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Last Updated on November 26, 2020 by ELLEASH

This piece is going to try to untangle what toxic positivity is, how we can avoid it. and what we can do instead of dismissing the feelings and the emotions, felt by us and others.

TOXIC POSITIVITY. Is this something that interests you? Check out for more posts on this topic.

Hey hey my lovely entrepreneurs,

How are you all today? I hope that life has been good to you today and that you ready to discover a new piece I am working on. 

If you are unfamiliar with who I am, welcome! There is a section on the backstory of this blog, so feel free to go check it out here.

As I was researching on my second topic in my themed series, I stumbled upon a new term which, immediately piqued my interest. I knew it would be a valuable topic to write about and share with you.

The term that I came across was TOXIC POSITIVITY.

Have you heard of it? I hadn’t, and I really found this phrase fascinating. It’s almost like an oxymoron.

How can something so “good” be toxic?

This piece is going to try to untangle what toxic positivity ishow we can avoid it. and what we can do instead of dismissing the feelings and the emotions, felt by us and others.

As I was reading and researching this topic, it occurred to me that I am actually a really positive person.

I like seeing the good in people & circumstances, and being an optimist.

Something I thought my DNA was missing!

Yet, there was also a big part of me that had a slight apprehension to discover, that maybe, I had a toxic positivity personality!

Answer at the end of this piece …

What is toxic positivity?

TOXIC POSITIVITY. Is this something that interests you? Check out for more posts on this topic.

If you are always exuding a positive mindset over everything else, and will always see the best in situations & people, and you eliminate feeling any negative emotions, you may actually be doing yourself, and those around you, harm.

It doesn’t make sense does it?

Being a positive person is a good thing, right? Well, not quite.

According to Psychology Today, toxic positivity,


refers to the concept that keeping positive, and keeping positive only, is the right way to live your life. It means only focusing on positive things and rejecting anything that may trigger negative emotions.

Social media & Toxic positivity

In today’s society, and especially with social media, we are often exposed to arty photos, positive quotes, beautiful people. 

It is impossible to not want to feel like the people portrayed on our feeds.

However, in the back of our minds, we also know that too much sweetness will inevitably give us a toothache and reality will come back faster than we can put that 3rd piece of candy in our mouth!

Unless you are unaware of the boundaries between being a genuine optimist and just positively toxic, there are phrases that one should never say or hear said to them.

Phrases such as, “you just have to be positive“, or “don’t be so negative” or “positive vibes only!“.

Who hasn’t read these on pretty IG feeds?

They are unfortunately everywhere!

If you have also said them, let me quickly stamp those feeling of guilt coming to the forefront, because you may not have known that by always saying these positive affirmations, you were in fact being dismissive to other people’s needs and emotions.

The filler phrases that are a killer

It truly is insidious.

When you hear the phrase “everything happens for a reason” or “all is going to be ok“, it appears that the person saying them is caring, and wants to help, but really these phrases don’t mean anything!

Filler words like, everythingall, are incredibly dismissive towards YOU.

TOXIC POSITIVITY. Is this something that interests you? Check out for more posts on this topic.

Try and think of one example to which the phrase “everything happens for a reason” actually helps.

When faced with a medical diagnosis, to which the outcome is just pain and heartache, what is the darn reason for this to happen?

What about the loss of your lifetime partner? Or that of your child? What is the reason behind that??


We all love the “bandaid” effect

I know, these are highly emotional experiences, yet they are real y’all!

When you dismiss or deny feeling the negative emotions, you are ultimately making them bigger! Difficult to understand right? 

You would think that by not acknowledging them, they don’t matter. Well, it is the opposite.

If you do not address them when they appear, sure they will disappear for a moment, but won’t completely. They will then return bigger and nastier.

I get it, we all love the bandaid effect. Just cover it up and it will go away.

Yet, we all know that life doesn’t work that way.

Life is more cruel and unpredictable than a bandaid.

However, it is through sometimes feeling something that we are able to identify the ailment, and try and gain momentum to get better or change our mindset.

It takes time and the help of others, who may be experts, or just people who are empathetic and patient, to ensure we don’t bottle our emotions up and pretend to feel something we are not.

Pain is a key component to our well-being and an essential survival mechanism.

I know right? Who wants to feel pain? But feeling pain, both physical and mental, helps us pin-point what may be wrong and helps with the healing process.

TOXIC POSITIVITY. Is this something that interests you? Check out for more posts on this topic.

Is my positivity toxic?

If you’re like me, you are probably wondering whether you are not a perpetrator of this toxic positivity.

Like I mentioned above, we may slip up and say some of these phrases, but I will be my last dollar, that they are never said to dismiss other people’s feelings.

Personally, I am so guilty of saying them to myself and, just in case you were wondering, I can be proud that I haven’t said them to my friends or other people. I guess it’s true that we take better care of others than we do ourselves.

If you are interested in delving more into self-care, check out my related posts here

So how can I recognise if I am being toxic towards others or others are towards me?

TOXIC POSITIVITY. Is this something that interests you? Check out for more posts on this topic.

  • You (or others) have a tendency to brush things off that are bothering you with a “such is life” or “it is what it is“.
  • You feel guilty for expressing anything other than positivity, or others will make you feel ashamed for feeling sad, angry or even anxious.
  • Others, or yourself, mask your true feelings, or if you try to “just get on with it” by brushing the pain away. A good example of this is when you have received deceiving news, and others around you were expecting a different outcome, you just dismiss what you’re feeling and go with the flow.
  • You, or others, use “positive” quotes or statements, like “good vibes only“, “don’t worry, be happy“, thus minimizing what others may truly be feeling.
  • And, finally if you try to give yourself perspective (e.g., “it could be worse”) instead of validating your emotional experience.

All of these above are examples that positivity can be truly toxic, to you and to others – if you are inflicting such words to others (again, without the knowledge that you are being dismissive of their feelings and emotional turmoil).

Remember that nothing in life is fixed, so you can always change.

Why is positive toxicity harmful?

TOXIC POSITIVITY. Is this something that interests you? Check out for more posts on this topic.

To not pay attention to the negativity in our life is just pushing the problem aside.

You can’t keep doing that for two main reasons:

The first one being that when you are not acknowledging negative feelings, you may come across to others like you don’t have them, thus making you something that you are not.

You may appear as non-relatable, which you are not.

You may also be giving off the wrong message – that you have no problems and that others shouldn’t bother you with theirs.

People might find you annoying or difficult to connect with. Imagine trying to have a meaningful relationship with someone who just dismissed anxiety, fear or even sadness?

It’s completely unfathomable when, as human beings, we just want a connection with others.

The second one is that by avoiding the difficult emotions, you dismiss essential and valuable information.

When you are frightened, it’s your emotions telling you that you need to be paying attention to what is around you.

Emotions are information at a given moment.

Obviously, your emotions will not be able to tell you what to do, or how to react, but intuitively, if in-tune with your emotions, – and especially the negative ones – you will be able to make an informed decision on what to do.

How can I change this behavior?

1. Accept all emotions

In order to change this nefarious behavior, you have to be willing to accept ALL emotions – what you esteem as “good” or “bad”.

When you are in-tune with what and how you feel, you are able to cope with what life throws at you.

2. Control your emotions

In addition, once you can control these emotions you can be your own master.

You do not have to be subjected to what surrounds you when you accept your emotions.

Of course, unpleasantness, sadness, anxiety ( … ), don’t go away that easily.

By acknowledging these, it’s easier to get them off your chest and, the proverbial weight on your shoulders is lifted, even if the process is much harder than pretending everything is all good!

3. You cannot be positive 24/7

While it is hard to face the negatives in our life, it’s also hard to be a positive bunny 24/7!!

It truly is unhealthy to constantly push away the negative emotions you are feeling and only concentrate on the positive.

If you have an inkling that you may be communicating the wrong type of positive energy, you may need to re-evaluate your doings and break the cycle.

Being accepting of both good and bad emotions, we are encouraged to face the reality of the problem, but more importantly, find those solutions. 

This will help in maintaining a healthy balance with our emotions as well as those surrounding us.

TOXIC POSITIVITY. Is this something that interests you? Check out for more posts on this topic.

4. Try & find balance

We know that life cannot just be black or white.

One can imagine that toxic positivity is one color and we set aside the others, because we do not want to be confronted with or confront the hurt, the pain, the awful feelings that come with being an emotional human being.

By having a colorless mindset, you are not only hurting yourself, but those that you care about.

5. Know your boundaries

Boundaries also need to be set with the people who may be influencing you with their toxic positivity.

Your feelings are important and your experiences are valid.

Never let anyone tell you that what you are feeling “happens” and will “pass” and not help you through those feelings or guide you to someone who can.

Life is short people, you need to take advantage of every single day – even if that day, it hurts like hell. Through kindness, benevolence, patience and the right tools, we can all get through those bad days – together.

Elle Ash xo

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