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  • Writer's pictureMandy Mee

Toxic Positivity

We're all about positive vibes at The MME Agency but we certainly don't believe in "Positive Vibes Only". The term positive vibes only which seems to be a plague in our generation dismisses the authenticity of human emotions and influences self deprivation. Mindfulness teaches us to identify our emotions, familiarise ourselves with how our emotions make us feel while understanding ways to manage them. Compartmentalising certain emotions limits us from our true potential and causes more internal issues.

What is Toxic Positivity?

Toxic Positivity is the excessive emphasis of maintaining a happy outlook on life in spite of the condition of your emotions. It invalidates authentic human emotions such as pain, frustration, anxiety and stress which encourages a robotic image in our day to day life. Human beings weren't created to consistently maintain a positive mindset from birth to death, it's biologially, neurologically and physiologically impossible. Our emotions are motivated by our upbringing, culture, association, habits, passion, fears, and desires.

Anything done in excess, is Toxic and harmful for our body and mental health. Binge eating leads to obesity, dwelling on pain and sadness amounts to depression, excessive exercises causes irregular sleep, heart rate, increased stress and mood swings. Busyness distracts us from the reality of life.

What is Emotion?

Emotion is defined as a strong feeling derived from one's circumstances accompanied by physiological and behavioural changes in the body. It's the biological state associated with the nervous system which is part of human nature and understanding when and how to express one's emotions whether positive or negative is liberating. Instead of perceiving your emotion as negative or positive and brushing the negative under the carpet, use it to guide you through life.

Instinct is part of emotions that gives you an idea of when something doesn't feel right.  Your instinct is highly familiar with "vibes", whether "positive vibes" or "negative vibes".

If you're in a social gathering and you feel like a fight is bound to break out, that's your instinct sensing negative vibes within your environment. To protect yourself, you don't wait for the fight to break out, you leave ahead of time. 

When dating, you spend time getting to know a person. During this period, your instinct is at work, assessing certain traits revealed through action, verbal conversation or body language. Your instinct is able to determine your level of compatibility with a significant other. 

Imagine yourself repressing your emotions on a roller coaster ride, You miss out on the thrill of adrenaline. If someone slaps your face would you react with a smile, tears or a punch? If you've been emotionally abused for a period of time, would you choose to remain a victim or find ways to overcome such experience? If you taste something disgusting, would you spit it out or swallow it with amusement? How do you feel by the thought of eating faeces? Certain personality traits are prone to handling emotions differently, for example introverts are known to repress their emotions and extroverts or ambiverts are quite expressive. 

Spending life pretending to be happy at all times, or always reacting positively to every situation both good and bad is inhumane and will eventually lead to burn out. The more you bottle up your emotions, the closer you are to depression.

Here are examples of Toxic Positivity

  1. Avoiding negative emotions and forcing yourself to see the brighter side of life.

  2. Feeling shame for expressing your emotions such as sadness or tears and covering it up with a smile.

  3. Acting like pain is weakness.

  4. Encouraging others to always have a positive mindset such as using the phrase "Positive vibes only".

  5. Making people feel guilty for expressing their emotions with a negative connotation.

  6. Consistently posting old happy looking pictures of yourself to mask your current mood of stress and anxiety.

  7. Minimising the effect of someone's emotions by expecting them to just "get over it that's life" or "It is what it is".

There are ways to offer support and positivity without seeming toxic. Eg;

When a Lion roars, it doesn't cower away behind a tree cause it's worried about how other animals feel about its roar, it just roars whenever and wherever. If you feel the need to curse in frustration, it’s okay to be expressive. Feel free to scream or express your emotion in Capital letters, like "FUCK THIS", "WHAT THE FUCK" “FUCK YOU”, trust me, You’d feel great. Don't ever let people make you feel guilty for being expressive or emotional. Feel the feels with a good balance.

Hope you enjoyed the read.

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