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When “Just Be Positive” Goes Wrong!

By Pooja Marwah

Too much positivity is actually hazardous to your health! Yes, you heard that right. We all have that one (or more) person in our lives who literally lives for the silver lining, even when things are falling apart. And, that is okay as long as it doesn’t have you expecting unreal expectations on hope!

Having a bit of a word play here! But on a serious note – bright and shiny, chirpy and bouncy are all great as long as you have your down days too! Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? The necessity of a ‘down’ day?

It may seem counterintuitive, but being too positive all the time can actually be hazardous to your mental health. Living in a continuously positive environment is actually toxic in nature!

It is this preconceived notion, that you should always have a positive approach to life, pushing aside every negative emotion that ends up giving you unreal projections. And, while having a positive outlook is generally beneficial, toxic positivity takes it to the other end of the spectrum, by invalidating or dismissing genuine feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration.

Like failure is to success, so is sadness to happy. Life will have its ups and downs and being human is understanding how to cope with both sides of the rollercoaster. Infact, I would go to the length of saying that it actually enhances relationships, as you are able to be you! If you are anxious, stressed or unhappy – show it, vent it. It is essential to acknowledge and process negative emotions as a part of your human experience, else your bottled up feelings, will cause you to fester and potentially manifest itself as anxiety or depression. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders and portray an aura of martyrdom; for in the end, it is YOU that will experience the pain and sadly, the suffering attached.

Constantly being told to “just be positive” creates unrealistic expectations. It makes you feel guilty or ashamed for experiencing negative emotions, as if you’re failing at being positive. And, this unattainable standard goes further to create a cycle of self-doubt and self-blame.

Toxic positivity prevents people from addressing and resolving genuine issues in their lives. Because, by constantly putting on a happy face, you end up ignoring and downplaying real concerns, leading to long-term consequences. And, genuine connections and conversations get hindered. People fear expressing their true emotions, fearing they won’t be accepted or understood. Authentic relationships thrive on vulnerability and honest communication, which can and will be stifled by toxic positivity.

Optimism is a powerful tool. Being happy and positive are great attributes. But it is imperative you understand the importance of striking a balance between acknowledging negative emotions and seeking positivity. Accepting your feelings, seeking support, and addressing challenges head-on allows you to grow as a person, and aids in giving you a  blanket of authentic resilience.

Embracing a full range of emotions and allowing yourself to experience them is a vital part of living a healthy and content life. So, do the balancing act and just be the person You want to be.

(Pooja Poddar Marwah is an award winning author and Blogger. She writes an contemporary living and offers incisive reflections on the world around us. Her blog, Random Conversations is a go to guide to deal with the myraid stuggles we face each day.)