Universiti Malaya – Wales

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By Dr. Sharmila K. N. Sethumadavan

I believe in positive vibes. Everything in life can be achieved by looking at things in a positive light – or so you were more often than not told – to focus on the positivity and to suppress and avoid at all cost the negativity that comes to you. Avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering, said Mark Manson in his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****. As such the denial of failure is a failure in itself.

And so is born the term ‘positive toxicity’. This is defined as an excessive and ineffective perspective of happiness, across all situations. This will result in denial and invalidation of your emotional experience. So, this is the way to cover up your pain, silence, by disallowing certain kinds of pain, anger, resentment and unhappiness.

How do you recognise this toxicity?

“Don’t worry; be happy”

“If I can do it, so can you”

“Look for the silver lining”

“Everything happens for a reason”

If you have heard all these lines and many more and feel invalidated – You are right to feel so!

Let’s practice being healthy human beings and be conscious of how we present ourselves in this society. If you are dishing out toxic positivity; it’s time to think about stopping. Be mindful of the environment around you and don’t be the transmitter of all things positive or what you may deem as positive. If you are hurting and you find the people around you using these monochromatic statements; aim for a balance between acceptance of your feelings whilst ensuring you know the next step forward. Set healthy boundaries and do not allow anyone to impose their perspective on you. Speak your truth; and like I said have a plan.

Have an imperfect, beautiful life everyone. Embrace and enjoy! It may be painful but worthwhile!

Toxic Positivity; you think? Yes, I think so too!

Source / Reference

Manson, M. (2016). The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. Harper.

Edwards, V. (2020). Toxic Positivity: Why Positive Vibes are Ruining You. Science of People. Retrieved from https://www.scienceofpeople.com/toxic-positivity/#5-dangers-of-being-too-positive.