Is it possible to be too positive?
Toxic positivity proponents claim that too much focus on positive emotions and thoughts can be detrimental, and that by ignoring or “suppressing” negative emotions, you make situations worse.
There’s certainly a lot to unpack with this sentiment. Not only does it go against the laws of Hermetics, but it isn’t even correct from a basic psychological point of view.
This guide will seek to clear the air in regards to what a positive mindset really is, and why entertaining ideas of “toxic positivity” could be just another ego trap that you are using to run from your problems or revel in your comfort zones.
Can Positivity be Toxic?
We live in a very hyper-emotional society. Egos play elaborate games of chess and extort one another constantly.
In this environment, emotional abuse and trauma are endemic. Everyone is, to some degree, a victim of this treatment.
Psychological scaring, PTSD, repressed emotions, you name it, we have it. No one is pretending that these things don’t exist.
The entire human race is collectively traumatized, on multiple levels. From the natural disasters our ancestors faced after being disconnected from the web of life, to more recent world wars and generational trauma brought on by negligent and abusive family members.
You could make the argument that there is never any room for positivity in these circumstances. That everyone is dealing with something, and that any attempt at positivity is “the wrong place, the wrong time,” and is merely suppressing our very real traumas, pains, and deep emotions.
However, that’s not the point of positivity.
How to Understand Your Emotions
What is toxic positivity? The idea is that by being positive around someone who is expressing negative emotion, you are supposedly invalidating their experiences.
In reality this is not the case, as a positive mindset is the only known way to heal negativity and overcome trauma and psychological pain.
It should also be noted here that no one can “invalidate” your experiences, which is an absurd idea in itself. You shouldn’t even be attached to the idea of caring about your “experiences.”
Here are some bits of wisdom on understanding your own emotions so you can better differentiate between what is healthy and what is not.
- Emotional energy isn’t a zero sum game.
- The presence of positivity doesn’t suppress or negate what someone is going through.
- Positivity is part of the healing process and is what is needed in order to release these negative emotions.
- It is literally impossible for real positivity to be toxic.
- Positivity is the conscious act of training the mind to release and process negativity.
- A positive mindset is how a healthy mind deals with pain and trauma.
- You can’t let go of negative thoughts and emotions by embracing them.
- You can “feel” an emotion without letting it hinder your mood or put you in a negative state of mind.
- Positivity and healing don’t necessitate understanding. No one has to “get” why you feel a certain way in order to help you.
- You do yourself more harm than good when you defend your own negative emotions.
- Holding onto negative emotions and rebuking positivity is a form of self-harm.
- Just because you can feel a certain way or think a certain way doesn’t mean you should.
- Negative emotional energy can “infect” your aura and make it easier for you to entertain absurd negative thinking patterns.
- Frustration over another person’s positivity says far more about you then it does about them.
- Negativity is viral, which is why it produces “crabs in a pot” behavior. You want others to feel just as down as you do.
- You can allow yourself to be positive and still honor and respect sad or upsetting events.
- Forcing yourself to be positive in the face of negativity isn’t unhealthy, it’s a sign that you have control over your thoughts and emotions.
- A positive mindset isn’t about being “happy,” it’s about being healthy. The distinction is important.
- Negativity compounds. Over time, repeated acceptance of negative mindsets will ruin your ability to think and feel freely, traumatizing the core of who you are.
- Emotions are not personality traits. You aren’t “giving up a part of yourself” by releasing negative beliefs or emotions. This is what the ego wants you to believe.
- Learning how to supplant negative energy with positive energy is literally one of the only ways to heal.
The happiest and most content individuals don’t wish their negativity away or suppress it. They process it and help others to process it through positive thinking.
That’s the whole point. Regardless of what psychological mumbo-jumbo you may have heard before, you can’t release negative thoughts by reveling in them.
Part of this misconception in regards to toxic positivity comes from our obsession with emotionalism and this bizarre idea that claims “all emotions are valid.”
However lofty an idea this may be, it couldn’t be further from the truth. In many cases, negative emotions are quite literally the product of an overinflated ego that has formed some kind of unhealthy attachment to a person, expectation, or belief.
Many negative emotional states are not only unhealthy for the body, they are unnatural and would not occur apart from the delusions and trauma heaped upon us in this society.
True toxicity is the rebuke of positivity in favor of wallowing in negativity.
This isn’t the feel-good, unicorns-and-rainbows kind of idea that is popular these days, but it is true nonetheless.
You have to realize that as long as you identify with and defend negative emotions, you are actually embodying what it means to be “toxic.”
There are very real consequences to aligning with negative thoughts and energy. It’s no shock that so many who defend negativity constantly find themselves in negative situations where these emotions can be made manifest.
All thought and emotion is energy, and if you align with certain toxic perspectives, you will work to create more of these circumstances in your life so that you may perpetuate the need for these kinds of thoughts and emotions.
Negative Emotions Harm The Body
There’s nothing wrong with encountering a negative situation and not giving it your energy. We’ve grown accustomed to this idea that everything deserves our attention and energy, but this is a recipe for a disastrous, disappointing life.
First of all, negative emotions destroy our body. The mind-body connection is powerful, and since negative emotions and thoughts are entropic in nature, they literally deteriorate the body.
According to the laws of Hermetics, what you allow, you become.
What you permit, persists.
The energy you entertain is the life you sustain.
