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?

The Gift of Silence

The fruit of silence is prayer, The fruit of prayer is faith, The fruit of faith is love, The fruit of love is service, The fruit of service is peace. Saint Mother Theresa, nun and missionary

Is there more silence in your life than usual? There sure is in mine! I used to be one of those people who left the house everyday attending meetings, gathering with friends, being a part of various groups. My life was anything but silent. But now, with silence permeating my life, I have a better chance to hear the birds sing in the morning and the frogs at night, the ticking of the clock, and “the still small voice” within. 

As Mother Teresa suggests, faith, love, service and, finally, peace all begin with silence. Let’s embrace this time of expanded silence and perhaps we too will hear “the still small voice” of God more clearly. 

Affirmation: I embrace the silence.

Coaching questions: How are you coping with fewer activities and more silence? Is the idea of “the still small voice” within meaningful to you (see 1 Kings 19:12 for more information)? What can you do to embrace the silence? 

Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash