A little positivity can go a long way, but we all have to be aware of our limits in regards. If you’re always praising others and doing your best to promote nothing more than good vibes you might be falling behind in some serious ways.
There is nothing wrong with choosing happiness over sadness when possible but sometimes you have to accept the negative emotions before you and allow yourself to feel them before you can actually move forward. A study from back in 2016 actually noted that expressing our negative emotions helps us to adapt and works to improve our overall psychological health. While it might sometimes be a bit much, being able to express what we need to express when we need to express it is part of the human experience.
Bottling your emotions or only expressing yourself when you’re alone won’t do you any good. You need to address negative emotions as they come forth within your being. Locking them away and refusing to deal with them will only bring you down in the long-run.
The phrase “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. But that sounds pretty good, right? Not so fast.
When you deny or avoid unpleasant emotions, you make them bigger. Avoiding negative emotions reinforces this idea: Because you avoid feeling them, you tell yourself that you don’t need to pay attention to them. While you are trapped in this cycle, these emotions become bigger and more significant as they remain unprocessed. But this approach is simply unsustainable. Evolutionarily, we as humans cannot program ourselves to only feel happy.
By avoiding difficult emotions, you lose valuable information. For example, when you are scared, your emotions are telling you, “Be aware of your surroundings.” Emotions themselves are information; They give you a snapshot of what is going on at a given moment, but they don’t tell you exactly what to do or how to react. For example, if I am afraid of a dog and I see one up ahead on the sidewalk, that doesn’t mean I have to cross the street; it just means that I perceive the dog as a potential threat. Once a person identifies the emotion, he or she decides whether they want to avoid the dog or face the fear.
When people don’t pay attention to negative feelings, and then come across to others like they don’t have them, it makes them less approachable and relatable. These people probably give off the impression that they don’t have any problems, which most people can intuit is not the case. You might find such a person annoying or difficult to connect with. Imagine trying to have a meaningful relationship with someone who ignored sadness or anxiety.
It’s okay to not be okay sometimes and the sooner we realize that the better. We are only human and sometimes we aren’t able to pick ourselves back up as quickly as we would like to. Don’t be afraid to express yourself in the ways you need to.