If we try to be positive at any price, laughing away pain or just ignoring when things go down the drain, we are not gaining anything. In contrary. For someone who is struggling, it’s damaging to hear toxic positivity from friends or see people on social media saying to “just stay positive”.
Why can things not be “bad” from time to time? What’s wrong with being sad or angry? We tend to create a segmentation between feelings in our society that are welcome, and those that are not.
Fact is, when we disregard our pain, anger or sadness, we make ourselves more fragile. Sounds counterintuitive, but putting on a mask takes a lot of energy. And it’s been proven that when we lie (it may be just to ourselves) we are literally – even physically – less strong.
What makes us strong is to integrate those “negative” feelings, instead of covering them up through false positivity.
Not always easy, I know. In particular as this can be very uncomfortable. I was dealing with periods of depression over the Summer, and thought that since things started being busy again, the sadness had gone. Until a situation came where my control mechanism was off guard and I suddenly started crying. Becoming aware that the desire to do so had been there the whole time.
Don’t get me wrong. It is great to be positive, to make the best out of situations and to cheer us or others up when they are down. But it is hard to get better when we deny having a hard time in the first place.
“We think that denying our emotions makes us stronger and more resilient, but the research shows that it actually makes us LESS resilient.” – Brené Brown