Eliminating Toxic Positivity May Require More Than Just a Shift in Mindset

May 26, 2022 | Main Blog | 0 comments

What is toxic positivity? It is feeling guilt over expressing negative emotions and also avoiding expressing those emotions. Unfortunately, many people including me grew up with this belief to avoid negative emotions and only express positive ones.

My mom, sister, and I grew up with this mindset, but it took my sister running away from school and finding her at a barbeque restaurant that we realized we needed to go to counseling. It was important for us to break this false belief and end this cycle. We still occasionally apologize for expressing such negative emotions, and one of us had to remind the other that we are human.

My sister suffered more from this belief than my mom and I have. She is the person who always seems cheerful and optimistic. But here is some advice: Keep an eye on your cheerful loved one as they could have grown up learning that showing negative emotions is not okay.

It also does not help with the old belief that children are to be seen and not heard. My sister is unfortunately one of many children who were punished for showing negative emotions instead of seeking a counselor within the school system.

This topic is extremely important to me because we had to go through years of counseling to reteach ourselves that showing negative emotions is okay. It is okay to feel angry, sad, stressed, or anxious and to realize that you are only human.

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Chelsea Whittington

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