I was working with my business coach and we had an amazing discussion on toxic positivity. Before this, I could never quite articulate what it was I was experiencing but he seemed to nail it on the head and I wanted to share. A little background on me before I begin. My mindset was, no matter what, just stay positive! Oh, how dangerous this is. Especially when I force my toxic positivity on others; potentially making them feel bad too. Somewhere in life I picked up the belief that I should never let people know I never feel any sort of negativity. When someone asks me how I’m doing, just smile and say fine, no matter what! (I still do this anyway because I don’t want to be that person who shares my grievances and have people running for the hills every time they see me coming.) But every time this happened, I blamed myself for not being well and felt even worse. I denied my state of being and created more negativity on top of already feeling bad.
Trying to be positive makes you even more negative and then you stay stuck in the same old patterns. It’s no wonder it’s hard to make self-improvements when you get into this vicious cycle. Toxic positivity leads to suppressing your emotions, not processing emotions correctly and not letting them surface as they should.
What not to do. We think we need to hype ourselves up to feel better. Find your grit! Man up to do something we are not excited about. Well this is wrong, it doesn’t work. Sure, it’s a quick fix but it’s coming from a place of not feeling good and causing more resistance. Also, you will seem needy or resentful and people pick up on that. Another way we are reinforcing resistance is by convincing ourselves of something that we don’t believe in. We can feel that lack so much more than the belief. In order to believe in something you have to find proof. And old patterns of the past are what is showing the proof. (I hope that makes sense?) Lastly, this is the one thing that gets me every time. I try to force myself into thinking positively. My brain wants to do what it does best. Solve a problem. So, when I feel bad, I try to look at every angle in solving the issue to feel better. This is just another distraction to not feel the feeling you need to feel and creates more resistance.
What to do. First, notice the resistance. Then don’t feel bad about feeling bad about. No matter what it is. Allow yourself to feel the feels. Let it be, and accept the feeling. You will notice that these feelings are then released and your attitude starts to change. Good feelings arise and are not forced. The second thing to do is focus on feeling neutral instead of feeling positive. Feeling negative, neutral or positive is a state of mind. If you see my creation below, picture the line as a road, if you are in a bad place and you want to leave you need to travel through the state of neutrality before you reach the place of feeling good. It’s easier to find proof when you are in neutral. You don’t have to believe it; you just have to try!
________________________________________________________ A. Negative to B. Neutral to C. Positive
The ways I get back on track is by setting myself up for success. I make a list of to do’s and if I only get to cross one thing off that list, I succeeded. If I notice I feel bad and I allow it, give me a gold star! That’s success! You don’t need to be successful in the moment to feel success. Feeling success feels pretty damn good! Look for the blessings in disguise and the validation within, not from others.
Remember, don’t try to make yourself or others feel better with toxic positivity. Stop the fight within and be real with yourself. Finding a way to get neutral is where you want to strive to be. Make success a priority by your standards and not others.