Those who are optimistic are happier and live longer.
A study carried out in 2019 revealed that people who show high levels of optimism had an average 11% to 15% longer lifespan than those who weren’t optimistic. In fact, the highest-scoring optimists were most likely to live to age 85 or beyond.
But there is a thing known as toxic optimism. Verywellmind defines toxic optimism as “a belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset.”
Even positivity can become toxic when the purpose is to eliminate every negative emotion as if they don’t exist because they do – life is a mixture of good and bad events, and it is not all good.
Toxic positivity makes your pain invisible and it is a means of avoidance, you need to feel your emotions so you can heal and move on.
Toxic positivity is false assurance without genuine empathy. People say it to calm their friends or themselves down without actually meaning it.
It can also cause increased anxiety because you are not really working on the problem but sweeping it under the carpet.
What does toxic positivity sound like?
“Others have it worse” – That doesn’t mean you can’t feel hurt about what happened to you, it invalidates your pain and makes you feel guilty. Rather say, “I know that this hurts, but I have a lot to be thankful for.”
“Look at the bright side” – Sometimes, there is no bright side, and that’s okay. It’s okay to say, “I can’t see the bright side of this, but I know things will get better.”
“Just think happy thoughts” – Instead, say things like “It’s hard to think positive thoughts, but I know I will pull through.”
“You’ll be fine” – It is better not to say anything than to tell someone that they will be fine without any plan on how they would, in fact, be fine.
“Everything happens for a reason” – Except if you know the reason, then there is no need to tell yourself or anyone this, rather say, “This is really hard, and it is okay to feel sad about it.”