In other words, every time you give your attention or energy toward a negative thought or emotion, what you are actually doing is affirming its existence and giving it power over you.
Nowhere is it written that the actions of other people or random events should force us to “feel” a certain way.
As soon as you “expect” certain emotions from another person, you are emotionally extorting them for their energy. This is etheric vampirism.
What are emotions, after all, other than internalized states of thought and energy? You own your energy, and no one is allowed to emotionally extort you for it.
By the same token, no one has an inherent “right” to embrace negativity. This is because not only is negativity toxic for the person entertaining it, it can affect everyone around them as well.
As soon as someone embraces anger or goes on a guilt-trip, their negativity becomes palpable and affects everyone in the vicinity.
The nature of energy and magnetism being what it is, these dark negative states (guilt, jealousy, regret, attachment, anger) are an attempt to rob energy (pity, attention, validation) from others because they no longer know how to create energy themselves.
When someone gets frustrated over another person being positive, what is actually happening here is an ego response.
The ego believes that by exuding a certain emotion, it will extort a certain action or energy out of others. When that energy is not reciprocated or produced, anger and frustration set in.
The very idea of positivity being toxic has “ego” written all over it. Essentially what we are dealing with are wounded egos crying out for attention, and when they don’t get it, out comes the shaming and backlash. It’s another form of gaslighting, that says “your positivity is wrong if it doesn’t allow me to feel negative.”
Embracing negativity will not heal you.
At best, it will placate your ego and give you superficial comfort, but the origin of the emotional hurt will still remain, and it will become “lodged” in your aura, to manifest later as angry outbursts, emotional extortion, and malcontent.
Holding onto negative emotions actually stresses out the body and causes it psychological and physical harm, to say nothing of what it does to your karma.
It’s imperative that you learn how to deal with negative thoughts, otherwise your ego will go so far as to make you believe you “deserve” to feel sad, angry, or depressed, and any attempt at making you feel better or telling you to get over it will be seen as an attack on you rather than an attempt to simply help you heal.
How to Deal With a Negative Mindset
If you are struggling to deal with certain negative thoughts or emotions, and have even found yourself pulling the “toxic positivity” card on people who are trying to help you, pay attention to the following section.
It is important to know how to deal with a negative mindset because holding onto such toxic emotions can have a very real impact on your health, relationships, and life in general.
How to Change a Negative Mindset
- Come to terms with the fact that no one owes you their energy or attention just because you feel a certain way.
- You defend your negativity when you identify with it. Learn to separate the You from what you “feel.”
- Emotional control is yours. You never have to wallow in negativity – you always have a choice, even if you don’t believe you do.
- If someone tries to cheer you up, rather than dismissing them outright, put yourselves in their shoes. Practice empathy for the sake of yourself.
- Tell yourself that nothing will get solved by feeling angry, depressed, or anxious.
- Visualize your negative thoughts clenched in your hand. See yourself releasing them into the wind.
- Allow yourself to be happy. You deserve happiness and contentment. Tell yourself this constantly.
- Stop placing so much weight on your emotions and searching for emotional validation. This is what is making you think your emotions are so important in the first place.
- Understand that emotions have no inherent worth. If something is not building you up or making your life better, it doesn’t serve you.
- Realize that your attempts at pity, positivity-shaming, emotional extortion, and attention seeking are all ways your ego is sabotaging your life and ruining your relationships.
- Practice physical activity. Many negative states are allowed to persist due to stagnant energy. Get up, dance, lift weights, expend some energy.
- Above all else, be gracious. This is the biggest impediment to letting go of negativity. You have to be gracious for what you have and what you experienced, even if it hurt you. Ingratitude creates attachment and resentment, which bars you from processing your emotions.
It’s important that you go about positivity the right way. You won’t gain anything by being “fake positive.”
For example, you are lonely but put on a happy face by becoming a sarcastic loner who drowns their sorrows in alcohol and winds up becoming bitter about relationships.
That’s not positivity, it’s just another cul-de-sac of the ego.
Be open to criticism about your negative emotions. Positive energy cannot abide the presence of negative energy, which is often why people will opine on your emotions at seemingly the worst possible times.
While you are reveling in your depression, that’s when you are most likely to “tip off” a positive or emotionally healthy person. They will come out of the blue and say something like, “hey you look a little down. Why don’t you smile?”
You might think this kind of trite interaction is harmful or insensitive, but the reality is that it is your own inner Self reflecting and reminding you that you are in the wrong.
When a positive person randomly attempts to cheer you up, that is a check engine light for the soul.
Remember, it’s not about them, it’s about you.
How are you processing your emotions? What are you doing to create a positive, beneficial space around you? How are you cultivating your thoughts and being the best person you can be?
When you indulge in negativity and insist that it is your “right” to feel sad or depressed, you are essentially putting yourself at odds with the web of life and going against the flow of energy.
Next time you feel the urge to proclaim toxic positivity or feel some kind of way when someone around you acts positive in the face of negative circumstances, stop looking outward and look inward instead.
Positivity is what will free you from the chains of negative thinking.
You can feel the hurt of a sad experience and not let that sadness rule over you. It is an act of self-care to embrace positivity, and does nothing to negate or dishonor an upsetting event.
Never be afraid to ask yourself, “how does this emotion benefit me?”
More often than not, negative emotions serve the ego, while positive ones serve the Self.
As always, the choice is yours to make, but that doesn’t mean both choices are equal or viable.
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.