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By Natalie Dinkins, MHC-LP

Are you tired of hearing to “find the silver lining”? Is social media making you feel pressured to feel positive all the time? Feeling upbeat is important at times, however, I’m here to tell you that it is okay to feel our more difficult feelings. Telling ourselves or others that we must only maintain and focus on positivity is a concept called “toxic positivity.”

Toxic positivity can bring adverse issues:

  1. Feelings are extremely important to humans because they provide valuable information to oneself and others. Emotions inform us of what is going on presently but they lack in telling us exactly how to react. Active listening to a friend or family member’s difficult feelings can clue us in on the support one may need. For example, if someone is panicked, it clues the need for comfort/safety. If we can’t admit our feelings because of toxic positivity, then we can’t find ways to use our emotions and feelings to improve our mental states.
  2. Feelings help with social connections. It’s important to note that we all deal with stressful life events differently, but the one thing we do know is that as humans we all thrive on feeling validated and supported. Ignoring negative feelings can make someone seem less approachable or even not relatable. 
  3. Negative feelings will become heavier and more significant when ignored or avoided. When we do this, we tell ourselves and others it’s okay to not pay attention to all of our feelings. Remember, emotions tell us important information! 

So why should we accept our negative feelings?

  1. Truly accepting all emotions promotes coping and helps provide relief in the emotion’s intensity. It’s time we embrace that emotions are not all good or bad, absolutely positive or negative! Emotions are essential for guidance so that we may make sense of life moments and experiences. 
  2. Acknowledging and listening to all emotions give us the chance to learn more about loved ones, this includes ourselves! Allowing yourself or a friend time to vent is like saying, “I know this is a heavy weight to bear. Why don’t you get some things off your chest and lay them down?”  It’s time to identify and voice our authentic truth and experience! Embrace the beautiful and the imperfect – the rewards are abundant. 

If you feel you need assistance in practicing this mindset or setting boundaries within positive toxicity with others, please reach out to a professional. Bethany Medical Clinic is offering psychotherapy virtually and will gladly help during this difficult time. 

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