Toxic positivity vs genuine optimism

Toxic positivity vs genuine optimism

What seems to be an oasis from afar as you inch closer and closer may reveal itself to be nothing but quicksand!

Optimism is like salt…the magic ingredient in every recipe life has us cook. Yet a number of other ingredients look like salt…..icing sugar, MSG and powdered ice just to name a few! One such pretender to the throne that mimics genuine optimism is toxic positivity.

Remember………..Oversimplification and motivational pressure can worsen mental suffering.


Can feel forced….

“you should try a little more to be positive”

Can exaggerate the ill-effects of low mood or so-called negative thoughts. Makes the future seems black.

“being sad and thinking negatively will not get you anywhere and destroy your life!”
Makes pain and suffering feel like a competition
“think of all the people who have it so much worse than you!”
Asks you to gloss over the wounds and urges you to avoid or overlook
“try not to think of or talk about the bad things!”
Focuses only on momentum and upwards growth and disregards periods of rest or regeneration
“no matter what, you should always keep trying to grow and improve”

Can feel hopeful…..

“things can take different turns in life at various points”
Acknowledges the presence of lows and their ill-effects but also balances them with the highs and the neutrals. Makes the future seem grey (a mix of both black and white)

“I understand that you are feeling low and it is okay to feel this way”
Validates your pain and acknowledges that not everyone needs to go through the same things in the same way in order to qualify as a sufferer
“your pain is understandable and valid and what matters that it hurts you”
Allows you to name and identify your pain and encourages solution-seeking
“it’s okay to discuss the things that are hurting you so that we may explore possible ways to tackle them.”
Acknowledges periods of inertia as normal, acceptable and useful
“it is okay if all you do for a time is stay in your cocoon for a little while and just breathe…”
Find the best psychiatrist in Kolkata:

Unit N210A-211, 2nd Floor, North Block, Ideal Plaza, 11/1, Sarat Bose Road Kolkata 700020 +91 90735 55522,

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Soumali Bardhan
Founder and Chairperson, Mpower
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