Positivity seems to be all around us, and whilst I am a total advocate of positive vibes, I do feel uncomfortable about some of the positivity messages, the toxic positivity.
This type of positivity feels isolating and harmful to people with depression or who are struggling. It seems unrealistic and so far out of reach. Sayings like ‘good vibes only’, made me feel that my depressed vibes weren’t welcome. ‘Just be positive, stop being so negative’, felt a bit like ‘pull your socks up.’ Like there was something wrong with me and what I was feeling. AND like only happiness was welcome in the world. When actually we have such a range of emotions and happiness is such a small part of that. ANGRY, SADNESS, FEAR and HAPPINESS are all equally valid. Which ever one you are feeling is ok by me.
You can also have depression and be positive, feel sad and be positive, angry, confused, scared and STILL BE POSITIVE. Positivity for me is being proactive, celebrating the small wins and mountains that you climbed for that day. Being able to accept, adjust and say that tomorrow is another day. To be able to put one foot in front of the other, and no matter how bad things get, to be able to keep moving forward.
Sinead Latham, the self proclaimed Anti Coach says:
Some of this positivity can make you feel like you haven’y got your shit together. This increase in positivity that we are being fed is an Instagram lie. We should ignore the noise around positivity when it makes us feel like we’re not good enough. By muting someone on Instagram or in real life by setting boundaries,
Hopefully in the future we will set more of a balance, and I get why so many people love the affirmation ‘good vines only’ and that there is often good intentions behind it. But for some people it may leave them feeling like that they are the only one with these ‘bad vibes’. When in fact we are all human and not robots.
Realistic positivity is about not being dismissive, and help someone, or yourself, get out of the vicious circle or get into a positive mindset by being supportive and helpful.
Here’s some phrases that we could say to readdress a balance and move more towards realistic positivity:
You can do this, I believe in you
It won’t feel like this forerver
What would make you feel better/ something you’d enjoy
All vibes welcome
What could go right