Everyone will tell you that it is good to be positive and always look on the bright side. And while this is true, there come times when being overly positive become dangerous from you and doesn’t bring you anything good. That kind of positivity is called ‘toxic positivity’.
Toxic positivity happens when something major occurs to a person and they become so anxious or upset that they fall into depression and people around them keep telling them to think positively and everything will be okay. That is toxic because a depressed person can’t just recover by thinking positively from a life-changing and tumultuous period in their life.
The thing is, you can’t force anyone to be positive. You can’t tell someone that they are where they are because they weren’t thinking positive. And don’t you think they have already tried to think positively but it brought them no results?
Because sometimes the situation is what it is. There is no silver lining. There are periods and moments in our lives that are just hard, painful, and difficult, and no amount of positivity can change that.
Therefore, instead of telling someone they need to be positive, try to acknowledge and validate their feelings. Make them feel understood. Be with them. If you can, help them. That’s what real support is. Try to walk in their shoes for a moment and then you’ll see how bad it sounds when someone tells you “why are you so negative?” or “it could be worse.”
And most importantly, give them time to heal. Be there for them if they need you. If they don’t, don’t bother them. Sit back and wait for them to contact you when they are ready. Because everyone deals with their pain differently. Some need a helping hand, and others need to isolate themselves to solve the problem.
Below is a chart that explains the difference between real support and toxic positivity.