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What Is Toxic Positivity?

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to talk about the idea of toxic positivity. So this term 'toxic positivity' is it refers to an unhelpful fixation with positive thinking and pleasant, emotional states. For instance, a person may try to appear happy all the time and put a positive spin on all experiences, even those that might be deeply painful, traumatic, or even tragic. So they might do this with themselves, putting pressure on themselves to pretend to be happy, even when they're really struggling, but also with others.

So they might tell someone who's grieving or really heartbroken to just get past it and look at the positive side of their situation. So what happens with toxic positivity is it often suppresses authentic, emotional expression. It demeans grief, makes people feel under pressure to hide what their true experience is. Now I'd like to also acknowledge here that of course, positive thinking can be wonderful, empowering, and strengthening. It's really wonderful to focus your thoughts on things like gratitude and the goodness in other people, yourself and the world.

And, you know, a generally positive outlook in life is a helpful thing. However, it's when we start to believe that we should be positive all the time, in all situations that things become problematic. We might actually ignore serious issues in ourselves and also in our lives. And sometimes, you know, the, the reality is we're just not doing okay in some way. And seeing and acknowledging that really clearly is often the catalyst for healing and the beginning of change.

So when we demand positivity from other people, from our loved ones, instead of giving them understanding, empathy and compassion, we may also make them feel quite stigmatized and judged. So the point here is just to know that while positivity can be really helpful in some situations in life, it's really not a panacea for all of life's challenges. Because the reality is, is that we humans do feel a wide range of emotions, each of which is an important part of human experience. The part of what it actually means, you know, to live a full, rich and meaningful human life means that we need to allow ourselves to experience the full spectrum of human emotion as well. And in the harder times, it's compassion, authenticity, and kindness that are our really good companions.

As researcher and author, Brené Brown said, you know, "What we know now from the research is that when we deny our emotions, they tend to own us, but when we can own our emotions, we can rebuild and find a way forward through the pain. So here are some ways to avoid toxic positivity, a few tips, if you will. One is to remind yourself that unpleasant emotions are just as important and natural a part of the human experience as pleasant ones. Another thing is that when unpleasant emotions arise, one thing you can do is just mentally name them to yourself. So, this is a way of acknowledging that they're there and a sort of helpful way to honor them and meet them with compassion rather than ignoring them or pushing them away.

Another way to avoid toxic positivity is to seek support from trusted people when you're struggling and talk to them and open up about what you're going through. And lastly, giving empathy and care to someone who's hurting rather than trying to fix or change them is really valuable. Really giving them compassion, just focusing on that. I hope these tips are helpful for you going forward in your life. And as always, thank you for your practice and your presence here.

Let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

What Is Toxic Positivity?

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to talk about the idea of toxic positivity. So this term 'toxic positivity' is it refers to an unhelpful fixation with positive thinking and pleasant, emotional states. For instance, a person may try to appear happy all the time and put a positive spin on all experiences, even those that might be deeply painful, traumatic, or even tragic. So they might do this with themselves, putting pressure on themselves to pretend to be happy, even when they're really struggling, but also with others.

So they might tell someone who's grieving or really heartbroken to just get past it and look at the positive side of their situation. So what happens with toxic positivity is it often suppresses authentic, emotional expression. It demeans grief, makes people feel under pressure to hide what their true experience is. Now I'd like to also acknowledge here that of course, positive thinking can be wonderful, empowering, and strengthening. It's really wonderful to focus your thoughts on things like gratitude and the goodness in other people, yourself and the world.

And, you know, a generally positive outlook in life is a helpful thing. However, it's when we start to believe that we should be positive all the time, in all situations that things become problematic. We might actually ignore serious issues in ourselves and also in our lives. And sometimes, you know, the, the reality is we're just not doing okay in some way. And seeing and acknowledging that really clearly is often the catalyst for healing and the beginning of change.

So when we demand positivity from other people, from our loved ones, instead of giving them understanding, empathy and compassion, we may also make them feel quite stigmatized and judged. So the point here is just to know that while positivity can be really helpful in some situations in life, it's really not a panacea for all of life's challenges. Because the reality is, is that we humans do feel a wide range of emotions, each of which is an important part of human experience. The part of what it actually means, you know, to live a full, rich and meaningful human life means that we need to allow ourselves to experience the full spectrum of human emotion as well. And in the harder times, it's compassion, authenticity, and kindness that are our really good companions.

As researcher and author, Brené Brown said, you know, "What we know now from the research is that when we deny our emotions, they tend to own us, but when we can own our emotions, we can rebuild and find a way forward through the pain. So here are some ways to avoid toxic positivity, a few tips, if you will. One is to remind yourself that unpleasant emotions are just as important and natural a part of the human experience as pleasant ones. Another thing is that when unpleasant emotions arise, one thing you can do is just mentally name them to yourself. So, this is a way of acknowledging that they're there and a sort of helpful way to honor them and meet them with compassion rather than ignoring them or pushing them away.

Another way to avoid toxic positivity is to seek support from trusted people when you're struggling and talk to them and open up about what you're going through. And lastly, giving empathy and care to someone who's hurting rather than trying to fix or change them is really valuable. Really giving them compassion, just focusing on that. I hope these tips are helpful for you going forward in your life. And as always, thank you for your practice and your presence here.

Let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

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