Are You Prone To Toxic Positivity?

Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. Mother Teresa

I’m known to be a positive person. In many ways, it’s how I define myself. I even wrote a book about the power of affirmation and another one about how to move forward after loss. People who are constantly “ain’t it awfuling” annoy me, especially when they want me to jump on their bandwagon.

Lately, however, I’m recognizing that there’s a space between constant positivity and the “Ain’t It Awfuls.” It’s called toxic positivity. 

The Psychology Group, a mental health organization in Fort Lauderdale, FL, defines toxic positivity as “the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. The process of toxic positivity results in the denial, minimization, and the invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.”

Recently when I posted on Facebook about being ill, I had a response that I took as recognition for “being real.” Yep, the Queen of Positivity has bad days, gets angry, gets sick, has anxiety, and occasionally feels sad, lonely, and unhappy. 

Trusting that I’ll never become an “Ain’t It Awfuler,” I will strive to be more authentic about how I feel. If it’s true, the next time someone asks how I am, I might just have the courage and feel the freedom to say, “Not so great. Thanks for asking.” 

Affirmation: I will be authentic in my emotional experience.

Coaching questions: What are the signs that you experience toxic positivity? How will you be more authentic?

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