Is this title a bit clickbaity? Maybe, but it’s also an honest question, has the spirit of positive thinking, vibes, energy, gone too far? Part of me thinks it has. I think this because I’ve seen tweets focused on how we should all keep perspective during the pandemic because some people have it worse, or how we should keep our spirits up and be productive because this will be over soon but nothing is positive all the time, just because your struggle isn’t “as bad” in the grand scheme of things doesn’t take away what you’re going through.
I think the term for how this type of messaging has gone too far was coined “toxic positivity.” It’s the influencers telling you to “choose” being happy even when there’s a global pandemic and actual mental health issues that should be dealt with professionally. Or it’s being told to keep perspective when you’re disappointed about a canceled trip or event you were looking forward to, instead of being allowed to feel however you feel. I don’t want to blame influencers for this trend, because 1) I am an influencer and 2) no one wants to be a downer when you’re putting on for an audience, but I do think social media has led us all to believe that we have to have a camera-ready smile at all times.
But you may be asking, Syd that’s great and all, but what can I even do about this, because I know we’re all about action steps around here. So I think here are 3 steps to balance your valid emotions with remaining generally optimistic about life.
1. Feel It
This may sound obvious, but it’s honestly harder than you think. Do you need to cry? Eat a snack? Take a moment to listen to some sad songs? Do that, it’s healthy to feel what you’re feeling completely, if you don’t acknowledge the feeling you can’t move forward down the line.
2. Process It
There are different routes to do this step. Do you have someone you can talk to about this? A best friend? A parent? A romantic partner? Talk to them about it if you feel comfortable. If you don’t pull out your handy dandy journal and get to writing, you’ll be surprised how much you can work out on your own if you give yourself the chance.
3. Throw It Away
This is the hardest step in the process because it’s easier said than done, but you have to toss the problem away at some point. Holding onto it is constantly going to keep you in an ugly cycle with steps one and two leaving you feeling unaccomplished and helpless. Depending on the severity of the issue, I always recommend talking to a therapist if you can afford it.
What do you think about positivity? Let me know in the comments!