While it is good to be positive, and to try to see the bright side there are times in which being overly positive does more harm than good. In fact, according to some, there is such a thing as toxic positivity, and if you really think about it, you probably already know what it means.
Think about it: when something major has caused someone to become upset, or moreso fall into a deep depression, don’t you think they have tried to think positively? A person can’t just ‘positively’ think their way into instantly recovering from a profoundly upsetting time or moment in their life.
You can’t force someone to be positive.
And sometimes, there isn’t a silver lining, and the situation is ‘what it is.’ There are moments in our lives that are exactly that: they are negative. And trying to get someone to be positive about it, A. Does them absolutely no good, and B. Can give them false hope during a time in which they need to process, not block.
Instead, validate their feelings. Let them know that their struggle is understood, and that you support them, and will be there. And if you are unsure of what ‘toxic positivity’ sounds like, Whitney Hawkins Goodman created a super helpful chart. So, it should clear up any confusing you may have.
According to Whitney, there is a difference between “This is hard… I believe in you!”, and “Just be happy!”
Try to put yourself in their shoes. And forget about using phrases like, ‘It could be so much worse,’ or ‘Why are you being so negative?’
And most of all, allow them time to heal. If they need you, be there, and if not, stay back. It’s that simple.