknowledge the reality of our emotions by verbalizing them and moving them out of our bodies. This is what keeps us sane, healthy and relieves us of tension caused by suppressing emotions. Have you realized you feel better after crying/ yelling when you really needed to?

Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experiences . Any attempt to escape the negative , to avoid or quash it or silence it , only back fires .The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is failure . Hiding what is shameful is in it self a form of shame.

-Mark Manson, the subtle act of not giving a f*ck

Instead of practicing Toxic Positivity, aim for a balance and acceptance of both good and bad emotions rather than the All or Nothing thinking.

Hi there! I hope this helps? Please share with someone who would need this and subscribe to be the first to know when the next premium content would be posted. Ciao.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Kenny

    This is awesome. Who would’ve thought positivity could be toxic. Nice one.

  2. Aman patkar

    Oh positivity can also be be negative, I had never knew it thank you for the article keep up the good work.

  3. Faith

    This is wonderful. @Kenny, who would have thought positivity could be toxic😂. I really learnt a lot ma’am.

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