Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

It’s okay…

It’s okay…

Have you heard of the term ‘toxic positivity’? It is defined as excessive and ineffective overgeneralisation of a happy, optimistic state in any situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the power and magic of positivity. While it may be said with good intentions, it is not as effective or as realistic. Sometimes it may come off as insincere because it’s what we hear all the time in stressful situations. People with toxic positivity often dismiss authentic feelings because they don’t acknowledge it. They have this idea that by being positive and eliminating these feelings, everything will be fine.

There’s no doubt that feeling positive can help us get through bad times, but it is also essential that we should learn to be realistic as well. Toxic positivity eliminates and ignores the bad side of all situations. It only focuses on the good side and positive feelings. It’s as if it is shameful to feel and express negative emotions. Being positive in a toxic manner is just similar to running away from our problems.

Positivity should not be used to cover up or dismiss the authentic human experience as it may become toxic. By refusing to allow ourselves to feel unpleasant feelings, we may fall into a state of denial and repressed emotions. We are indirectly telling ourselves that our feelings are invalid, which is entirely untrue. We mask the truth from everything and go on about our life with pretence. We should not have to pretend that everything is okay because feeling all kinds of emotions is natural, and it is part of being alive.

We are creatures that feel and think. Suppose we take away our natural response to feel bad in certain situations. In that case, we are taking away our opportunity to think and learn to deal with unpleasant feelings. We will forever get stuck with being in denial and running away instead of facing difficult things. We will only end up hurting ourselves more with this kind of mindset.

We should aim to be more realistically positive and accept that it is okay to feel negative emotions. Replace toxic positivity with realistic positivity. It is possible to have a positive outlook and feel sad at the same time. I may have a minor setback in life but still look forward to the future. The key is to find a balance in how we understand what we feel and what to do about it.

Feeling positive should be therapeutic and enlightening. It should allow you to let go of things and move forward healthily. No one should be shamed or criticised for expressing frustrations or sadness or anger. It is really important to acknowledge our feelings and let them out of our system. It keeps us sane, and it relieves us from the tension of keeping all the emotions bottled up inside us. Being a healthy human being involves being conscious of ourselves and understanding our feelings so we can deal with them properly.

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